This week, Robert and Alida welcome Emma Darwin to the round table for an extensive discussion about writing historical fiction, but as with every genre special, this isn’t just for writers of historical works. Emma has an amazing knowledge of storycraft and we go deep this week. Kathryn’s going to be busy with the show notes!
What drew Emma to historical fiction, and what is it’s allure? How important is your motivation for writing, and what you are trying to communicate to your reader? How does theme drive your story? Emma explains some ways she uses structural tools to make her writing better. And finally, we talk about the trap of authenticity in our writing.
Visit Emma at This Itch of Writing.
What we talked about:
What drew Emma to historical fiction? (1:22)
What is the allure of historical fiction? (8:22)
How important is your motivation for writing historical fiction? What is it you are trying to do? (12:18)
How theme drives content, and do you need your theme to get started? (16:17)
The benefit of writing a synopsis. (21:00)
Playing with time! How to balance the research and what you want to accomplish in your book. (23:03)
The voice and language of historical fiction. (28:02)
The trap of authenticity. (30:33)
Your book your rules! (36:10)
Things we mentioned:
The Child that Books Built by Francis Spufford
“In Search of Alias Grace: on writing Canadian Historical Fiction”, by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence
Restoration by Rose Tremain
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd
The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles
The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth
Have thoughts, questions, other examples? Join the conversation at the Story Works Writers Facebook group.
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