That Moment When Your Historical Fiction Isn’t Fiction

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You’ve plotted your historical fictional short story. You’ve performed the research to the minutest detail, so the story is historically correct. The words of your story unfold in your editor and suddenly your initial story and your research meld together to reveal your story isn’t fictional at all. Has your muse tricked you or are history (reality) and fiction (make-believe) related in some way?

Mark Twain said, “The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible.”

In my current fictional novella WIP: MASKED IDENTITIES there is a historical fiction short story interwoven within a contemporary storyline. The interior story takes place in 1890 London and focuses on a developing relationship between two young men from opposite sides of the tracks – so to speak. Their relationship is prohibited by Victorian law because they are of a homosexual persuasion.

I selected springtime, initially the second week of April for the interior story because spring is generally the season associated with romance. A note here – the Victorian story is not a full-on gay romance, but a budding attraction.

In the story, two men meet by accident at a public place. I researched popular establishments where young London gentlemen could accidentally meet, yet be believable. I narrowed my options to three popular locations doing business in April 1890.

Since I’ve never set foot in London nor did I live in the Victorian era. I reconstructed a map of London out of 15 pages of typing paper which I taped onto the wall behind my desk. (Google Search and I became quite good friends during the four months spent on online research.) I marked each potential location on my crude map to comprehend their proximity. The marked locations included where each young man resided, possible sites for their meetings and so on.

I decided on the locations for each scene. First was a trendy pub frequented by young Londoners after an evening performance at a nearby theater. My research turned up playbills for the theatrical productions at the chosen theater during the month of April. I further discovered actual images of the production reviews in archived newspapers of the time period and an original menu from the pub where the first meeting occurred.

The second meeting was at Hyde Park and later the young men cross the street to the Queen’s Horse Guard Barracks. While in the barracks, the young men are rounded up in a raid organized by Scotland Yard. This is where research (history) and story (fiction) headed for a collision course. There was an actual raid on the barracks, substantiated by newspaper accounts and (old) Scotland Yard records. The raid took place one week before the date I had arbitrarily selected for my story. I checked the playbills for the theatrical production at the Queen’s Palace Theater and discovered one of the most successful theatrical productions of 1890 played at the theater during the same week of the barracks raid. I moved the story setting up one week to correspond with the historical data.

Other than the fictional characters in the interior story, the short story depicts actual events and business establishments per historical records. I thought my story was simply something I’d concocted in my imagination until my research data proved otherwise. The remaining research fleshed out terminology, slang phrases, and recreating a similar writing voice of that used in under-the-counter “smut” stories sold during the Victorian era.

Following the completion of the first rewrite, I submitted the manuscript (through an author friend via her ex-boyfriend) to the Royal Historical Society, London, England. After several emails back and forth from the Society, my manuscript was verified as being historically and technically accurate. 

Was it a coincidence my made up story parallelled events in history? Or, are there no more original stories to tell, only the art of retelling? Or, in a past life, did I live in Victorian London? Or maybe “It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.” — Rod Serling, introduction to the 1959-1964 TV Series.

 

MASKED IDENTITIES (fictional novella)

Brooke thought she had read every book in her grandad’s extensive collection of fiction until she stumbles upon an unfamiliar title. Curious, she delves into the book, to realize her own relationship with her boyfriend of four years parallels the Victorian short story she is reading of Ezra and Christian. Can a story of infatuation between two men provide the answers to salvage her floundering relationship?

The manuscript is currently being evaluated by Beta Readers.
Anticipated to be released later in the year.

 

 

I invite you to subscribe to my monthly newsletter which takes YOU behind the scenes of my writing projects, learn about new releases before anyone else, discount offers, and more. My newsletter is not a platform to advertise and sell affiliate programs. It’s my way of bringing YOU into my world. Subscription is free and you can unsubscribe at any time. I hope you’ll join me on my literary journey. Click here to subscribe.


Author Website

#DaleThele #Author #Novelist #Writer #Fiction

LIFE Sometimes Throws a Wrench into the Works

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What happens when you have goals mapped out and you’re on track to completion; then, out of the blue, LIFE circumstances get in the way? Completing your goals comes to a screeching halt. You put your goals on the back burner so you can deal with whatever annoying crap LIFE has pitched at you. LIFE can be a real bummer.

That’s what happened to me recently. I had my goals set to wrap up a manuscript by a specific date. Each step finely detailed, and I had carefully calculated the time allocated for each. The completion date was within my sights. Everything was going smoothly, I had convinced myself the manuscript would be completed on time — then Whammo! LIFE unexpectedly dumped a poop-pile of crap on my well-oiled plans.

