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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Newsy item and Historical fiction bytes

cj Sez: Newsy tidbit: Now that spring has sprung, U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard ice cutters getting ready to clear the shipping lanes in the Great Lakes.

Three Coast Guard cutters gathering at the Soo Locks will open shipping channels in Whitefish Bay and Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, to facilitate $500 million worth of commercial traffic during the shipping season. In an average year, the Coast Guard breaks ice for 120 days. Whitefish Bay on the eastern end of the southern shore of Lake Superior is 90 percent ice-covered. There are windrows of ice piled four feet in upper Whitefish Bay. 

The U.S. Coast Guard operates nine ice-breaking-capable cutters on the Great Lakes, including the heavy ice-breaking Mackinaw. At 240 feet in length, the vessel, with a crew of nine officers and 46 enlisted personnel, can break solid ice up to 42 inches.  (Excerpted from the, March 23, 2018)
cj Sez: Ice 42-inches thick? I moved from Michigan to the Gulf Coast, so let's get back to my personal reality…

The above is a picture of about 50 feet of my side yard in Mobile. The picture was taken March 8. What a difference 1,300 miles makes.
Some things to remember when writing historical fiction manuscripts:

First, as with all stories, well-developed conflict drives the plot.

I have seen historical manuscripts described as those set in a time that predates the end of World War II.
   That makes a lot of writers I know historical figures, so I don’t buy that definition. Historical to me would predate the end of World War I, but you go ahead and be safe. Use the World War II definition.

Historical characters, their dialogues and dress have to be appropriate to the time and setting.

  Believe it or not, sailors in the 17th and 18th centuries pioneered the wearing of trousers ("slops") made of a denim fabric called “jean.” but the plural term “jeans” wasn’t used in the United States until 1843.1 

Historical manuscripts require long hours of research (notice my footnotes just in this post).

The things that fill the scenes have to belong there. Examples:
    Incandescent lights didn’t exist before the late 1800s.2  Before 1947 the number of U.S. homes with television sets could be measured in the thousands.3 (It's likely that very wealthy people may have had one.)

Don’t beat your reader over the head with all the historical details you’ve discovered...the dreaded info dump.
   Historical elements are essential but mustn’t be boring. They should be blended into the plot. You want these details to draw the reader deeper into your story.
Yeah, right, D.T. (Love this one.)

All of the above points directly to long hours of exacting research to write a historical fiction novel. Keep in mind, if a history buff reading your novel spots an error s/he considers egregious, your Amazon review will not only reflect that reader’s disappointment but can deflect potential buyers as well.

That’s it for this week’s post. Please let me know if you found a nugget in here you can use or improve upon.

You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

Although Crimson Romance has closed, Simon&Schuster still has (so far) my books available on Amazon, so stop by and try one. I think you’ll like it.
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Short romance stories in:
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