Don't if I put this here. But..

Sep 2012
Prague, Czech Republic
I like the formulation 'King Richard, third of that name'. I wasn't sure what period this kind of phrase stemmed from though, or if it was just an affectation of historical writers in the 19th century. I did find a 17th century book which put things thusly:

"The historie of that wise and fortunate prince, Henrie of that name the seventh, King of England : with that famed battaile, fought betweene the sayd King Henry and Richard the third named Crookbacke, upon Redmoore neere Bosworth"

but that was published a century and a half after Richard III's death.
Feb 2019
Pennsylvania, US
I think that the most important thing you can do to ensure success is to connect with another creative writing junkie - or even better - find a group of creative writers who meet to share work and get constructive criticism from each other. We may never have had stories like Lord of the Rings without a group like the "Inklings" (J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S Lewis, Charles Williams and a bunch of others)... apparently C. S. Lewis was key in encouraging his friend Tolkien to write the trilogy. You can easily find local meet-up's online - I'm sure that there are quite a few creative writing ones near you (perhaps some even as specific as "historical fiction"). Working with a group will give you a diversity of feedback, being part of a group will encourage you to keep producing work, and it can help further your own art by seeing what other people are doing / deriving inspiration from them.

Also, as yourself, "why" - why do you feel the need to write this book? What are you trying to communicate to readers that a history book cannot? Personalities? A realistic sense of the era? Social undercurrents that are relevant today? Some beauty that cannot be communicated in a factual account? It doesn't have to be one of these... it can be several, but it is good to know which are most important to you so that you can use them to direct your approach.

I would develop profiles of each of the characters you are working with - depending on how close to the facts you want to stick, this could vary from something like a forensic profiling to a list of general traits / glorified 'mood board'. Know the motivations, ideals, contradictions of each personality - their secrets, their vulnerabilities, their hopes and their shame. There are loads of available exercises for helping you write about personalities and characterizations... some of them are very fun just purely as a mental exercise.

Worry about the manner of spelling later... any grammar freak can edit a manuscript... not everyone can create something that reaches to others and draws them in. That said, you need to understand the tools you are working with - words - and know which tool to for each application. My point is that early on, you should have a thesaurus - not a grammatical magnifying glass... you can return and correct your work as you refine your drafts. I have had kids bring me poorly spelled stories (almost phonetically written), that when you read the meaning and forget the spelling, it is something really marvelous - it is at times very shocking to see what original, wonderful things can be going on in the mind of an otherwise quiet, bullied teenager!

I say go for it... use this forum for reference / facts and as another sounding board - but definitely connect with other writers who are trustworthy (producing good writing, working in a timely manner, able to offer both criticism and praise). Lastly, be strong enough to let your work be criticized (in a constructive manner), taken apart, scrutinized and questioned... usually something you've created becomes the object of quite a bit of love (if you put yourself into it), and it can be hard to see it torn to shreds, but in the end that is the best way to develop your writing skills... or any skill, for that matter. :)
Likes: Tulius


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
If you can re-create a believable world
something internally consistent where the personages act from the customs and belief of their time
you will have cracked it
the toughest one is the overriding importance of honor , both family and personal
it was a central concept in the middle ages
don't make concession to modernity
Likes: Niobe
Feb 2019
Pennsylvania, US
don't make concession to modernity
I think this is a really good point. You really can't have a character reacting in a modern way to a historical scenario... you can help your reader out in situations where there would be a horrible, modern reaction to a scenario just by how you tell the story.

One of the amazing subtleties of writing is that you can have characters reacting to situations in a completely accurate manner for their time period, using the same quote they may have actually said, and on the sly, color the tone in the descriptives or narration in such a way as to bring the reader to the conclusion you want... if you are good at it, someone may not even know why they have the impression they have, but they have an unshakable feeling about what they just read.

In this way you can have an accurate exchange and still allow your reader to feel some modern sensibility about it, without modernizing the intentions / reactions of the characters themselves.
Likes: sparky

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