I received notification of an available apartment I wanted. I’d waited over a year for a vacancy. Not only was it a location I wanted to live, but the apartment was for an immediate move-in. I was confronted with making a hasty decision to either accept the apartment and put my goals on hold for a month or better. Or pass on the apartment to complete my manuscript and wait an additional year for another vacancy.

I signed the lease and wrote a check for the security deposit and the first months rent.

Five weeks later, I’m writing this post from my desk in the new apartment.

I’m back on schedule with my manuscript, however, I had to revise my initial goals.

The past five weeks taught me a valuable lesson. LIFE didn’t whack me up the side of the head with an obstacle, it was a blessing in disguise. First, I got a new apartment. Two, I had time away from the manuscript to realize the needed revisions. Three, I arrived at the conclusion that LIFE ain’t all that bad. Take what LIFE throws at you, deal with it the best you can, then move onto LIVING.

I suppose how we approach LIFE all boils down to two things: attitude and perception. Our attitude is how we react to LIFE’s setbacks, and perception is how we view those unexpected bumps in the road. No matter how we respond to LIFE’s little challenges, either meeting them head-on or choosing to ignore them, eventually we have to deal with the consequences of our actions. I try to maintain a positive attitude, sometimes I deviate, but for the most part, I like to think I’m a positive individual. As for my perception, well, I prefer an optimistic approach — though sometimes; I neglect to take off the rose-colored glasses.

So that’s how LIFE threw a wrench into the works and I came out unscathed. I hope and wish you the best if LIFE dumps on you. Remember, without LIFE, there’s no LIVING.



I invite you to subscribe to my monthly newsletter which takes YOU behind the scenes of my writing projects, learn about new releases before anyone else, discount offers, and more. My newsletter is not a platform to advertise and sell affiliate programs. It’s my way of bringing YOU into my world. Subscription is free and you can unsubscribe at any time. I hope you’ll join me on my literary journey. Click here to subscribe.


Author Website

#DaleThele #Author #Novelist #Writer #Fiction

YOU KNOW YOU’RE AN AUTHOR: WHEN YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR CHARACTERS

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Why do writers fall in love (or become infatuated) with one or more of his/her fictional characters? It’s an easy trap for a writer to fall into since the writer must fully understand his/her characters to write a story of substance. A writer literally goes inside the head of his/her characters to explore what makes them tick, what they feel, think, and so on and so forth. In my situation, one of my characters has taken on a near “human” form. Case in point:

Shane Davison is not only the lead character, but he’s also the narrator and voice of CLIPPED WINGS. He can be a real twat, but I’ve got a deep inner connection with him. He’s part me, and part Holden Caulfield, part Scout Finch, and many other teenage characters from well read and loved coming-of-age novels.

Shane is a cocky (oops, I can’t use that word, it’s copyrighted — that’s another story altogether: see here) teenager who lounges on my sofa as I write. He knows he’s the central figure of the fictional novel I’m writing, so he has no fear of NOT being featured in any (all) scene(s). But, he gets testy when I cut scenes or chapters in the editing process. He doesn’t throw a hissy fit or anything along those lines, instead, he pouts and won’t speak to me.

Okay, I admit; I enjoy the silence when he’s pissed-off, it beats those endless wild tangents he so enjoys to torture me. When I ask him to be quiet, his feathers get ruffled and he won’t talk even when I need his input or opinion. I hate when he goes into one of his teenage mood swings. Whatever possessed me write a coming-of-age novel of a spoiled, self-centered, egotistical teenage boy? Why couldn’t I’ve drafted a charming little story filled with lollipops, unicorns, and rainbows? I hate to say it, but I wrote about a subject I knew.

CLIPPED WINGS is a personal story, one that has been with me for nearly five decades. A story I knew needed to be told, but I didn’t have the guts to pursue. I suppose I wasn’t willing to put my feelings, my fears, and most of all, I didn’t want to expose myself in such a public manner. I suppose a vulnerability can empower or destruct, depending on how one approaches a situation.

Through Shane’s character, I found a voice to tell my story, an autobiographical/memoir sprinkled generously with huge chunks of fiction. By creating Shane, I distanced myself from a past which had haunted me for a long time. In the narrative, Shane becomes the vulnerable one, not me. He takes the heat, not me. He takes the fall, not me. Okay, possibly I’m hiding behind Shane, but I’m finally exposing an injustice which should never have happened, but it did.

I can’t, with a clear conscience say I’m in love with the character of Shane but I do admire the way he tells his (our) story. We share an unspoken bond with a tale inspired by actual events. Maybe Shane didn’t exist in the actual series of events which unfold in the novel, but as a team, he and I tell one hell of a story.

Currently CLIPPED WINGS the novel is being edited and is predicted to be released in mid-to-late 2019.

