The blue wave is real, but we can do better. We can always do better. My focus is fiction, but I delve into non-fiction and poetry every once in a while.
Return to Content Historical fiction: Tod of A Writer of History. Mary provides valuable insights into the particular research required of the historical fiction writer, along with practical advice for sourcing the factual material that will help bring a bygone era to life in your novel.
One way to examine fiction, either as writer or reader, is to consider seven critical elements: Every story succeeds or disappoints on the basis of these elements; however, historical fiction has the added challenge of bringing the past to life within each element.
What are readers looking for?
Where do you start? Below is an explanation of the seven elements of research in the context of historical fiction followed by a series of tips on researching material for your historical novel.
Character — whether real or imagined, characters behave in keeping with the era they inhabit, even if they push the boundaries. And that means discovering the norms, attitudes, beliefs and expectations of their time and station in life.
A Roman slave differs from a Roman centurion, as does an innkeeper from an aristocrat in the 18th century.
Your mission as writer is to find sources that will reveal the people of the past. Be careful, as many words have changed their meanings over time and could be misinterpreted. Setting — setting is time and place. Your job as a writer is to do just that.
Even more critically, you need to transport your readers into the past in the first few paragraphs. Consider these opening sentences: But I could see nothing but the lacing on the bodice of the lady standing in front of me, blocking my view of the scaffold.
The tall candle that had been left to burn all night was almost a stub, and even through the closed shutters she could hear the cockerels on roosts, walls and dung heaps, crowing the city of Poitiers awake. A ceaseless Siberian wind with nothing to blunt its edge whipped off the North Sea and swept low across the Fens.
Of course, many more details of setting are revealed throughout the novel in costume, food, furniture, housing, toiletries, entertainment, landscape, architecture, conveyances, sounds, smells, tastes, and a hundred other aspects.
A Practical Guide and Toolkit contains a long list of typical themes: How does coming of age change from the perspective of ancient Egypt to that of the early twentieth century? Plot — the plot has to make sense for the time period. And plot will often be shaped around or by the historical events taking place at that time.
This is particularly true when writing about a famous historical figure. Conflict — the problems faced by the characters in your story. As with theme and plot, conflict must be realistic for the chosen time and place. Readers will want to understand the reasons for the conflicts you present.
An unmarried woman in the 15th century might be forced into marriage with a difficult man or the taking of religious vows. Both choices may lead to conflict. World Building — you are building a world for your readers, hence the customs, social arrangements, family environment, governments, religious structures, international alliances, military actions, physical geography, layouts of towns and cities, and politics of the time are relevant.
As Harry Sidebottom, author of Warrior of Rome series said: You could spend forever researching a particular time and place. The following suggestions come from personal experience plus a range of ideas from other authors of historical fiction: Read memoirs, literature written in your time period, old songs, sermons, out-of-print books, diaries and letters.
These provide information on all elements: Project Gutenberg and Fullbooks offer interesting selections of out-of-print books.Check out The Best Websites for Writers in Community members gather to discuss favorite books, authors and common themes in science fiction and fantasy writing.
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We’re honored to be included! Reply. Theme Lesson 2 – This is a slight revision of the theme PowerPoint lesson posted above. It contains different practice problems at the end of the lesson and a few other changes.
Theme Lesson 2 PPT. Theme Worksheet – Practice identifying themes in five short stories. Read each story, determine the theme, and explain the answer. November 22, Categories: "Rules" for writers, editing, fiction, Plotting, Writing Fiction, Writing Rules and Tips by Gail Gaymer Martin 21 Comments Stephen King has written many novels, but one of his popular books is called, Stephen King On Writing and offers twenty solid rules for writing.
Fiction is commonly broken down into a variety of genres: subsets of fiction, each differentiated by a particular unifying tone or style, narrative technique, media content, or popularly defined criterion.
grade 4 writing prompt, refer to the Sample Student Work for the Transitional Writing Prompts document. Scoring information for the constructed-response items is on pages 57 through 4 Ways to Motivate Characters and Plot.
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