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.
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?
Looking for more historical fiction advice or related posts? Check out my series on Writing Historical Novels: Elements and Rules to Your Historicals and “How dare you be Historical!”