That weird head-hopping stuff.

Ar you a head hopper?

timelightcom

Writing a book is about establishing a connection between the reader and the character in the book. No matter how excellent the historical details, how correct the description of everything from how to dismantle a gun to how to perform emergency surgery in the wild, unless the reader is invested in the characters, the read will leave them at most lukewarm. Unless, of course, they read the book precisely to find out how to dismantle a gun, but generally expectations on a work of fiction are somewhat higher than that.

To establish that connection, the writer has at their disposal person and POV – point of view. Person is usually a choice between first person and third person. I once attended a very interesting lecture about using second person, i.e. “you” throughout a book and came away with the conclusion that this  a) was difficult to pull off without sounding…

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Because it happened: How not to write historical fiction

Cryssa Bazos

A_Scribe_or_Copyist-2

When I started writing the first dirty draft of Traitor’s Knot, I was so focused on the details of the events, that I often neglected the human reaction to the drama. It’s understandable given that there is so much pressure to get the historical facts nailed. Historical fiction writers have the advantage of knowing what happened to their subjects, but sometimes that knowledge blunts the suspense.

This doesn’t seem to be a problem for other genres, with perhaps the exception of memoire. Science fiction and fantasy–your imagination defines what or what doesn’t happen. Contemporary or romance, ditto. Thrillers? You guys are the boss for keeping us guessing! But historical fiction writers are slaves to the set-in-stone historical record and too often we concentrate more on the facts.

I’ll give you an example of this from that first raw draft. The historical facts: Following the Battle of Worcester, King Charles II…

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6-9 July 1553: King Edward VI Dies and Lady Jane Grey Becomes Queen

All Things Robert Dudley

Here’s a little excerpt (bar the footnotes) from my book
John Dudley: The Life of Lady Jane Grey’s Father-in-Law:

Edward VI died in the evening of 6 July 1553, in the arms of his
favourite courtiers Henry Sidney and Thomas Wroth. In his last
moments he told Sidney that he had “elected” the Lady Jane “not
out of spleen unto his sister for her religion, but out of pure love to
his subjects, that he desired they might live and die in the Lord, as
he did.” For the king’s treatment in his last weeks Northumberland
had called in the services of his own physician, as well as a female
quack and an Oxford professor.

Hours after Edward’s death Antoine de Noailles turned up at
court (having heard rumours that the king was no more) and
presented another missive from Henry II. The ambassador
promised the French king’s support…

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Joan Makepeace, Scotland’s Lonely Queen

History... the interesting bits!

Joan of the Tower, Queen of Scotland

In my research I frequently discover instances of happy medieval marriages – and even if a marriage was not based on love, it did not mean that it would not be successful. Indeed, in many such instances the young woman concerned found her own way of succeeding, whether it was through her children or the management of estates – or the fact that a lasting peace was achieved between her 2 countries.

Unfortunately for Joan of the Tower, later to be known as Joan Makepeace, her marriage achieved none of these things.

Joan was born in the Tower of London on 5 July, 1321; hence her rather dramatic name. She was the youngest of the 4 children of Edward II and his queen, Isabella of France, and had 2 older brothers and 1 sister. Her eldest brother, Edward, who was 9 years older…

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Elizabeth Blount, Royal Mistress

The Freelance History Writer

Source: http://www.fashion-era.com/hats-hair/hair3-1485-1600-womens-hair-calthrop.htm

Elizabeth Blount, also known as Bessie, was a member of the English gentry and has the distinction of being one of the known and documented mistresses of King Henry VIII. She also was the mother of the king’s son, the only illegitimate child that Henry recognized as his own.

Elizabeth was born c. 1500. She was the second daughter and one of eleven children, eight of whom survived. Her father was Sir John Blount of Kinlet Hall in Shropshire. Her mother was Katherine Peshall whose father had fought for King Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth. Elizabeth would live her early years in Shropshire and she received a good education. She would grow up to be beautiful with a fair complexion, blue eyes and blond hair which was considered the epitome of Tudor beauty.

Elizabeth’s family was related to William Blount, 4th Lord Mountjoy, an important member…

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Book Corner: Marie MacPherson’s The Second Blast of the Trumpet

History... the interesting bits!

51wvncemcbl-_sx330_bo1204203200_Today over at the Review, you can read my take on Marie MacPherson’s biographical novel of John Knox and the Scottish Reformation, The Second Blast of the Trumpet.

And there’s a giveaway!

Here’s a taster:

What a fabulous concept for a series of novels! The Second Blast of the Trumpet by Marie MacPherson is the second instalment in her series charting the life of the Scottish preacher – and father of the Scottish Reformation – John Knox. This book is, at the same time, entertaining, informative and thought-provoking. Fast-paced and superbly written, the novel gives us an insight into the life  of the fiery Scottish preacher that few people would know about.

Before reading this novel, the image I had of Knox was an angry, loud man who made Mary, Queen of Scots, cry and did not like women. He was, after all, the man who coined the…

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Book Review: The First Blast of the Trumpet by Marie MacPherson @MGMacpherson #rbrt #historical fiction #John Knox #history of Scotland

SaylingAway

The book is the first of a trilogy about John Knox, a Scottish minister, theologian, and writer who was a leader of the Reformation and the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, marking the 500th anniversary of his birth. In this first book, Knox plays a minor role to the two main characters: Elizabeth Hepburn, a feisty woman who becomes the Prioress of a convent, and David Lindsey, her one-time lover, who is the long-time tutor and confidant of King James V of Scotland.

The story opens with a charming scene that reminded me of Little Women, where Betsy, the nanny to the three Hepburn daughter, herbalist and possible witch, divines the girls’ fates from the tossing of nuts into a blazing fire. The three girls are completely different in character and although the book traces the fate of little Meg and the voluptuous and fiery Kate, it…

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