Kiernan Kelly has written a really great article on "historical fiction writers:the remedial section." Well, it’s not called that, it’s called "An Opinion from an M/M Historical Romance Writer Riding the Short Bus" but I didn’t know what a Short Bus was. I do now, and I’m firmly on that bus myself. Probably sitting on my own and drooling. But do go and read it, if you’ve been longing to start that historical (and I know there’s a few of you on my flist who are) and are scared to death, I think it will bring a lot into perspective.
I often feel intimidated by my peers (or rather, my betters, seeing as they are in the fast lane and me and Kiernan are on the SB) when I read their bios and find they’ve got doctorates in history or degrees or whatever, that they studied Ancient Greek or Medieval Socio-politics, whereas all I’ve got is seven OWLs to my name.
But like Kiernan, I’m an "information pack rat" – or a lover of unusual trivia. I would be the Alan Davies on Q.I. (failing miserably and being the foil of Fry’s pity) but Q.I. is one of my favourite programmes ever because of the things you find out from watching it (such as that Alexander G. Bell did NOT invent the phone, and that (obviously, although I didn’t realise it until the lovely Mr Fry pointed it out) Queen Victoria had nothing to do with the legality of lesbian sex, despite the urban myth.
My research process is so similar to Kiernan’s that it’s not necessary to relate it here. I am a collector of trifles. Mmmm. custard.
One of the the most important points Kiernan makes is the empathy issue. It’s pointless to know every single thread of fabric, every stick of furniture, but if you can’t get inside the head of your historical character in a realistic manner you will lose the respect you may have gained from the reader.
I was gratified to find that there was, at least, another author who was, like me, feeling a bit of a lesser being, and while I sit here, drooling and playing with my piece of coal, I know that there are others out there, like me. On the Short Bus.© Copyright 2009 Erastes, All rights Reserved. Written For: Erastes