Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > Themes in History > History Book Reviews > Historical Fiction
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

Historical Fiction Historical Fiction Forum - Original historical fiction by the Historum community


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old September 2nd, 2016, 07:12 AM   #11

TotalAaron's Avatar
The Greatest warrior
 
Joined: Feb 2016
From: Australia
Posts: 3,769
Blog Entries: 6

Historical fiction is by definition fiction so really who cares?
TotalAaron is offline  
Remove Ads
Old January 12th, 2017, 11:34 AM   #12

DaveK's Avatar
Scholar
 
Joined: Jan 2017
From: Tampa, FL
Posts: 737

Quote:
Originally Posted by TotalAaron View Post
Historical fiction is by definition fiction so really who cares?
But it's also by definition historical!

Looks like I disagree with most on this thread. But it's probably just a preference of mine. IMO Historical fiction should be as accurate as is practicable. That is - as accurate as possible, but not so much that it kills the story.

For me, the fiction is about filling in the blanks that we have no way of knowing about - the individual encounters, conversations, etc.

When reading HF, I expect the author to be VERY familiar with the time period. I like to feel as if I've gotten into a time machine and I am watching the events take place. If I'm in the room with Julius Caesar I don't expect the samurai to show up with machine guns and start blowing away senators. We're into Mel Gibson movie territory at that point.

-Dave K

p.s. I see this is a slightly stale thread, but I couldn't be silent!
DaveK is offline  
Old March 17th, 2017, 07:44 PM   #13

Melisende's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Jul 2007
From: Australia
Posts: 1,562

I think accuracy comes into play when real historical figures are at the centre of the novel. If they are on the periphery then a bit of artistic license is okay. If positing an "alternate theory" or creating a fiction to suit a particular historic event then some knowledge of events / the period / the character wouldn't go astray to make the story more "credible".

Mind you, I have also read a lot of historical fiction where the story / characters just don't ring true. Some authors can do it well, others just shouldn't have tried in the first place.

Its all a matter of personal taste.
Melisende is offline  
Old March 17th, 2017, 08:05 PM   #14
Suspended until August 17th, 2017
 
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 9,544
Blog Entries: 1

Something that really pisses me off in Historical Fictoin is someone imposing 20th C values on their characters.

Romans being offended by slavery.

Women being allowed to conduct battle plans.

Black people not being stared at and the objects of amazement when they appear in Medieval Briton.

These really piss me off.
Lawnmowerman is offline  
Old March 17th, 2017, 08:50 PM   #15
Historian
 
Joined: Apr 2013
From: Home of Ringing Rocks
Posts: 3,760

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveK View Post

...When reading HF, I expect the author to be VERY familiar with the time period. I like to feel as if I've gotten into a time machine and I am watching the events take place. If I'm in the room with Julius Caesar I don't expect the samurai to show up with machine guns and start blowing away senators. We're into Mel Gibson movie territory at that point...
Awww - you're no fun at all!


OP - I think any real people should be portrayed as accurately as possible. I usually try to avoid long dialogue with real people - what if I'm totally misrepresenting them?

I like to have historical basis for approximately 90% of what my fictional characters are/do. Meaning, did I read that someone actually did such and such in a similar time period as my character - even if it was highly unusual? If yes, I feel comfortable using it, and might go out of my way to use it. However, if it's unusual, it should be used sparingly - probably only one character can be/do that unusual thing.

Ideally, the story should aim to be accurate to the point that when you ask the reader to believe something improbable, it melds together seamlessly for the reader.

Having said that, I tend to write a lot about established, but obscure, facts that aren't well known. I'm not sure if the average reader will go along with some of them or not.
R5 plus is offline  
Old April 27th, 2017, 09:53 AM   #16
Citizen
 
Joined: Apr 2017
From: USA
Posts: 17

I'm pretty anal retentive about having as much historical fact in historical fiction. Even books that trend on the historical fantasy, like the Outlander series, are meticulously researched. I love that aspect of the series.

I mean, as long as you're taking the reader back in time, why not make it authentic?
lauradupre is offline  
Old April 27th, 2017, 10:24 AM   #17

DaveK's Avatar
Scholar
 
Joined: Jan 2017
From: Tampa, FL
Posts: 737

Quote:
Originally Posted by lauradupre View Post
I'm pretty anal retentive about having as much historical fact in historical fiction. Even books that trend on the historical fantasy, like the Outlander series, are meticulously researched. I love that aspect of the series.

I mean, as long as you're taking the reader back in time, why not make it authentic?
How about this:
  • The historical accuracy of any even in historical fiction should be directly proportional to that event's impact on history.
  • Known details with regards to architecture, clothing, geography, appearances should be researched and adhered to.
  • Dialogue should not be so modernized as to take one squarely out of the time period. i.e. "WAZZUP CAESAR!"
DaveK is offline  
Old April 29th, 2017, 01:46 PM   #18
Suspended until August 21st, 2017
 
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,912

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
How about this:
  • The historical accuracy of any even in historical fiction should be directly proportional to that event's impact on history.
  • Known details with regards to architecture, clothing, geography, appearances should be researched and adhered to.
  • Dialogue should not be so modernized as to take one squarely out of the time period. i.e. "WAZZUP CAESAR!"
Since the historical fiction isn't going to be written in the historical language, what is wrong with "WAZZUP CAESAR"? That might be entirely appropriate depending upon the character and the situation. It the character is lower class buddy of Caesar, the dialogue might be useful to convey that fact. Casar and his friends wouldn't be speaking English in the first place, they would be speaking Latin.

Now, if the setting was a formal meeting with his aristrocratic colleagues, then yes "WAZZUP" might not be appropriate. But modernizing dialogue can be ok, depending on the circumstance.
Bart Dale is offline  
Old April 29th, 2017, 10:36 PM   #19

Melisende's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Jul 2007
From: Australia
Posts: 1,562

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
But it's also by definition historical!
When reading HF, I expect the author to be VERY familiar with the time period. I like to feel as if I've gotten into a time machine and I am watching the events take place. If I'm in the room with Julius Caesar I don't expect the samurai to show up with machine guns and start blowing away senators. We're into Mel Gibson movie territory at that point.
Can I suggest then the Samurai of Seville - first visit of Japanese warriors to court of Philip III of Spain. Now there's a clash of cultures.


Anyway, if you're reading fiction and moaning about historical inaccuracies, you shouldn't be reading historical fiction - read the non-fictional account instead. (note to self - take notice of what I just said)

Last edited by Melisende; April 29th, 2017 at 10:38 PM.
Melisende is offline  
Old April 30th, 2017, 05:44 AM   #20
Scholar
 
Joined: Jan 2013
From: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 788

Guy Gabriel Kay developed the perfect solution to this question. His books are set in thinly-veiled fantasy worlds based on real historical locations and societies. That way he can rewrite events to suit the plot because it's not officially historical fiction.
delta1 is offline  
Reply

  Historum > Themes in History > History Book Reviews > Historical Fiction

Tags
book, fiction



Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Your favorite historical fiction book? throughthepastdarkly History Book Reviews 24 March 13th, 2015 03:27 AM
Historical Fiction Movies - Excellent History Based Fiction skizzerflake History in Films and on Television 0 March 11th, 2013 06:39 PM
What is your favorite Historical Fiction book/series? benkernow History Book Reviews 27 May 14th, 2012 12:08 PM
Suggestions for a historical-fiction book I'm writing HistoryFreak1912 History Book Reviews 0 May 4th, 2009 03:19 AM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.