November 5, 2012

Historical versus Fictional

The blog party (and, you know, NaNo) continues!  Jenny wrote up a post over at The Penslayer with some fun facts behind the writing and publishing of The Shadow Things.  I'll be following suit in a day or two, but today's post here at Scribbles is actually not here at Scribbles at all.  Joy of Fullness of Joy was taking a hiatus from the internet this month, and she asked if I would write up a guest post for her blog.  The topic was historical fiction, which turned out to be ideal for the theme of the party.  Here's a sneaky peek:

historical fiction: just how historical
does it have to be? 

The necessity of historical accuracy is a pretty well accepted concept in today's literature.  In past centuries it was typical for "historians" to twist and embellish history according to their own bias, or whoever was funding their literary efforts; nowadays there is at least an ideal of presenting a true, unbiased picture of the past (ironic, rather, since the importance of history has reached such a low in the minds of our generation).  Although we still come across novels where events or characters are blatantly misrepresented, there is a tendency to scorn the author when the mistakes are recognized.  This much is agreed upon by most writers: extensive research is indispensable.

All the same, I think just about every writer who has any scruples has wondered, just how accurate do we have to be?   How many dates do we have to incorporate?  How many events can we get away with leaving out altogether?  How much care should we take in handling a historical figure?  Why can't Abraham Lincoln be a vampire slayer?  Do we really have to specify the exact type of food banqueters in 1317 would be eating?  Is it necessary to record every single skirmish of the Civil War our particular regiment went through?  Is the whole world going to end if we get our hero's weapon wrong?  Are we actually creating a tear in the space-time continuum with our inaccuracy?

read the rest on Joy's blog, and don't forget to leave a comment!
because comments make the world go 'round.


  1. Could you at a link to the post on Joy's blog, please?

  2. Oh, actually the word "blog" (in "read the rest on Joy's blog") is a link. I must find a way to make that stand out.

  3. Thank you. I had tried the whole sentence, but not that word in particular.


meet the authoress
I am a writer of historical fiction and fantasy, scribbling from my home in the United States. More importantly, I am a Christian, which flavors everything I write. My debut novel, "The Soldier's Cross," was published by Ambassador Intl. in 2010.
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published writings

The Soldier's Cross: Set in the early 15th Century, this is the story of an English girl's journey to find her brother's cross pendant, lost at the Battle of Agincourt, and of her search for peace in the chaotic world of the Middle Ages.
finished writings

Tempus Regina:Hurled back in time and caught in the worlds of ages past, a Victorian woman finds herself called out with the title of the time queen. The death of one legend and the birth of another rest on her shoulders - but far weightier than both is her duty to the brother she left alone in her own era. Querying.
currently writing

Wordcrafter: "One man in a thousand, Solomon says / will stick more close than a brother. / And it's worthwhile seeking him half your days / if you find him before the other." Justin King unwittingly plunges into one such friendship the day he lets a stranger come in from the cold. Wordcount: 124,000 words

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