I invite you to subscribe to my monthly newsletter which takes YOU behind the scenes of my writing projects, learn about new releases before anyone else, discount offers, and more. My newsletter is not a platform to advertise and sell affiliate programs. It’s my way of bringing YOU into my world. Subscription is free and you can unsubscribe at any time. I hope you’ll join me on my literary journey. Click here to subscribe


Author Website

#DaleThele  #Author  #Novelist  #Writer  #Fiction

Grey Expanse Between Fact and Fiction

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There’s an old saying “write what you know” a popular expression among writers. So what happens when you write a story of “what you know” but you don’t have all the factors to conclude the story?

Over four decades ago, when I was a high school student, there were some unconventional incidents that took place in my teens. Years later, I considered writing an autobiography which would have revealed a real and intimate part of my life, but I was missing a key component, the “why did those events take place?” Without answers to that question, an autobiographical account was out of the question. Who’d want to read a book with no conclusion? Those events were real, and they changed not only my life but the lives of others. Yet I didn’t have the details to wrap up the story all tidy and neat.

On a personal note, I had struggled with the “why?” for years. I had kept that part of my life private because I worried to tell my story due to possible retaliation. For years, I wanted to put those memories behind me. I craved and needed closure.

Finally, the solution came to me. Couldn’t I write the “what I know” part and fill in the unknown “why” with fictional content? I wrote the rough draft and everything fell into place. The completed draft was a blend of fact and fiction. It answered every one of the unknown factors which eluded me for years. I had a complete story. And most of all, I found the closure I so desperately desired.

The result was a coming of age story composed in the grey expanse between established facts and pure made up fiction. No loose ends, no unanswered questions, a story wrapped up with a big shiny bow. I entitled it CLIPPED WINGS.

I completed the epic length rough draft in four months. Handwritten with fountain pens and liquid bottled ink in eight cheap college-ruled composition notebooks. An additional three months to transpose the manuscript into digital format along with considerable first round editing. There are several further rounds of self-editing to do. Then, I will release the manuscript to hungry beta readers. At which time, they will rip and shred my manuscript apart with their scathing remarks. From the beta readers comments, I’ll have a plethora of editing options before me. However, I will have the last word as I wrap up the final edit before the manuscript goes to a third-party editor to polish the final manuscript for publishing.

CLIPPED WINGS may be a southern coming of age novel to its readers, but for me, I found closure to a dark part of my earlier life. The question remains, is the book fact or fiction? You and I know the actual answer, the story takes shape in that grey expanse which exists between fact and fiction, yet inspired by actual events.

Read more about CLIPPED WINGS. I invite you to subscribe to the SCUTTLEBUTT, my online newsletter, with monthly updates on CLIPPED WINGS, as well as background facts and behind the scenes news about the book.

#DaleThele  #Author #Novelist #LGBT

Conversation with an Author: Dale Thele

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Had an amazing afternoon with A Dude Abikes. A budding new author to watch for. Take a look at his blog and make sure you LIKE his posts and don’t forget to Follow A Dude Abikes. He’s an awesome dude.

A Dude Abikes

img_20180326_132441756-1483595608.jpg Dale with his coffee cup, black moustache protector, business card, and writer cap.

Dale Thele is an author.  If there’s one thing I took away from the very generous amount of time we spent together at a coffee shop today, is that to think of oneself as an author (or writer, if you prefer), is important.  No, it does not make you good, or increase your chances of publication.

But, thinking of oneself that way is one key to behaving that way.  Writers write, right?  (Do authors auth?)  Luckily, I took away alot more than that one thing, and as Dale was happy to share them with me, he’s happy for me to share them with all 168 of my followers and any new visitors.

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Handwriting Novel Rough Draft

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notebookWho handwrites any more?

That’s so old school.

Well, just call me old fashion.

Back in December, I completed the rough draft of CLIPPED WINGS, entirely handwritten in cursive with a fountain pen in a total of eight college-ruled composition books. Why would I put myself through such cruel torture?

Well, I love writing with fountain pens, there’s nothing that can compare with the feel and sensation of watching liquid ink form words on a piece of paper. In 2012 I ran across a YouTube video made by Brian Goulet about how to use fountain pens. Until that point in my boring life, I’d not paid any mind to fountain pens, after all, I grew up in the Bic pen generation. I was so captivated by his videos I watched everything Brian posted online. I searched out other fountain pen vids. It was if I’d been put under a trance, I couldn’t get enough information about fountain pens.

