Write 2 Be Magazine

For the Artists Who Like to Remain Strictly Out of the Box

Writing Historical Fiction – The Details Are Important by Carmel M Audsley

I like nothing better than bunkering down at my computer on a cold, rainy day and writing about people in far flung places from another time. I am transported to another part of the world, the way I want to transport my readers. Writing historical fiction novels can become an addiction. It’s a complete escape from the world as we know it and the hours fly by.

The essence of any good book is the story – it has to have interesting characters, plots and sub-plots but when you write historical fiction there’s the added responsibility to get the details right. If you say something significant happened in, say, 1750, then you need to make sure you have your facts right as your readers will have put their trust in you.

I usually start with basic research and, as I write about real people in real places, that means finding birth, baptism, marriage and death certificates and I start to craft the story from there. Some days I can write whole chapters and other days I feel the need to go back over what I’ve written to make sure that the story is still on track.

On occasion I have found a character I have written as getting out of bed and ‘turning on the light’. It’s then that I start researching when electric lighting would have been available in homes, and I can tell you that many a light switch has been traded for a candle. Similarly, you need to be sure of the mode of transportation used at that time, for example, were trains running in the period you are writing about or were people still using horse and cart.

You also need to research the type of clothing people wore in that period, what they ate, where they worked and how they spent their leisure time. What would the sounds, smells and tastes of the time be like? Rotting garbage in the streets would have an odour that would need to be described to your readers but so would the smell of freshly-baked bread and cakes.

In my novel I had a character bringing a gift of apples at Christmas time but when I checked to see if apple trees would be in bloom, I found that they were not, so instead the character picked raspberries some months earlier and presented raspberry jam as the gift.

Readers of historical fiction want the setting to be as real as the writer can make it so that they can feel a sense of being there, and learn a little about life in times gone by. Getting the details right can make all the difference to the reader’s enjoyment of your book.

About Carmel M. Audsley

Carmel M Audsley is a Journalist, Editor, Author, Theatre and Book Reviewer who has taught creative writing students. She is currently the Editor of Scots News Magazine and the Author of Ours, Yours and Mines. http://www.oursyoursandmines.webs.com. http://www.amazon.com.


About jcladyluv

Jimmetta Carpenter was born and raised in the Prince George’s County Maryland and has had a very big imagination since a very early age. She has been writing poetry since she was in elementary school around the age of ten. Her love of words has allowed her to express herself in ways in which verbally she can not. She is a freelance writer, blogger, and the author of a collection of poetry, The Art of Love under the Pseudonym Gemini, and a novel titled The Diary: Succession of Lies under the Pseudonym Jaycee Durant. She is looking forward to producing two new online magazines, Write 2 Be, and Write 2 Be*Kids, in 2013 under Write 2 Be Media Co. She is currently working on her third and fourth novels and is looking forward to having a very long and rewarding career in writing and hopes that through living out her dreams she can inspire someone else out there to realize theirs. Her advice to other up and coming authors is to NEVER stop believing in your dreams and don’t ever be afraid to dream big.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on March 15, 2014 by in Contributing Writers and tagged , , , .

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,436 other followers

%d bloggers like this: