Tag Archives: historical fiction

Authors Answer 152 – Writing Real People in Fiction

Though I’d be more likely to write alternate history than historical fiction.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

In high school, I read a book called The Wars, by Timothy Findley.  In this novel, the main character finds himself in a house with Virginia Woolf, who was a real person. In fact, she was an author. But she was appearing in a fictional novel. Naomi Novik has used real historical figures in her Temeraire series, as well. Books based on history and our real world quite likely will have real life characters. But what if we based the book on a real person? Who would we write about?

Question 152 – If you could write a fictional book about any famous person, living or dead, who would it be?

Gregory S. Close

I think I’d like to write a biography of Boudica. Celtic warrior queen fighting the fight against the might of Rome? Inspirational but tragic. I’d like to highlight more women in history, especially those in…

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History ends right before the future begins

Now that I’m getting close to the next big step toward my first novel, I’m starting to think again about certain aspects of it that I’d considered already decided.

This isn’t anything that I’m thinking about changing, but it is something that’s kind of sticking out when I look at it now. Chapter 1 of Project Quintessence takes place on July 20, 2012, the same day I started writing it, and there are a few references to specific events from that year. My point is, it’s almost like a “historical” setting, except we’re talking about the very recent past, not a time far enough back for anyone to consider really different from the present.

Not counting series where the time between sequels is less than the time between their publication (The Mortal Instruments series comes to mind), I’m not sure how many other stories do this.

In my case, I both underestimated the time it would take to write and overestimated how much I would use timeskips; I actually thought it would transition from recent past to near future, but that clearly won’t happen unless I write a sequel set years after the end of my originally planned story. In any case, the specific real-world references are intended to help establish that the fictional world was “like reality unless otherwise noted” until the events that began to change it.

(There is also one reference to something that’s changed between then and now. In effect, I accidentally foreshadowed something that I didn’t actually know was going to happen in real life so soon.)