Sticking my neck out a bit here – there is general acceptance that striving for accuracy when writing about the past is neither achievable nor neccessarily desirable, but authenticity – that’s another matter. I believe Historical Fiction writers can and should aim (as far as possible) to be authentic in representing the past. Clearly the farther back you go in history the less source material you have to work on, but whatever is available should be examined. As far as how much of your research should make it into a book, I’m a firm believer in the ‘Iceberg Principle’ – 7/8 of research not visible. The aim (in my opinion) is to know as much as possible about a period so that you can write as naturally about it as if you were writing a novel set in your own time / place, but only to include details that have relevance to the characters / story – not just because they are interesting in themselves!
(But rules are made to be broken… there is one tiny little detail in Turn of the Tide that I desperately wanted to include and I found a way. Hopefully a reader wouldn’t be able to spot which detail it was!)
I’m excited about the opportunity to run a workshop on Writing Authentic Historical Fiction as part of Scotland’s history festival – ‘Previously’ It is on 18th November at 5.45pm in Adam House, Chambers Street, Edinburgh. Hoping for a good evening…
5:45pm Monday 18th November
Writing Authentic Historical Fiction. – Why the Devil is in the Detail.
Adam House, Chambers Street Edinburgh EH1 1HT
A writer’s workshop looking at topics such as –
Does authenticity = accuracy?
When accuracy gets in the way of the story.
Historical background – Can there be overload?
How important is detail?
How serious are anachronisms?
Join Margaret Skea, an award-winning short story writer and historical novelist, (author of the prize-winning novel Turn of the Tide) to examine the practicalities of writing convincing historical fiction.
£10.00 / £9.00 Book online at http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/event/9165667759/es2?rank=1&sid=89e87211460111e3acf012313913b211