Showing posts with label historical fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label historical fiction. Show all posts

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A First Look at Writing Historical Fiction

Your approach to writing historical fiction can go one of two ways, according to the Writer's Relief article, "How to do Research for Historical Fiction: Balancing Fact and Fiction:" Research then write or create your story, then weave in the facts from your research. For Book Two in my mystery/ghost series for 7-11 year olds, I chose the latter approach. And I'm glad I did. Here's why.

Walking a Fine Line
There is a fine line between "historicizing" fiction and "fictionalizing" history. Or simply put, in finding the "truth" in historical fiction. (The Alan Review: this article is geared to teachers, but the discussion is excellent for historical fiction authors on what's at stake.) Other helpful observations for writers of historical fiction from this article include:
  • As we know, careful research is a must.
  • Weigh any bias that might be present in historical accounts.
  • Historians examine the complexities of history.
  • Novelists create clear characterizations and forward-moving plot lines.
  • "A danger for the novelist lies in achieving [resolution often denied to history] at the expense of excluding significant nuances and complexities."
  • Please consult this excellent article for more thought-provoking information.

Ready for a Supreme Balancing Act?
Decide to write historical fiction and you will be launched into one of the most delicate balancing acts of your life. Solution? Find a happy medium. For years, the story of Book Two had taken up occupancy in my head. Curiosity got the better of me a few years ago when I decided to explore the historic event I wanted to illuminate: what the people were like. The times they lived in. More think-time ensued. Recently the muse came knocking: Enough! It's time: get to work! I began to write the book and now it's half done! Now it's time for a breather from the writing and return to the historical facts the book is based on. That changed everything. I realized the story must change.

Children's Writers have Yet a Tougher Line to Tow
Novelists of children's books beware! In children's books, "Events must be more closely winnowed and sifted; characters more clearly delineated, but without condenscension or over-simplification." (The Alan Review article) And there's more. As is true for all historical fiction authors, children's authors must:
  • Find the optimum balance between fiction and history, such as zeroing in on the details: clothing, food, transportation, etc.
  • Be accurate: accuracy is another balancing act. In writing for children, the historical fiction author must weigh the facts describing life "the way it was" while keeping the information appropriate to the age group.
  • Language must be accurate: the vocabulary of the period must ring true.
What I Learned
Upon the second examination of my research for Book Two, I decided to throw out my original idea. The event in history is just too horrifying for young readers. The historical event took place during the Civil War and involved the burning of many farms and mills in northern Virginia. But ghosts die, right? Not in a fire while trying to rescue the ghost's horse as first imagined: way too graphic. No, I've decided my ghost needs to save her horse from a burning fire and dies later of natural causes. Much better. If illumination of the historical event is possible with elementary students, I plan to first speak with teachers of my age group for their opinion on whether a discussion of the event should be addressed in their classrooms. If a teacher agrees, then I will tell the full story of the event in history and how I came up with the idea for the novel.

My toe-dip into historical fiction has been fruitful. This story takes place in the present day, is pure fiction, is loosely based on a true event, and I think works for this particular series. Ideas for a completely different book set in history are popping up in my brain like mushrooms. This is going to be fun!
Image found on Pinterest, saved by: etc.usf.edu. Source: Ethel Traphagen: The Wiley Technical Series Costume Design and Illustration (New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1918.)

Additional Source: Writing Historical Fiction: Create an Authentic and Compelling Story Set in the Past, by Emma Darwin.



Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 100 articles for adults and children, and six short stories for children. Recently, she has completed her first book, a mystery/ghost story for children 7-11 years old, and is hard at work on Book Two in the series.  Follow Linda at www.lindawilsonauthor.com.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Writers on the Move’s Authors’ Books for the Holiday Season

Ring-a-Ding. Ring-a-Ding.

Yup, the holiday season is just about upon us and many, who think ahead and have already started their shopping, are now looking for great holiday gifts for the adults and children in their lives.

Since Writers on the Move has very talented authors who offer everything from poetry to children’s books to mysteries to anthologies to historical fiction to non-fiction how-to books available as amazing gifts for just about anyone and any age, we’ve put together a list of MUST HAVE BOOKS to give you some ideas.

So, please scroll down to the bottom of the list and be sure to click on the links to find out more about each book.

Off we go.

