Do you write Historical Fiction? Writing historically accurate fiction starts with RESEARCH.
Well, duh! I know that.
What most writers forget is that they take for granted a great many aspects which can lend more credence to their works, as well as a better experience of the story they want to put forward to readers. Additionally, if you want to be considered historically accurate, you must behave as a historian–do you due diligence. Can it always be done? Some things might slip past you. No human is perfect. Try your best. This series is going to help by presenting articles of interest from around the internet and get you started on the research necessary to complete an amazing manuscript.
Many authors, because of their personal likes and dislikes will be researching to avoid certain aspects of history. One of the hardest things to probably do research for is archaic artifacts, things so old that even professional, university based researchers don’t know much about them. The fun thing about that, however, is that you have a wide open field in which to play. For the archaic, there are fewer rules you’ll have to follow. Of course, you’ll have to be true to the prehistoric date and what is known about the people of which you’ll be writing. For instance, Clan of the Cave Bear deals with archaic artifacts: cave paintings for one. Also, the fact that humans lived in caves, used spears and wore furs. This is all known because of the hard work of archaeologists and historians.
Of course, we don’t have to go back quite so far to view the archaic. Did you know that the Dead Sea Scrolls are available to peek at online? The researchers translating the available texts have only translated one scroll thus far. You can read it on the link below. Think about the insight that would give if you were writing a book about early Israel, or any Jewish or Christian influenced work. What about that historic thriller/horror cross over you’ve been rolling about your head? You don’t have to be religious to find the texts of religions interesting or useful in understanding a culture.
What about ancient Russia? Perhaps you’re writing about missionaries or some other group who enter Russia and destroy the sacred items of the existing people, replacing their faith with Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Check out the link below regarding the Shigir Idol. It’s a mystery that has been puzzling historians, archaeologists AND linguists since 1894.
So instead of fearing these artifacts, embrace them for the mystery they provide. Who knows, you might write the next Maltese Falcon. But, you won’t if you keep running from the research work for easier digs.
The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls have had dramatic implications for the study of Jewish history, providing scholars with a large and diverse (mostly religious) literary corpus from the Hellenistic-Roman Period.
Also check out:
Have a topic you’d like discussed on writing historical fiction? Leave me a message and I will do my best to get to it.