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.
(Continued from Part 1)
Some writers are blessed with an abundance of ideas for future stories.
I am not one of those writers, to my great and ongoing dismay.
When I wrote my first historical novel, I made all the mistakes.
Not just those pertaining to good writing in general—and I made those big time—but also those specific to historical fiction in particular.
The previous Medieval Mondays post on sex discussed perceptions of women’s sexuality in the Middle Ages.
It covered historical notions of women as “misbegotten” lesser humans, as helplessly insatiable and promiscuous, and as ever in danger of being considered unmarriageable and “spoiled goods” if subject to even the hint of impropriety.
Medieval perception of women’s sexuality
The first two Medieval Mondays posts on sex focused on proper sexual conduct as dictated by the Church.
But no discussion about sex, be it in a historical or a modern context, can be deemed complete without a parallel discussion about the societal perception of women as sexual beings, as well as their sexual agency, or lack thereof.
The two topics are intrinsically linked.
Three years ago, I decided that writing a research essay on some aspect of medieval history once a month would be a good idea.
To be clear, it was a good idea. Although I’d already written the first draft of the first book of my historical fiction trilogy in 2006, I went on a six year writing hiatus after that, during which time I’d convinced myself I was giving up writing forever.