The “How-To” on Melaynie’s Masquerade

The cover of my historical fiction novel

Writing a book is a fascinating process, a great deal of it unconscious. While you’re in the act of creation, you’re thinking about the story, planning how you’re going to do it, making notes, maybe using index cards for the various scenes. In my case, since I wrote an historical fiction novel, I needed to do lots of research into the 16th century, which I loved. The Internet wasn’t the effective tool it is today and I used libraries for most of my research.

When I needed to describe a 16th century ship or the variety of clothing worn then, I headed for the children’s section of bookstores or libraries. Picture books were just the thing. I had to know how my heroine was going to accomplish her daring feat, how she would look, and what would her family home looked like. The various Time-Life historical series were also a great help; they always had lots of graphics. I’ve always been a history buff and had attended many a Renaissance Faire where I’d seen Queen Elizabeth and Sir Francis Drake in action, not to mention all the hired characters and faire-goers in costume.

It doesn’t take long before the story and its characters take control. You’re living with them in your head, so no wonder. Many authors verify that oddity. Behind-the-scenes, your subconscious and your own past mingles together in the ethers, at least that’s how I explain it. I did a lot of creating while I was swimming in a pool. Water was the best element to get my “flow” going, especially since I was devising a sea adventure.

I finished the book, after five years of creating, letting it lie dormant and then recreating. During one of my last readings/proofing of the book, I began to realize why many of my feelings had come forward, unconsciously, in the book. I had given my heroine a kindly, generous father and three brothers who spoiled her. She needed one brother’s help to fulfill her dream adventure of sailing with Francis Drake on one of his early voyages to the Caribbean.

My stepfather, the US Army officer who raised me, was a very thrifty taskmaster. He saved his charm for others, his strong sense of discipline for the  family. How clever and comforting for me to create an imaginary father I would have completely enjoyed!  What fun to be the heroine who succeeds in her adventure! Plus, interestingly enough, actual history made it easy to manipulate and blend real facts with my imagination.

I’ve always been an adventurer, but certainly not as daring as my heroine, Melaynie. Of course, she has many of my traits—how could she not! Her feminist ideas were mostly mine, but I wasn’t consciously creating them. All these factors snuck up on me! Or did they?


  1. Becky Rizek says:

    Viki~ hi… read your blog on how you wrote Melaynie s Masquerade…sp? I told you as i got into it I saw your spirit in your heroine… her spirit of adventure.. and her love for her brother…and the fascinating relationship she had with her father… one that you wanted? I also agree that characters take on a life of their own in your head after a bit.. they propel you on, with a life of their own , don’t they. I find it refreshing to come to your blog.. we are kindred spirits honey !

  2. Chad Langdon says:

    Love it!! Third time is always the charm unless it is in marrage. I have enjoyed your writings because I was there with you, lol. I will keep checking back and give you guidiance. I hope more of the Uaddans find your blog but you did leave a foggy trail to get here. Go Girl

  3. Great so far, Viki, glad the addresses worked so easily. Your writing is so easy to read, I can hear your voice as I read along. Congrats!

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