Writing historical fiction requires a level of thoroughness that exceeds other genres. Instead of constructing new worlds, you’re representing bygone people and places. You might pore over book after book in your library’s reference section, or you might scroll through dozens of online articles. Maybe you’ll even do both! Whatever time period your novel resides in, the amount of information you need to accurately portray it can seem overwhelming.
Former Story Embers Article Writer
Joshua Barrera was born in a little town in upstate New York. From an early age, he thoroughly enjoyed imaginative play with his brother, utilizing whatever was around him to create new worlds in which they were the heroes. At around ten years old, he developed an interest in writing those fantasies down and crafting them into stories. Thus began his endeavor to become a writer.
Joshua loves to read (oftentimes narrating out loud for his family!), and some of his favorite authors are J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Timothy Zahn. He enjoys writing either fantasy or science fiction, occasionally dabbling in other genres to gain more experience and skill as a writer. Other than reading and writing, his hobbies include entertaining card games, playing musical instruments, and spending time with his wife and three crazy kids.
You settle into your desk for a writing session, but instead you end up hopping from chapter to chapter, trying to remind yourself what happens and when. You notice that a character’s earlier actions don’t align with his future, and you begin to get overwhelmed. How can you make the constantly moving parts fit together without leaving gaps?
Although Christian readers enjoy consuming material from authors who share their faith, some of it can be difficult to digest. Maybe a turning point in the protagonist’s arc fails to evoke any emotion, or the attraction between two characters involves awkward prolonged glances and tingles. How can people who understand God’s design for life and the sin that tainted it botch those portrayals so badly?
Although songs typically appear in epic fantasy, any genre can contain a scene that obligates the author to turn into a composer, such as a character blaring her favorite band on the stereo, a gathering around a campfire, or a mother comforting her child. Imitating three of Tolkien’s practices can equip you to fill that role without disrupting your story.
As writers, we habitually draw from our own experiences to develop and relate to the characters in our stories. If our protagonist needs to learn bravery, we reflect on moments when we managed to overcome fear. If we’re writing romance, we look to our own relationships and the couples around us for examples of how lovestruck men and women might behave. But if one of our characters is supposed to have an IQ that’s much higher than ours, we run into a challenge. Where can we pull inspiration from?