TAKING THE MYSTERY OUT OF WRITING HISTORY
Greetings, writers! Welcome back! In Step 1, you learned about the importance of STORY in writing (historical) fiction.
Now, in Step 2, I want to get you thinking about your story – not in terms of history, but in terms of fiction.
Try to think of your “history” as if it were a narrative on TV, on stage, on Audiobooks, at the movie theatre.
As you are thinking about your subject, identify the elements of fiction that will figure into your (compelling) historical novel. Every gripping story has one or more of these elements:
HEROES AND VILLAINS
SURPRISE BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS
CAPTIVATING MINOR CHARACTERS
And if you’ve read any of my books, you know that Pert Wilson is a hero and her father a villain in KINSHIP; you know there are unexpected plot twists in the hurricane of events in FALLOUT; you know that the fire in UNCOMMON FAITH serves as a surprise beginning and the mysterious contents of the buggy ride at the end serve as a surprise ending; you know that minor characters like Gardenia Pugh (SPITE FENCES), Amanda Putnam (UNCOMMON FAITH), Ira Weevil (KINSHIP), the dog Gunner (FALLOUT) help drive the plots and deepen the stories. Finally you know that overarching themes appear in all my novels: the fence in SPITE FENCES; the hurricane in FALLOUT; the sampler in UNCOMMON FAITH; and the trailer park in KINSHIP.
We’ll take up each of these ideas separately in future posts. But for now, consider these elements and try to apply them to your own project. Ask yourself, “How does my story reflect these elements?” “Who are my heroes and villains?” “Where are my plot twists?” “What are my surprise beginnings and endings?” “Who are my critical minor characters?” And “What are my overarching themes?”
We’ll expand on all these elements of Step 2 in the next post called “Step 2 – Revisited.” Until then, Happy Writing!