I suppose it’s possible to write from what you know, that is, if you are profoundly knowledgeable about all things. And while I’m moderately well informed on a number of odd topics, I’ve never been deeply knowledgeable about more than a few subjects. Therefore, I’m not well equipped to write this novel. But this is the 21st Century and I couldn’t have chosen a better time to take on this task. Thanks to Wikipedia, that is.
One of the topics of the recent Sci Fi seminar was, “Convincing Societal Change” by Elizabeth Bear. Without getting too deep into it, it’s that stuff you discover while reading a book or watching a move, stuff that just doesn’t fit. Like rock & roll during the Victorian Era. Something like that can be done as long as you are doing it for a reason; like that movie about Marie Antoinette (2006). But when you just don’t even know that Chuck Berry wasn’t born for another fifty years, then you’re writing to teenagers who failed music history. And you are likely to cause some of your audience to wince. And you’ve killed my willingness to suspend disbelief.
Fortunately for authors in the past, they didn’t have too many people racing backwards and forwards in time. Btw, 12 Monkeys would have been a good series if I could have followed all the flip flopping across time. You can have a great time travel story. You can even throw in romance. But if your heroine meets the love of her life at a Chuck Berry concert just before the States declare independence from Britain, well, it’s just quirky humor.
This whole cultural relativism thing requires research. And when you plan on twisting the laws of physics, and inventing a family dynasty that dates back to the Renaissance — stuff like that — well then, you need to do research to keep from messing with your audience’s mind. I wonder, do Hollywood screenwriters care about their audiences minds? Some do, so there’s that.
There’s still the question of finishing the darned thing, and all the research just keeps slowing things down. Part One of 2nd draft, ~40,000 words, is in the hands of three friends, waiting on feedback. I hope to finish Part Two of 2nd draft, >40,000 words, in the coming month. I’ve identified one professional editor I may be able to hire. I’m also ready to have a first draft of a cover mocked up.
I think the third draft will be a nightmare. Just saying.