Reply To: For All The Historical Fictioners

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    I care for neither historical accuracy nor modern sensibilities. The settings of my stories are versions of history that are as horrible, fantastical or sanitised as I need them to be. They exist only to provide a place for my characters to live and for the plot to happen. Story is king. ­čśŤ

    OK, basically, from what you have read of QOD, I think you already have an idea as to my frame of mind on handling these issues (i.e. Yes, women are expected to be subservient and become housewives. Yes, there are slaves in this society which is Bad. Now let’s move on with the plot). While I aim to at least acknowledge that such ideas and beliefs existed in the society, I do not mind taking historical liberties (e.g. giving my female characters a bit more freedom and agency than they actually would have) to suit my story. I do not like to dwell and lament too much on historical injustices because I think that it encourages modern chauvinism (also my personal opinion is that stories about oppression = cheesy drama, cheap sympathy, passive characters = boredom).

    However, I think the best way to write about the ugly sides of history is through good character writing. Get into your characters’ heads, dare to make them the products of their society without flinching. Help the reader understand why the people of that time did what they did and believed what they believed. Put both the ‘powerful’ and ‘powerless’ characters into a wide variety of situations that allow for different emotional responses and qualities (good and bad) to be demonstrated. Show that these characters have thoughts, issues and concerns outside of the Great Bigotry or whatnot so that they all feel alive and human. Then, show the evil and pain caused by the actions of the oppressors to highlight the tragedy of the injustice.

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