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Sunday, April 3, 2022

A few points about historical fiction

cj Sez: I was in a deep research dive for a historical fiction short story I wanted to write and came across this in my archives. I think it’s worth sharing again with the Lyrical Pens audience—readers, writers, and editors, too.

Mostly true

Some things to remember when writing historical fiction manuscripts:

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

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

  Historical characters and their dialogues 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. For example:
    Incandescent lights didn’t exist before the late 1800s.2 Prior to 1947, the number of U.S. homes with television sets could be measured in the thousands3—some of the very wealthy people may have had one.

  Avoid the dreaded info dump. Don’t beat your reader over the head with all the historical details you’ve discovered.
    Historical elements are essential, but they should be blended into the plot. You want these details to draw the reader deeper into your story, not bore them.

  From personal experience I can verify that all of the above point directly to long hours of exacting research to write a historical fiction story.

 Caveat Scriptor: 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 deter potential buyers as well.


No fooling: THE BIG FANG charity anthology launched April 1 and is now available on Amazon.  

  The anthology is filled cover-to-cover with 22 fun mystery and crime short stories, each featuring a rescue or adopted animal. This benefit anthology published by Harbor Humane Society (West Olive, MI) includes cozies, capers, and humorous crime and mystery stories.

  Authors include: Catrine Kyster, Shari Held, Steve Shrott, Gabriel Valjan. Tracy Falenwolfe. Michele Bazan Reed, Kate Fellowes, Cathy Wiley, Melissa H. Blaine, Tammy Euliano, Michael Allan Mallory, Jayne Ormerod, Lesley A. Diehl, D.L. Rosa, Sandra Murphy, cj petterson, Allison Deters, Wendy Harrison, Mary Adler, C.K. Fyfe, Adam Sales, Joseph S. Walker


Something I discovered when I was on a 1200 calorie diet   


That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Let me know if you found a nugget in here you can use or can improve upon.


P.S. The Haunted Bookshop has signed paperback copies of my books in stock. TO ORDER my author-graphed books or any book of your choice on-line from a favorite, indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: 

P.P.S. I have yet to get paperbacks of THE BIG FANG, but if you order from The Haunted Bookshop and want your book author-graphed, let them know, and I'll pop down there and sign it for you. Thanks!
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