Monday, November 17, 2008

Historical Fiction?


What have I been doing lately?  Writing proposals.  Researching.  Learning about neurolinguistic programming. And getting ready to write an article on historical fiction. 

A couple of months ago, Robin Jones Gunn and I put our heads together while we went out for Five Guys Burgers--and a Five Guys Burger can inspire you to move mountains.  :-)   Robin really has a heart for Christian writers overseas, and she knows that they don't have a wealth of conferences to attend like Christian writers in the States do.  One organization, Media Associates International, helps foreign writers learn the craft, but they can always use donations.  So--how can American novelists help? 

We enlisted dozens of our writing friends, and we're helping compile a handbook for writing Christian fiction--involving over 100 authors, I think, and covering every topic we could think of.  The resulting book will be published by Tyndale House, and all royalties will go to help finance scholarships to MAI's international writers' conferences.  I'll let you know more when the book is ready to roll off the presses. 

So--I've already contributed an article on my plot skeleton, and today I have to write an article on writing historical fiction.  I've already asked my Facebook friends for points to cover, but I could use your help, too:  why do you like historical fiction?  As a reader, what makes historical fiction enjoyable or special from contemporary fiction? 

Thanks for dropping by today.  Ahh--by this time next week, I'll be on VACATION!  

Photo: My six-year-old only-bloomed-once orchid is blooming like crazy! Buds all over!

~~Angie 

14 comments:

Mocha with Linda said...

Gotta get kids ready for school so I"ll be back to read later, but just wanted to invite you (and everyone else) to come over to my blog - Angie, you are now officially Booked for the Holidays!

Kari said...

I really like historical fiction for 2 reasons. One, I really love to read just about anything. Two, while I am reading and enjoying the characters, I am actually learning too.

Kay Day said...

I like historical, because I love history.
I like that it takes me to another time and makes it real.

Caitriona aka Catherine said...

Historical fiction does two things for me, firstly, it pulls me into the time period and makes me hungry for more; secondly, the combination of imagination and facts brings the story to life.

PS I need inspiration to keep writing, any thoughts?

Holly said...

Yay for bloomin' Orchids!!

Praying that you enjoy your vacation and that it is filled with lots of replenishment for you, Angie.

Holly said...

OH, and to answer your question, I really have enjoyed historical fiction by T. Davis Bunn, Janette Oke and Michael Phillips over the years.

I like hf because I learn about how people lived during various times in history--from travelling across the country in a wagon to sailing across the sea to life in communist Russia (all things I have never experienced), it teaches me something new. Also I am transported to view into another place and time, which thrills me!

Kara S. said...

I was talking with a friend the other day about this very thing! We both came to the same conclusions. We like historical fiction because the time period is different than today. We live life today; we know what it's like. Historical fiction transports us to another time where life was different, not necessarily simpler, but just different.

Plus sometimes contemporary fiction hits too close to home as far as subject matters but the same subject in historical fiction is different. Does that make sense? For example, my friend was telling me that she picked up a book by a best-selling author (not you, Angie!) and she hated it to the point that she put it down after a couple of chapters and was angry. Why? Because the book detailed exactly what her own daughter was going through in her marriage and as the mother, she couldn't read anymore and deal with the emotions she was experiencing especially towards the son-in-law. She said she's read other books that deal with the same situation, but the historical setting makes all the difference.

Mocha with Linda said...

(Whew, Angie! You have some fans out there! I've never had this many comments on a post before 11:00 AM. Forget E.F. Hutton - just name-drop Angela Hunt and folks come a-running! They are itching to get their hands on a copy of THE FACE!)

I love historical fiction because it fascinates me how people dealt with the challenges of daily life in those times and yet the interpersonal issues are timeless. It's easy to romanticize life "way back when" but daily life was hard - and yet people still loved, laughed, cried, hurt. And it gives me a greater appreciation for what we have today.

Anonymous said...

Glad I checked in ... for some reason I didn't get your daily email today. Historical Fiction is my absolute favorite. Your various series have each hit the spot with me as I enjoyed the richness of detail in era and locale, which I might otherwise not have the chance to know. You have a knack for describing scenes totally foreign to me in personal experience, while creating character actions and resolutions therein that were understandable and even potentially applicable to life in this day. I greatly appreciate the immense amount of research that you put in to your books. All of yours have been learning experiences, some greater than others; but the Historical Novels have been particularly satisfying to this reader. As a confessed Bookaholic, I feel justified that I am learning while stoking my addiction. Clyde

Margaret D. said...

I like historical fiction because it is about events that really happened, and since they occurred in the past, we can trace the outcome of those events. I think when we gain a deeper understanding of the beliefs and motivations of people in history and how these played out in the results of their actions, we gain important insights that help us make better decisions in the present.

You might find my website www.HistoricalNovels.info a useful resource as you work on your article. It lists over 3500 historical novels, organized by time and place, and includes over 60 reviews.

Rachel said...

What a great question! So glad to see HF is getting some press in this book. Sounds like a great resource.

HF is my favorite genre and it's also what I write. History has been my favorite subject since I learned to read.

What I like best about HF is how it brings history to life. History as it is taught in most public schools is very dry and dull. Just a list of dates and names, with no sense of the people who made the history. I also love the way it brings every day life to life on the page.

I also love being transported to another time where men were gentlemen and women were treated with the utmost respect.

jan said...

i enjoy historical fiction when i know that the author has well researched the time period with which they are writing. the book then becomes a learning experience as well as an enjoyable read.
(your orchid is beautiful, by the way!)
jan

Elsi Dodge said...

Historical fiction needs to be accurate both historically and (if Christian) biblically. DaVinci Code fails on both counts. The Shack is heretical (it's also not historical fiction, but it's such a great example of a good story that goes against Scripture). The Begotten series by Lisa Bergren is absolutely on-target in both areas.

PraiseFiddler said...

Personally I like HF because it is an escape from modern reality. When I read a book I don't want to relate to the characters too much. I want the characters and story to be opposite of what my life is in actuality.