Historical Facts in Historical Fiction #writing #amwriting #writerslife #writerproblems

You know they are out there. Those pesky Hollywood movies that have a way of twisting historical fact to suit the script.

Perhaps the biggest faux pas is Braveheart.

Epic movie, epic failure when it comes to historical fact.

While, yes, the movie was bashed for it, for the most part whenever it’s brought you in a conversation, most people turn a blind eye to the errors and praise the movie.

And, yes, I for one, am one of those people.

*Gasp* You mean a historical romance writer likes a movie that isn’t historically accurate? Um, yeah…when it comes to Braveheart…yeah…just yeah… Oh, and for the record, I know Mel Gibson went off the looney deep end, but I’m sorry, I really don’t care.

That man is just a hunk.

Back to my point…

Don’t get me wrong, I prefer movies that are accurate, especially when dealing with sensitive issues.

Because this culture seems to believe everything they see, read, or hear, a good movie that twists facts for rave reviews, to me, is part of the problem, not the solution in bringing attention to important matters. But, that my darling followers, is another ball of wax.

So what about historical fact in historical fiction?

In my years of writing in this genre, I’ve read many of blogs regarding this very subject. I have to say that more often I find that readers are looking for authors to give them more facts than fiction. Now, this is not to say they want textbooks, because they don’t. They still want the fictional story to outshine the facts, but they still want the facts. And, when they don’t get it, well then gird your loins because you are about to be ripped apart as an author.

For those who don’t already know, I try to use as much historical fact in my historical fiction as I possible can. I devour non-fiction book and online articles about the time period I’m writing about for breakfast, lunch, and dinner while writing all my novels. And, while I don’t use everything I learn, I am always looking for ways to plunk in the information whenever I can.

I suppose in the end, that’s why I chose to write Historical Romance/Fiction. I love history and learning about history. I think that authors should be as historically accurate as they can. For when they do, I think it adds to the novel and takes the readers on more of an adventure. And, I mean, isn’t that the reason to read? To go on an adventure?

10 thoughts on “Historical Facts in Historical Fiction #writing #amwriting #writerslife #writerproblems

  1. It has to be a battle to decide how much to include. I’m a history person, so I love facts. But I also like story. Basically, I’m not really answering your question.

    1. LOL. I have too! Although, I didn’t get to take a trip to Alaska/Canada for the second book or to Salem, Mass for the third. I wanted to, I just couldn’t afford it, I did take a trip to Montgomery, Alabama. It was so much fun.

  2. If it’s a good author (like yourself), and the novel has historical facts, it can take the reader on a time travel adventure. That’s what’s so great about historical fiction. The novel I’m shopping now is contemporary women’s fiction, so history I did not need. However, I’m working on a novel now that takes places from the 1950’s to the present day and beyond (this is a tough one to write). I’ve never needed to do research like this before, and I’m having trouble finding the exact info I need. You know, like styles of the times … hair, clothes, phrases used in the day. I have recorded several different documentaries on DVR and plan to watch those when I get a chance. In the mean time, do you have any other advice besides a google search? Any links to share?

      1. I’m terrible with research. I’m struggling with how to find what it was like to live in the 1950’s & 60’s. It’s just a tad bit before my time. I’ve researched online and found a little, but are there any other areas you can recommend I look to find the trends of the times like hairstyles, clothing, popular phrases, etc?

      2. Honestly, I just google time period hairstyles and look at the pictures. I’m actually in the middle of researching the 1930’s era. I did buy the HBO show Empire Boardwalk, although that is 1920, it still gives me an idea. I have done google searches for 1930’s slang, names of dress styles for women, and names of clothing for men. I’ve also googled first hand accounts and diaries for that time period or a specific event that I know happened. Like in ITLOG, Sheep Camp really did flood and the boat Cora traveled on really existed and really left port in Tacoma the day I had her leave. Sometimes I find a plethora of information and sometimes I find little. From 1920 to present it has been pretty easy to find. 1692 was a pain in my arse. Oh, I thought I’d never get out of that novel alive. LOL

      3. Ha. This novel is so challenging that I’m writing, and I sure hope I make it out alive. I’m not used to doing history AT ALL. I hadn’t thought of googling first hand accounts. That’s a great idea. Thanks, Angela.

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