26 May 2012, Development - Historical Study, Historical Feel
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, 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 beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
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.
I'm writing about sources of historical research and how to make historical research. These apply to any novel or any subject you might wish to study. Here is a list:
1. Primary source documents or artifacts
2. Secondary source documents or artifacts
3. Tertiary source documents or artifacts
If you do get the history right--that is the details as well as the basics--there is another piece of history that needs to fill out your works. This additional part is cultural awareness. Here is the list of how to develop your target period for writing a historical novel.
1. Primary sources (secondary second)
2. Clean slate
3. Add in only what you find from primary sources (secondary next)
4. Cultural awareness
5. Historical feel
The whole reason for this cultural study is to produce true "historical feel." If you notice, the first step in the process of study to write a historical novel is to produce historical accuracy. The first step is to get the history right. Many authors don't even get past this step--they write horrible historical fiction that is more fiction than historical and that is simply a modern novel in a historical setting.
The next step is to understand the culture in the historical setting you wish to write about. This is broadly "cultural awareness." The point of cultural awareness is to understand the way the culture and society respond to the world it exists within. With cultural awareness, you can write authentically about the history, times, and culture. You can get all the details right. You can write without having to know every single nuance of the history of the times because you understand how the people act and react in the time and place. This is very important because we don't have that much data about everyday life in many ancient cultures. The more you can understand the culture, the better you can portray it.
The ultimate point of cultural awareness and historical study is to produce writing that has historical feel.
I'll write more about historical feel tomorrow.
I'll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.