Writers on the Move’s Authors’ Books for Holiday Season Gifts

Walking Through Walls
Children’s middle-grade/young adult fantasy adventure
Amazon Link 
Book Info Link: http://walkingthroughwalls-kcioffi.blogspot.com

Day’s End Lullaby
Children’s bedtime picture book with sheet music to lullaby included
Amazon Link
Book Info Link: http://daysendlullaby.blogspot.com

Karen Cioffi
http://karencioffi.com 
http://karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com

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Dancing With The Pen
A collection of today's best youth writing -- this groundbreaking anthology features stories, poems and essays by more than 65 kids and teenagers from all around the world. For each copy sold, a new book will be donated to a disadvantaged child through Write On! For Literacy. http://www.writeonbooks.org

3 a.m.
Award-winning collection of short stories has been featured on the PBS book talk show "Between the Lines" and has been acclaimed by both teenagers and adults.
Amazon Link

Dallas Woodburn, award winning author
http://dallaswoodburn.blogspot.com

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State of Wilderness
Book 1 of 50 in the JGDS, 50-state, mystery, trivia series
Amazon

Ma America, The Travelin' Maven (Elysabeth Eldering)
http://jgdsseries.blogspot.com

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The Cancer Prayer Book
Self-Help: A wonderful and meaningful gift for a loved one or friend going through the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. It has chapters on Diagnosis and Waiting, Family, Self Image, Healing, Seeking Wisdom, Keeping the Faith, and more.
http://dreamwordspublishing.com
ISBN: 978-1-4507-2599-6

Terri Forehand RN, author
http://thecancerprayerbook.blogspot.com
http://terri-forehand.blogspot.com

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Leap…Laugh…Plop
Kick…Catch…Buzzzz
Guess…Giggle…Wiggle
Children's picture books: These wonderful books keep children laughing and learning with each turn of the page.


Martha Swirzinski, M.A.
 http://www.MovementPlus.com

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Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational
 By Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball
Cover watercolor by Vicki Thomas
http://www.budurl.com/BloomingRed
"This volume is full of delight." ~ Margaret Fieland, author
Discounted in quantities of 25 or more (for use as holiday greeting cards):
http://howtodoitfrugally.com/more_on_blooming_red.htm/

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Instructor for nearly a decade at the renowned UCLA Extension Writers' Program
The Frugal Book Promoter ( http://budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo ) :
Web site: http://www.howtodoitfrugally.com

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Repulsion Thrust
Poetry: "Wonderful. The work covers a lot of ground while keeping a poetic sensibility, which is hard to do. We need more singularity-aware art." Ray Kurzweil
Buy it at Amazon

Sleep Before Evening
Literary fiction: Marianne is teetering at the edge of reason. “Buy this book. And relish every moment of it.”
Buy it at Amazon

Magdalena Ball
http://www.compulsivereader.com/html
http://www.magdalenaball.com

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The Golden Pathway
The struggle against slavery with no regard to one's safety - age 8-12
http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/pathway.htm



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The Women of Camp Sobingo
Historical fiction, WWII era

The Unexplored Heart
Victorian era, Historical romance/adventure

Forces of Nature
Suspense, Natural Disaster

Once a Brat, Always a Brat
Memoir with contributions from other Military Brats

Marilyn Celeste Morris, Author
Buy Link: http://www.vanillaheartbooksandauthors.com/Marilyn_Morris.html
http://mcmauthor.wordpress.com/ 

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Trouble on Earth Day
Children's picture book by Kathy Stemke
Purchase at http://shshshletthebabysleep.blogspot.com

More info on this author and Free monthly newsletter sign up: http://educationtipster.blogspot.com

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Cowgirl Dreams
Western historical fiction: Nettie Brady bucks 1920s convention with dreams of becoming a rodeo star. Based on the author’s grandmother, a real Montana cowgirl
http://www.trebleheartbooks.com/SDHeidithomas.html
B&N Nook Edition

Follow the Dream
Sequel to Cowgirl Dreams: Life during the Great Depression brings unrelenting hardships and challenges to Nettie’s family and lifelong rodeo dreams.
http://www.trebleheartbooks.com/SDHeidithomas.html
Kindle edition 

Heidi M. Thomas
http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com  
http://www.heidimthomas.com/books.html

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We're sure you'll find something from the books above that will be the perfect gift for this holiday season!

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Until next time,

Karen Cioffi
Author, Ghostwriter, Editor, Inbound Marketing Instructor

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