11 May 2012, Development - Historical Study, Real History
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
Real history is not politically correct. Real history doesn't try to teach a lesson about the evils of the past. Real history attempts to project what actually happened in a time, culture, and society, and allows the reader to decide on their own about the ethics or morals of that society. All people in history think their culture and society is good, and all people recognize their society and culture has problems. Did you get that--all people?
I know it is popular to present certain groups and societies in a certain manner. For example, concerning the Soviet Union, it is popular to consider the entire society as evil, or it is popular to believe that the people were not like that, only the government was. The same is true about Nazi Germany and Pol Pot's Cambodia. In Ayn Rand's, We the Living, we see that the Soviet State is indeed evil and the people within that state are at odds with themselves and others. The culture and the society of the Soviet Union were tainted by the government--yet we correctly see, in a historical view (which Rand gives us) that their were those fighting from the inside. An accurate historical view, like Rand's, shows us the society and culture without making any declarations about them and allows the reader to form their own conclusions.
In my novel, yet unpublished, Shadow of Darkness, I write about a person in the Soviet State. I researched this era and the USSR for years. In the novel, I don't say anything negative about the Soviet State, but you see an accurate picture of the horrible lives the common people and the Orthodox Church lived under that government. There are many people absolutely cowed by the society. Likewise, there are many who are actively and not so actively fighting it. In the novel, we learn of the many nuns and priests who were tortured for no other reason than they were nuns and priests. We see the NKVD (predecessor of the KGB) and its leadership who torture and murder citizens routinely as part of the government.
In writing your historical novel, don't try to tell us how bad (or good) something is--provide evidence through showing and that evidence must be gathered in the manner I already discussed.
I'll explain more about historical study tomorrow.
I'll explain more about tension and first scene development. I'll talk about characteristics that make a bad first scene/chapter eventually.
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/.