Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
I mean, historical accuracy. Sorry.
As I edit my next novel (have I mentioned that it’s called Town Father and is set in 1880s California?), I’m getting the occasional shudder of total fear and anxiety that the history buffs will want to use it for kindling. Not because I’ve purposely ignored authenticity but because there’s bound to be something in there that riles up the sticklers. I’ve done loads of research for this book — learning everything from how fast trains traveled back then to what kinds of acts were in circuses — but the nature of the story requires the stretching of truth. Maybe outright distortion.
But hey. It’s fiction, right?
That’s why I was glad to run across this column in Writer’s Digest by Susanna Calkins, a novelist who focuses on 17th century England. She has some great advice for historical fiction writers, including “Don’t fret the details” and “Love the process, because readers will still find errors.”
Basically, it boils down to telling the story you need to tell with brush strokes that evoke the era, that sketch it like stage flats, and that provide a convincing foundation for your characters. At least that’s the approach I’m taking.
And for the record, I haven’t overly relied on Wikipedia…