A realistic perspective on historical fiction
Writers of historical fiction are challenged to convey a true picture of the historical setting in terms of characters, dialogue, setting, plot, conflict, theme and world building. Basically time travel for readers. But what does this really entail? How do writers inhabit the mindsets of their characters to create that feeling of being there?
Many authors have responded on A Writer of History with their perspectives. Given that I’m challenging myself to create a novel set in 1870s Paris, I thought I would pull together some of their advice and my own musings. Following is a shopping list of research topics relevant to understanding an era – some will be more important than others depending on the type of story.
- the political situation, political motivations, broader issues of the era
- the important figures of the day, prominent people
- the cost of goods and the types of goods available
- social customs, arrangements and attitudes
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