Bringing facts and fiction together

Forums Fiction Research and Worldbuilding Bringing facts and fiction together

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  • #122437
    Hope Ann
    @hope-ann

    This week’s newsletter question is from Amy.

    How do I stop getting stuck on the facts of history as I work to weave them into my story? Or maybe I should say, weave my story into the events? I can create a story set during a certain era (clothes, technology of the time, etc.) pretty easily, but I get stuck when I want to bring in actual events (the battle of Bunker Hill, D-Day, or what-have-you). Any ideas on how to smoothly bring facts and fiction together?

    Any thoughts, writers?

    Victory in the march. Hope in the destination.

    #122446
    Rusted Knight
    @rusted-knight

    Hmm. I dabble in historical fiction so this is a problem I have to deal with. Personally, I read a lot of memoirs of people and can use how they reacted to events of history to fashion my character’s reaction to similar events. I believe this method to be the best but my knowledge is limited to the World Wars. Finding memoirs before that time period is more difficult.

    The Devil saw me with my head down and got excited. Then I said Amen

    #122489
    Naiya Dyani
    @naiya-dyani

    @hope-ann

    I don’t have a lot I can say on this since I usually write fantasy (and yes, it’s possible that I do so for this very reason XD), but I do have an idea or two.

    The first thing that came to mind was that you don’t need to include every detail or even every major part–in fact, you shouldn’t. How many people know all the details of 9/11 these days? I don’t know how much people knew about the details while it was happening, but if they knew a lot it was probably because of modern technology.

    My biggest thought is to delve deep into realism. In real life, people don’t know the details of what’s happening while it’s happening or necessarily afterward. They may well miss major parts of events. And don’t forget the rumor mill–often someone may end up with false information in one way or another, and whether that gets sorted later or not is up to you.

    Hope that helps!

    Hearts are like matter--they can be beaten down, torn, and burned, but they cannot be destroyed.

    #122491
    Rusted Knight
    @rusted-knight

    Exactly! People remember what they find odd or important about events that happen.

    The Devil saw me with my head down and got excited. Then I said Amen

    #122686
    Abigail Rebekah
    @abigail-rebekah

    I totally agree with what the others have said here 🙂

    I love writing historical fiction (it’s my main genre) but I’m definitely not an expert at it. These are purely some of my thoughts 😉

    I think including all the facts would be overwhelming for readers, but if you can choose just a few which allow you to write about a historical event but also add your own spin to it, can be really good. For example, if you’re writing about the attack on Pearl Harbour, you don’t need to include every single detail of how it happened, or the ships that were there, or how many planes attacked them. You want to be able to write about the event without boring readers with details that distract them or are unnecessary. Maybe choose one or two things that happened in that event and focus on them – you could write about the USS Arizona when it was sunk at Pearl Harbour, and you’re still writing about the attack on Pearl Harbour, but you’re not writing about everything that happened there.  You’re choosing the part you want to make readers relive and imagine, and creating your own impression of it.

    I’ve been told before that you still want to stick with the main important facts with historical events, though. I think this is definitely helpful because you also don’t want to write a book that is about a historical event but is inaccurate. It’s getting the balance between accuracy and how you decide to interpret those events that help craft your story into something different than just retelling history.

    Have fun writing about history, but also enjoy the freedom of being able to put your own twist to it.

    I think the main thing is whether or not you’re identifying your story as historical fiction with the intent of helping readers learn more about history in an accurate way, or if you’re using history to tell your story!

    Hope that kinda helps 😉

    ~ Laugh. Drink Coffee. Smile. And Write ~

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