Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Switching Time Periods

I just received the latest issue of Romantic Times and when I turned to the historical romance reviews section, my heart plummeted. Most of the new books were set in Regency England. Why did my heart sink? Because that's where my novel is set. And I keep thinking, Why would anyone want to buy more stories set in this time period? The market is just saturated with Regency historicals.

As a writer, I have a hard time wanting to just write in one particular time period. I have lots of ideas for stories in different time periods - the French Revolution, the American Revolution, World War II, Napoleonic France, the Troubles in Northern Ireland, etc., etc. So if I happen to sell the novel I'm working on (the Regency historical), does that mean I'm committed to writing more Regency historicals until I'm successful enough to branch out? In other words, that will be my "brand."

Unfortunately, that doesn't sit well with me.

I don't want to spend years writing in the same time period because, frankly, I'll get bored. And I don't want to just do what everyone else is doing. When I started writing this book (I won't say how long ago), I wanted to write it because I loved that time period and because it was very popular. Now, though, I think it's gone overboard.

I think something is brewing in the historical market. This trend of Regency historicals can't go on forever, nor do I want it to. I love this time period, but I think there is plenty of room for other time periods, as well. I think a lot of romance readers would agree.

5 comments:

Janie said...

Don't fret over this. It just needs to be something high concept.

The Napoleonic era is just about the same as Regency. That's what I'm doing and then early 18th century France.

Peggy said...

I love writing westerns, but I hope to also write contemporaries some day. I hate the thought of being branded. Though I definitely can understand it. I do it to my favourite authors all the time, pick up their books knowing what to expect. Think I'd be floored if it were something totally different. (Though hopefully not disappointed.)

Camilla said...

I think the Regency Historical is so prevalent because there are so many best-selling authors writing within the period. It creates the false sense that it's what everyone wants to read--only--instead of it being the fact that a number of very popular authors happen to write within the period.

And because readers are so familiar with the period(even though it's a 20th/21st century filter of the period through an Edwardian-born/Victorian-raised author [Georgette Heyer] whose own research was filtered through other Victorians), other settings (outside of McMedieval and McScottish set historical) are shunned because readers have programmed themselves to be wary of the unfamiliar and/or filter unfamiliar settings through the mores and manners of the Regency Historical. Case in point, Jane Feather's Edwardian trilogy. Many readers expressed disbelief with the freedom the heroine's experienced, automatically assuming that at the time, women were as coddled and protected as their Regency & early/mid Victorian sisters.

I'm rambling, but it's a topic I tend to grow frustrated with. But I'm learning to let go and ignore them and write things the way I feel they should be written. *G*

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