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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Development - Historical Study

3 May 2012, Development - Historical Study

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

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, visit my writing website and select "production schedule," you will be sent to

If you haven't guessed yet, I've left this up because I plan to use it in the future as we move through development. The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

At this point I should move on to more on the first scene and the development of the novel, but I was asked about studying to write an historical fiction novel.  I think I'll tackle that subject for a while since it directly relates to the subject at hand.

Let's talk about the sources of 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 of artifacts

When I study history to write my novels, I always use primary source documents.  I rarely use secondary or tertiary sources.  What, you might ask, is a primary, secondary, and tertiary source?  A primary source is one that is an eyewitness account.  Here are examples:

1.  An autobiography
2.  An eyewitness letter or essay
3.  A video of the event
4.  An audio recording of the event
5.  An item known to be from a specific time, event, or place
6.  A photo

A historian and a great historical fiction writer will always use primary sources to study about the life and times they are writing about.  Historians rarely use tertiary source and place secondary sources over primary sources.  Primary, secondary, and tertiary are called the degree of the source. 

I'll write more about this and the study of history, 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:, and the individual novel websites:,,,,, and

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