A chat is defined as “an informal conversation”. To engage in a chat is “to talk in a friendly, informal way”.
Chatting is equally applicable to friends and strangers, and is customarily performed in a relaxed and leisurely manner.
But almost all of this changes when it comes to a Twitter chat, and you are one of the chat hosts.
Me with Texas writer Sydney Young (L) and 2018 PitchWars mentor Carrie Callaghan (R) at the 2019 Historical Novel Society writers’ conference
So many creative initiatives begin life as an offhand comment, initially dismissed.
So it was with #HFChitChat—the idea of a recurring Twitter chat and online community for writers of historical fiction.
It was a tweet I could have written myself:
(At least the first part of the tweet; it’s pretty hard to create a duology out of a story that’s already been envisioned as a trilogy!)
If I didn’t go now, I’d have to wait until 2021.
It was this—the inherent uncertainty of any long gap of time—that convinced me to go to the recent writers’ conference of the Historical Novel Society’s North American chapter, held June 20-23 in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Writers’ conferences are expensive, even more so with the exchange from Canadian dollars for those held in the United States. Still, as a writer of historical fiction, I felt it was important for me to go.
(Continued from Part 1)
That is to say, beginning with a book that provides a broad overview of the historical era in question.
When it comes to writing historical fiction, your plot, however entertaining, will only take you so far.
You also have to present a well-constructed setting that captures the culture, customs, details, and ethos of the historical period in question. In this way, histfic genre conventions have as much in common with an honours-level history class as with any other genre of fiction.
(Continued from Part 1 and Part 2)
History as a whole provides a vast collection of topics that are ripe to be made into historical novels.
Even when you’ve narrowed your interest to a specific historical era, the possibilities are virtually endless.