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Date Posted: 16:12:45 11/18/09 Wed
Author: Fel
Subject: Why yes, one of my works in progress is a historical fiction piece
In reply to: Fi 's message, "Anyone else writing a historical novel?" on 10:53:18 11/18/09 Wed

Hi Fi,

Actually most of my works are historical fiction in nature. I have one set in World War II Germany in a death camp and I have another one that is a medieval fantasy.

In both of these works I do quite a bit of research online as well as using a lot of books I have at home. I'm getting my BA in medieval studies from a local college so I have tons of medieval book sources ready at hand.

The online research sites I go to are: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/sbooks.html ; http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/

The first one is medieval based, but the second site there features information from all sorts of time periods.

I try to be as accurate as I can be in my historical writing, but I do not try to infuse twenty-first century notions into my characters. For instance, in my medieval fantasy, I have my main character Alexandra doing all of the typical things a dutchess would do in twelfth century Britain would do, but I also have her becoming a knight and fighting in various wars.

If you make your characters believable, with real emotions and values, then you should have no problem at all. Good luck with your writing!!

I hope I didn't confuse you too much or through too much at you.

Fel

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Replies:

[> hi, Fi -- dea, 10:03:01 11/19/09 Thu

when i come to think of it, most of my writing so far is historical: one in the early 50's in England, the other in 2006, in England, passing by Iraq, Angola, France, with backgrounds that go to the 60's, 70's and 80's. uff!

what i do is read as much as i can about the period, mainly on the internet. i try to make the time setting for my scenes as acurate as possible. for instance, in a background story the father of the main female character works as an engeneer with the Red Cross in Angola in 1964. that's only possible because i made sure that the Red Cross existed, and had engeneers volunteering to build houses and medical facilities and teaching about water treatment in Angola at that time.

on the other hand, i make up a lot! i invent places, houses that don't exist, entire landscapes, rivers, mountains, caves, you name it. unless it's a historical location, i don't have a problem in creating an imaginary site.

i really love research! the interesting things you learn about many things that may not be particularly related to what you're writing, but may be data that will come in handy in the future.

i watch documentaries as well! Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic, great source of information, and a good, reliable one.

one important thing: always keep the internet address, or link, or any reference about the source (author, publisher, date etc). if you're using the information you might face copyright issues when the time comes to publishing and you might need to aknowledge those sources somehow (thank notes, author's notes).

i hope it helps! looking forward to reading some of your things!

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[> [> Re: hi, Fi -- Fi, 10:16:50 11/27/09 Fri

Hi Debi, Page, Fel, and Dea,

Thanks for all your advice and support. That Writer's DreamTools page in particular is brilliant!

I have been googling like crazy, and have bookmarked everything from 17th century clothing, to recipes, to the parts of a sailing ship, to reports of the Ottoman slave trade. I found that Google Images is very useful; seeing pictures of people from the era helps me to visualize my characters better, and old maps are also useful for picturing the action.

With regard to the "political correctness", I'm worried about two potential problems: (a) my own 21st century sensibilities will make my 17th century characters unrealistic or (b) I'll make them so of their time that no modern reader will relate. But I guess I'll concentrate on the story first and see how that pans out.

Now I need to balance the research by doing some actual writing! At the moment my writing is filled with notes like "she wore a her hair in a [hairstyle]", "he unbuttoned his breeches [did they have buttons?], "the table was laid with [typical supper food]". I may post later when I have something more to show.

- Fiona

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