An editor to whom I’d previously sold reprints contacted me last week about possibly contributing to a new anthology.
Immediately, this made my heart sing. It sang even more when I found out I could write any subgenre of “hot romance” that I chose. Whee! Ideas ideas ideas! I’ve been missing writing short fiction, and the freedom it offers to experiment.
As I often do, I went promptly to my friends on LiveJournal, where my account allows me to post polls. I created a poll offering every story element that appealed: cross-dressing, circuses, space opera, the Crimean War, time travel, World War II, dystopias, cuisine, superheroes. After cross-dressing, the top choice was the Crimean War.
I adore writing things set in World War One, but I’ve also had a desire to set something during the Crimean War, mainly because I know little about it. I mean, there’s Florence Nightingale and there’s the Battle of Balaclava and the Charge of the Light Brigade. Half a league, half a league, / Half a league onward, / All in the valley of Death / Rode the six hundred. I want to go a little deeper than that.
Writing a story is a great excuse to learn more. I have a couple of books already, and until now they’ve been languishing unread. I ordered two more almost immediately. I’m already pondering where in the war to set my story – Balaclava seems an obvious choice.
But then there’s the second element. Time travel was also a top choice. I’ve never done time travel. One of my favorite science fiction novels is Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, and though I don’t aspire to anything so complex, I love the way she integrated time travel and scholarly study; Kage Baker’s In the Garden of Iden has time-traveling agents as well, whose motives are more economic. Regardless of what I choose, time travel and a major event like the Battle of Balaclava would make perfect sense. And those two ideas are already percolating rapidly in my brain.