We are going on hiatus for an indefinite period. Bottom line? Well, it is the bottom line. I find myself in the situation of needing to ensure that we continue to meet critical needs (food, housing, emergency fund, etc) instead of rolling out Chapter 3 of Dark Candle. To our faithful readers, thank you for your support. We hope to continue the adventure, but given current economic realities, it is unlikely that we will be able to do so this calendar year.
I’ll be updating this site periodically as I am able. Thank you.
It’s been a year since we went on hiatus. Seems like yesterday. No, we’ll not be restarting any time soon. Economic realities continue to preclude the expense of continuing with Chapter 3 at this time. We’ll revisit in a while and see where things are. Meanwhile, enjoy what is here.
Kate Woodbury puts in words one of the things I’ve struggled with when scripting Dark Candle:
In the novel Robots of Dawn by Isaac Asimov, Asimov’s detective Elijah Bailey has to investigate a murder on the planet, Aurora. On his way to Aurora, Elijah reads books of Aurorian history/sociology, etc. However, when he arrives, he discovers that the books didn’t prepare him for basic, everyday stuff, such as public bathrooms being unisex. This basic, everyday stuff never occurred to the historians/sociologists because it’s the kind of stuff they would have taken for granted.
This is the fundamental difference between historical fiction and fiction written in a historical period. No matter how hard we try, we can never really capture the same feel or attitudes of writers like Austen, Dickens, and Walter Scott because we aren’t products of their time periods, and we don’t know what to take for granted.
I know what is important to me when I view historical world I write about. But, despite reading at length about the time and the place, I am certain that were I transported to the village, I would be struck by a number of things which I completely overlooked. In short, I know what I take for granted, but that is based on my current context.
When it comes to historical fiction, I believe we should do what we can as creators to get it right–while realizing that “getting it right” must at some point devolve from the objective, recorded facts which we know into the subjective extrapolation of those facts into areas which are, at best, poorly in focus.
Perhaps, given this, the best approach which creators of historical fiction can do is to take the advice which is given to writers of dialogue and apply it more broadly. If you or I were to write dialogue the way it happens in the real world, we would find ourselves overwhelmed with material which simply does not support the thrust of the overall story. In short, we must write dialog in such a way that it appears to reflect reality, without letting it reflect the parts of reality which would make it entirely unpalatable to the reader. In a similar fashion, we should write historical fiction in such a way as to make the people and place real, while consciously leaving out a number of real things which would otherwise detract from the story we are trying to tell.
At the same time we engage in this active paring process, we must not remove so much of the real that we are left with something which seems more skeleton than flesh. The difference between getting history wrong and paring off the pieces that misdirect, obscure, or otherwise derail the reader from the story we are trying to tell is that we perform the latter consciously while the former is usually the result of laziness, lack of caring, or a belief that truth does not matter.
With regard to Dark Candle, I fully admit that I have not gotten it all right. I have, however, made a conscious effort to get it as right as I am able. In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Here’s to my one eye continuing to function properly.
Here in the upper Midwest, USA, it will be a while before things are green and full of new life. Thankfully, Dark Candle (or DkC as Doodle, Matt and I commonly call it) is moving along nicely into the middle of Chapter 2. Without giving much away, let me just say that we are quickly approaching a turning point in the story. I think that’s a good thing, considering that much of what we’ve done to this point has been to establish the context or framework for what is to come.
In other news, we are considering just what approach we might take to release DkC Chapter 1 on the Android and iPhone/iPad platforms. If any of you have experience with this or know of others who have made it work, drop us a line via the Contact page.
Meanwhile, stay warm, stay well, and keep reading.