Monday, March 7, 2016

How Many Facts in Historical Fiction?

How much is too much? Well, now that could depend on what I am talking about. In this post, I am talking about placing facts into fiction writing. I am finishing my third historical novel, some call them westerns, but mine has real events, people and places in them. Not sure but I believe that makes these books historical fiction. I actually classify mine as historical mystery and then add, set in the old west. I also like westerns that are pure fiction, where every person, place and event is made up, they are usually not terribly long and make fun fast reads.
My new book will have a bit of Fort Laramie

I spent more than 40 years teaching history and a big part of my job involved historical research. Over the years, I published a few nonfiction pieces on various aspects of Wyoming and the old west. I started blogging ten years ago, mostly western topics and enjoy the research that some of the posts take. I guess that is the reasons my writing falls into the genre of historical.
Some days writing can be a real bear

Which leads me to the original question, how much is too much? This time, I am talking about real events, people, and places. I have read of writers that make a list of up to 25 facts they want to include in a novel. I don’t go that far, but I like the idea. My newest WIP is about one-third complete and I have included, and I had to check this and count, eight historically significant people, events or places that play important roles in the story. How many more will there be? At least four, not sure if I will include more than that.

 Working on my current novel has been fun. A few nights ago I was writing and hollered at my wife, “This is really good, the part I just wrote, I love it.”
Then like a bad husband and good writer I refused to read it to her. She just laughed, knowing that sometimes I read excerpts to her and sometimes I do not.
Who doesn't love a great read that includes a terrific horse

Writing something I like this much doesn’t often happen, but when I really like something I wrote, it is a genuine feel good moment for an author.
Write on my friends.
My part of the west, on a drive last week, 20 miles west of town

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