I’m Writing A History Mystery!

08 Aug

Some time last year I got the idea of writing a history mystery novel that would be a cross between The Little House On The Prairie and something by Agatha Christie, set in Colonial Singapore. It would feature (in the tradition of Eleanor Roosevelt and Margaret Truman) Miss Blackmore, the American missionary who came to Singapore to educate young ladies. And solve murders.

It was no more than an idea until I GOT A GRANT to write it. First draft is due in November 2012!

But after the initial ecstasy, dancing, cheering, shouting (& telling the neighbours I was celebrating National Day a day early) panic set in.

I still love the idea. I love the idea of researching the era and writing the story, I’ve already got the main characters and some of the scenes in my head (the movie inside there stars Lisa Kudrow and Grace Park) but where/how do I start?

Plus I’m supposed to keep some kind of record of my writing life… so I figured I would blog the process. Step by step.

I like having a deadline, even as it scares me. Without deadlines I would never get anything done.

My starting date is September 1st which gives me some time–3 weeks–to get ready. Right now I have a sewing machine and cloth all over the place, but that’s another long story. By September I will (hopefully) have returned the sewing machine, posted one yukata to America and wearing the other as I plunge into writing.

My posts here will likely fall into 3 categories:

1. Writing Life: which covers writing, research, reading, back ache, computer problems, how much I get done, how much time I spend trying to get stuff done…

2. Health/Fitness/Balance: because I need to be stable in these areas or the writing doesn’t happen. Ideally I would like to get back into a rhythm of daily yoga and dog walking with occasional runs/swims/gym sessions.

3. Life Happens: Everything else that comes up.


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2 responses to “I’m Writing A History Mystery!

  1. williamdoonan

    August 31, 2011 at 3:09 am

    Well that’s inspiring! I’m writing a history mystery too. I’m an archaeology professor and I’m writing about an expedition by sixteenth-century Spanish Moors to colonial Peru. I’ve done the research, but I never thought about a grant. How did you swing that?

    William Doonan

    • Ovidia

      August 31, 2011 at 9:52 am

      Hi William, thanks for visiting! It sounds like you are much more qualified to write a history mystery than I am! Re: the grant. I applied to the arts council here (Singapore) stressing that while the mystery would be fiction the historical details (food, clothes, buildings, historical events) would be as accurate as possible and my goal was that while readers were being entertained they would be picking up history and culture of 1920’s Singapore as well as the world it was a part of… I was surprised and thrilled to get the grant and I hope you try too. One thing this has already taught me is to go ahead and ask–over and above the money, people have been so incredibly supportive!


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