Tag Archive - Historical Fiction

Researching Novels in an Age of Information Overload

Today’s guest post is by Beth Castrodale.

Given the wealth of information available online, there’s never been a better time to be a novelist seeking answers to questions like these: What physical and emotional tolls did life in the trenches take on World War I infantrymen? What is a typical workday like for a gravedigger? What new corset features were garment manufacturers touting during the Great Depression?

But, as I discovered while hunting down answers to these very questions, this abundance of information can make the research process feel overwhelming. Fortunately, over time, I’ve identified some strategies that have helped me address my particular research needs and, in some cases, discover unexpected insights or narrative possibilities. Here, I’ll share those strategies and their benefits.

Especially for historical novels, be aware of primary-source materials that are available online. When trying to understand the day-to-day experiences of people who took part in historic events, few resources are more helpful than the firsthand accounts offered in diaries, journals, and memoirs.

Although libraries, archives, and other brick-and-mortar establishments can be great sources of such accounts, more and more of these types of documents are available from thoughtfully curated online archives. (Unlike some other internet sources, these archives can be depended on for reliable, carefully vetted information.) Continue Reading…

How to Transform a Family Legend into Historical Fiction

Today’s guest post is by Lottie Guttry.

If you are lucky enough to be born into a family with a good storyteller—perhaps an uncle, cousin, or grandmother—you may find yourself sitting around a table with family members while the storyteller relates the daring adventures of an ancestor.

When this happens, young and old sit transfixed by the story, even though they’ve heard it many times before.

According to Dr. Francis Abernethy, author and editor, a family legend is “a story concerning the exploits and adventures of an ancestor, passed by word of mouth from one generation to the next. Its main value is in the revelation of the family spirit, what it believes and how it thinks.”

If you are an author and lucky enough to have such a legend in your family’s rich history, you will likely pounce upon it as the basis of your historical novel. Continue Reading…

5 How-To Tips for Writing Historical Fiction

Today’s guest post is written by historical fiction author Kat Flannery:

When an author sits down to write a novel, there are many things she must consider. A writer does not simply sit down and pen a Pulitzer Prize novel. It is never that easy, and despite what you may have been told, writing a novel takes determination, perseverance, and a tough skin.

The writing process can become long and tedious with many bumps along the way. There is a long list a writer needs to keep in mind before beginning any novel: plot, subplots, characterization, pacing, backstory, conflict, and resolution. Continue Reading…