One reason I wanted to start my writing journey with historical fiction is to fuel my interest in learning about places, people and things of our past. From the past we may learn for our future.
The challenge comes with balancing the pages and pages of research notes, and using them in my story without becoming a textbook, nor bog down the forward flow of the plotline and character developments. Today, I heard an initial comment back from my writing mentor I am guilty as charged in several spots of my manuscript. I may need to “slash mounds of background info”.
The details you write show your research, but is it all really necessary? Every single graf has to move the story along.
I intend to remain positive and look forward to seeing her suggestions for spots to slash so I can break out of my self-imposed jail of details and start fresh. The good news – there will be opportunities to share my research through future blog posts, speaking engagements, interviews, etc.
Another mark of well-written historical fiction, beyond the balance of details, occurs when the reader is compelled to conduct additional research on their own. Based on recommendations which came in from my query out through social media and my prior post, I received several suggestions to read What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon as an example of dual timelines / time travel.
While there are similarities with the Outlander series, weaving in a strong romance of a present day woman with a man of the past, the story of Anne Gallagher stands on its own as a powerful story of the love between a man and woman, a grandfather and granddaughter and between a country and her people. In this case, the country is Ireland and her people are the revolutionaries of the 1919-1921 rebellion. If you’re not of Irish descent, you may not have been exposed to much of the background of The Troubles and its leaders, like Michael Collins. What the Wind Knows in 400 pages provides an excellent history lesson.
While I was reading, I was looking on a map to find Dromahair to place it in context to Dublin and the areas we traveled to during our family trip in 2017. I also researched more about Michael Collins and the controversy over the Treaty he negotiated with Great Britain in 1922.
I hope with Eliza’s story readers will feel compelled to learn more about some of the topics I present. Whether it’s the start of the Spanish influenza, or the medical realities of women’s health issues of the first half of the 1900s, all I need to do is create a spark, not an entire raging inferno.
What the Wind Knows is available on Amazon — click HERE.
Picture from Kilmanham Gaol, Dublin – highly recommended spot if you travel to Dublin. I would go there over the Guinness factory tour – more educational and Guinness should be enjoyed in one of the many pubs of Dublin for an authentic taste of Ireland.
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