This could be you if you watched Hidden Figures or Dunkirk, had your socks knocked off after reading Crystal King’s Feast of Sorrow or Whitney Scharer’s The Age of Light, or managed to keep pace with the 166 ghosts in George Saunder’s Lincoln in the Bardo. You finish and say to yourself, I could do that. I could definitely write that.
If there’s any There there, the That means writing a historical fiction novel to entertain, enlighten, and enlarge minds. Shine a light on old prejudices and contexts. Make palpable what it felt like to storm Normandy’s beaches. Give voice to the innumerable dead watching a president grieve the death of his son.
Full disclosure: I am that person. I heard the story of a first-century slave who became a bishop and became convinced it was my moral imperative to write it. Three years and 200 purchased books later, I ask myself (sincerely, mind you) What the heck was I thinking?
Allow me to diagnose the perquisites and pitfalls of my affliction. The advantages for me writing that story include having the basic story outline and much of my protagonists’s world handed to me on a platter. Disadvantages include my paltry knowledge of said time period, the people, and what their lives were like. My story traverses four continents, converses in four languages, and spotlights four religions. To sharpen the point, I have no formal training in antiquities—I’m an engineer!
Good luck with that.
But the story seemed so captivating I felt compelled to tackle it head-on. Here’s what I did:
Read the rest of the post on the Dead Darlings blog -and be sure to check out the comments!