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Historical Fiction Writers

HELP I Don’t Know If This Is Historical Fiction or Not

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
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  • #143703
    Anne of Lothlorien
    @anne-of-lothlorien

    Hey guys! *general wave because I don’t know who all is on here*

    So I have a WIP that I’m trying to pin down the genre on. It’s called The Apprentice Spy. It takes place in a fictional country that is still in our world, and the setting and time period is… vague? I’m hoping if I give some description that y’all can help me pinpoint what to call the genre.

    As I said it takes place in a fiction country but is still in our world. Probably European, something like England, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and France all in one. The geography is mostly focused on their own land, for instance I don’t mention someone travelling to Italy or someone’s mother moved to America. It’s never a part of the story that it’s on this earth, but that’s what it is in my head. It has a slight dystopian feel with the fact that there is a dictator, a city hidden from most of the world that serves as his headquarters, a powerful object called the Auris, and such. There’s a tad of steampunk in details such as a mechanical arm or a couple spy weapons and equipment that don’t actually exist. However the time period is around the 1880’s… trains, cars are barely being invented, electric bulbs and wall mounted telephones are just being introduced. Men wear long driving coats and suspenders, women wear dresses and fancy hats.

    So we have a time setting like the late nineteenth century and in my mind it’s in our world, but there’s no correlation to real-world events, there’s a touch of steampunk and dystopian, but it doesn’t seem to exactly fit any of those genres? Suggestions???

    I'm short, I like words, and I love people.
    No, I didn't draw my profile pic.

    #143734
    Rusted Knight
    @rusted-knight

    @anne-of-lothlorien
    This is what we call “threading the eye of the needle.” I think this is a historical fiction as long as there is a trigger event were history changed.

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

    #143774
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    @anne-of-lothlorien That’s a really hard question =P

    First and foremost, spy fiction is a genre. You should look into that.

    The rest of your description doesn’t sound like historical fiction to me. HisFic needs to interact with the real world in some way. If the only possible way a reader could tell the story took place in an alternate version of our world is that you declare it as the author, then the text itself has nothing to do with history and isn’t historical fiction.

    If, as Rusted Knight said, you’re diverging from the real world at a certain time and place and then describing an alternate future to that time and place (say, that a certain country developed differently when magic was discovered or that Side A instead of Side B won a real-world war) then you do have a connection to the real world.

    This is called a “point of divergence” when discussing historical fiction, by the way. I talk about it, and the implications of deviation in historical fantasy, in my video on Nadine Brandes’ Fawkes: https://youtu.be/BXg6PxDowaU

    Your description of a country with cultural elements of other major real world powers couldn’t have come about without big deviations from actual history. If you explain those deviations, you have historical fiction. If you’re simply saying “imagine a world somewhat like ours during this time period,” then you should lean on the spy fiction aspect of genre and not try to categorize it as historical.

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #143933
    Anne of Lothlorien
    @anne-of-lothlorien

    @rusted-knight Even if that historical event has nothing to do with the real world history? The events in this book and the events that trigger a change in leadership in the country are not from the real-world at all. I’m not even taking a real world event like World War II and changing it to see what would have happened if we lost. (which incidentally is the premise of a novel I wrote :P)

    I'm short, I like words, and I love people.
    No, I didn't draw my profile pic.

    #143936
    Anne of Lothlorien
    @anne-of-lothlorien

    @taylorclogston

    Thank you so much, this was super helpful! I hadn’t really ever heard of the genre of ‘spy fiction’. You’re right, I have no point of divergence from real world events because even though this is an obscure part of the real world in my brain, that’s never really presented in the story. I think I’m going to call it a spy fiction from now on. 🙂

    I'm short, I like words, and I love people.
    No, I didn't draw my profile pic.

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