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Friday, January 27, 2012

Publication - Problems Writing History

27 January 2012, Publication - Problems Writing History

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel.

I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.

Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, go to my writing website and select "production schedule," you will be sent to

Here is the list of ideas for advertising--there are more and I'll add to the list as we go along.  I'm certainly not an expert in all these, but I've dabbled in all of them.  I'll try to relate my experience and the degree of that experience to you.

1.  Have a website for your novel.
2.  Write a blog.
3.  Advertise.
4.  Literary awards.
5.  Book cards.
6.  Contests.
7.  Interviews.
8.  Blog tours.
9.  Press releases.
10.  Speaking and teaching.
11.  e-mailing.
12.  Gifts.
13.  Book signings.
14.  Book trailers
15.  ...

It isn't just history that gets kicked to the curb with many so called writers of historical fiction.  I personally don't mind people messing with details that would be unrecorded or unimportant in history, but get the details right about the things we do know.  If you aren't a historian, you will (or should) ask--how do I get the details to be accurate?  The answer is to study, study, study--the correct material.  You should then ask--what is the correct material?  the answer has been the same since Moses and Herodotus--primary source documents.  If you base and develop your historical fiction on anything other than primary source documents, you are not writing historical fiction--you are simply writing fiction in a semi-historical setting.

The first rule is focus your studies on primary source documents.  The second is, don't read anything into the history.  That is, don't assume any modern conventions in the historical accounts.  Go look at how people lived and what they did--don't assume they lived like they do now or did 100 years ago (unless your time period is 100 years ago).  As I mentioned yesterday, in the ancient world, people did not have furniture like chairs or tables.  If they had tables, they were for reclining, very similar to a low table from Japan.  There were no tables to hide under.  Beds were on the ground and bedrooms were for families.  Modesty is a modern invention, as is underwear and personal hygiene.  If you start with the idea that the world is very different than what you understand, you can begin to learn about it, if you don't, you won't write historical fiction.

I'll write about science fiction and expertise tomorrow.

I'll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples:, and the individual novel websites:,,,,, and

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