Painting the Past: A Guide for Writing Historical Fiction

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Have you ever thought it would be great to write a book, specifically one that is historical fiction? If so, this is a book you should really consider adding to your library. True historical fiction lands more specifically on the “historical” than on the “fiction.” In other words, one can’t simply make stuff up. The story must be grounded in a particular time and place with references to specific historical events as well as having a setting, technology, fashion, language, etc. that clearly places the story in that time and place. And this means research. Some find that daunting, but most writers find the research to be exciting and really fun. And to have a guide such as this book will make the process of writing a historical fiction book not only possible but really quite doable.

Author Meredith Allard is an award-winning writer of historical fiction with several published historical novels, and she is the editor of The Copperfield Review, a highly respected literary journal for readers and writers of historical fiction. With credentials such as these, using this book as a starting point for those who want to write historical fiction is really an easy decision. And this is a book those new to fiction writing can use with chapters on Creative Inspiration and How to Write a Story. That said, more experienced writers who may be moving into the historical fiction genre for the first time will not be disappointed. There is plenty of meat on the bones for experienced writers with several chapters on Research and Consider your Sources as well as Language and Dialogue in Historical Fiction and so much more.

Allard’s writing is lively and conversational. Reading this book is much like having coffee with a friendly mentor (bring your own coffee) who imparts a lot of wisdom through anecdotes, examples, and inspirational quotes. The reader needs to do work, though, as Allard asks a lot of questions to nudge readers into introspection and critical thinking. She suggests a lot of exercises, such as studying screenplays as a way to learn to write dialogue or filling out an extensive character questionnaire to make sure you fully understand your character, and she has homework assignments at the ends of many of the chapters. Allard has a companion workbook available on her website that will be particularly helpful to those beginning their writing journey in the area of historical fiction. She also has included links to many helpful sites for research. This book is a must have for any writer thinking about working in this genre.


Reviewed By:

Author Meredith Allard
Star Count 5/5
Format eBook
Page Count 176 pages
Publisher Copperfield Press
Publish Date 16-Feb-2021
ISBN 9781776573233
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue April 2021
Category Reference
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