In 2013, I’d entered an online contest and won a genuine fountain pen as my prize. I excitedly filled that sucker with ink from a small glass bottle. As soon as the nib connected with the paper, I was hooked. I had fallen head over heels into the allusive fountain pen rabbit hole. Since that fateful day, I seek out any opportunity to write with pen and ink. Sometimes when I can’t find something useful to write I simply scribble one phrase over and over on any paper I have handy. “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”. Call me crazy and order a tailor to fit me for a straight jacket. I am a fountain pen addict, and I publicly admit it. There, I said it.

With my love of fountain pens, it was just a natural desire to hand write the first draft of my inaugural novel in 2017. Sure I’d written and published a couple of short stories and three novellas in 2010, but they were composed entirely on a laptop. That was years before I became mesmerized by the fantastical world of fountain pens.

I began my new adventure into handwriting a fictional novel rough draft. Not just any novel, but an epic-length southern literary novel. To prepare for the journey, I inked up anywhere from 6 – 8 fountain pens with different brands and colors of fountain pen ink. I also acquired a bunch of cheap college-ruled composition books for fifty cents each – I’m kind of a cheapskate. From Amazon, I purchased a SMUDGEGUARD spandex glove. It’s a two finger glove which fits on the pinky and ring fingers and prevents the transfer of body oil onto the paper as you write. Fountain pens can be persnickety boogers when they come into contact with body oil, it may skip or not lay a proper amount of ink on paper. Smudgeguard also protects the hand from getting all inky by accidentally dragging it across wet ink. Of course, for the fountain pen enthusiast, it’s considered a badge of courage to brandish inky hands and fingers, it just comes with the territory. To prepare for my new task I needed some writing background music, something that would tug at the emotions. I returned to YouTube again where I found and downloaded a large collection of emotional piano and violin music tracks. I don’t think I broke any laws in doing so — if I did — oopsie.

So, I began handwriting the rough draft in cursive, you know what that is? It’s that curlicue style of handwriting that just about anyone born after 1970 can’t read. It’s a private hieroglyphic type of writing which the Baby Boomer generation and generations before used to compose secret messages to one another.

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I found that handwriting was much more convenient than to lug a bulky laptop around everywhere. I could take my composition book and a couple of fountain pens along wherever I went. I wrote in coffee shops, on public transit, waiting in lobbies between appointments, and I could even write when I was in the toilet if I wanted. The downside, fountain pens do not hold an indefinite amount of ink. It was not uncommon to be writing happily along and run out of ink in mid-sentence when I’d simply grab a replacement inked pen. I’d go through from 6 -8 inked pens each week. Every Sunday I’d clean and refill the next week’s supply of pens. So, that’s a quick overview of how the rough draft of CLIPPED WINGS was written – by hand, in cursive, with fountain pens, in college-ruled composition books. Could I get much more old school than that?

A sampling of pens and inks I used to write the rough draft:

Sheaffer 1960’s vintage “School Pen” …………… Pelikan 4001 Dunkelgrun Ink

Fountain Pen Revolution “Himalaya” …………….. Chesterfield Amethyst

Platinum “Plaisir” ………………………………………… Sheaffer Peacock Blue

Levenger “True Writer” ………………………………… Waterman Mysterious Blue

Lamy “Safari” ……………………………………………… Diamine Eclipse

Sailor “1911” ………………………………………………. Levenger Cocoa

Esterbrook “J-Series” (vintage) ………………………Monteverde Moonstone

Parker “Sonnet” (60’s vintage) ………………………. Cross Violet (limited edition)

Waterman “Carene” …………………………………….. Waterman Serenity Blue

Pilot “Metropolitan” ……………………………………… Parker Blue/Black

Happy Writing!

#DaleThele  #Author #Novelist #LGBT

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Word Count Matters

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Math-ProblemOOPSIE!

My word count estimate for the first rough draft of CLIPPED WINGS may have been way off.

I’m not a PLOTTER (a writer who plans out a storyline in detail).

I’m not an OUTLINER (a writer who creates a story outline before beginning to write).

I’m a PANTSER (I don’t plan out anything; I fly by the seat of my pants). I write the opening chapter and the closing chapter, then let the story develop organically between the beginning (point A) and the ending (point B).

Characters (even though they are fictional) have a way of driving the direction of a story as it develops through their actions, feelings, stubbornness, and drama. Every manuscript I’ve written has been character driven, CLIPPED WINGS is no different.

I am currently writing chapter 18. I realize now, my word count estimate was not adequate to fully tell the story. Yes, the manuscript is shaping up to be “epic” in length (between 150,000 – 200,000 words), but don’t worry, CLIPPED WINGS is not characteristically “epic” in any other way.

(I should have paid more attention in Algebra Class)

Additional information can be found at CLIPPED WINGS

#DaleThele  #Author #Novelist #LGBT