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The Art and Craft of Writing Historical…

The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction: Researching and Writing…

by James Alexander Thom

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This is a great resource and was recommended in a class that I took about writing historical fiction. I took the class, came home and found the book in my own personal library and was finally inspired to read it. I am glad that I did. Not only did Thom give practical advice about research and writing but he made me think about the reason behind writing this genre and the way in which to approach it. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is considering writing historical fiction.
  Familyhistorian | Sep 20, 2014 |
I was extremely surprised to see a five-star rating on this book, until I noticed that only one member had reviewed it. She may have gotten some valuable infromation from it, but I found it pretty worthless. The 200+ pages all boil down to one statement ("Put your reader into the period") and, in fact, to one word that summarizes that statement: verisimilitude. If you planned to write a historical novel without knowing that, well, you've got a long way to go. Know what people wore. Know how they talked. Know what daily life was like. Duh. The book is extremely repetitious and seems to assume that everyone will be writing about the American west, as Thom does, or American Indian tribes, as his wife, Dark Rain, does. And he thinks that every book should touch on slavery because it has always been part of society.

I had hoped to get some ideas for researching and organizing material, the writing process, etc., but Thom only tells us that he has many sources, but they are too numerous to name. He briefly suggests going to research libraries, searching online, and visiting important places in your novel to get the feel of them, but that's about it. Oh, and write your notes longhand because if you save them on a computer and the systems change, you won't be able to access your them. Duh.

I just started another book on this subject. It's less than half this one in length, but I'm already getting more valuable information. ( )
2 vote Cariola | Apr 11, 2011 |
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Thom gives you the tools you need to research and create stories born from the past that will move and inspire modern readers.

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