Writing historical fiction deals with people that existed a long time ago, or created to be part of that world. Their day-to-day reality has no resemblance to ours. Their way of expressing themselves differs––words or expressions commonly used then are considered offensive to us now. Those people also had a unique way of looking at things–– their way of thinking would certainly raise a few eyebrows today. As writers, we want to portray a realistic world view of those times, but we also don’t want to offend anybody in the process.
Do we avoid using the ‘offensive language’ in dialogue, or do we write as it really was?
The POV character might belong to ‘the other’––a person from a completely different racial background from the author. Intensive research about the culture and the life experienced then is certainly advisable but it won’t eliminate the risk of creating a stereotypical, robot-image based on the author’s preconceptions of how people lived and felt at the time. When we write about ‘the other’, we also write about ourselves. That’s what writers do. There’s always a bit of ourselves, a bit of what we know, and a lot about what we don’t understand in our writing.
In my case, I’m a middle-class Quebecoise writing about a poor African-American slave from Louisiana sold to a bourgeois family in colonial New France. My research might have given me some knowledge of the horrors that the woman––being female is all I have in common with my character––had experienced, but I wonder if I’ll be able to present her in a respectable manner, and will it be possible––as a free woman––to be able to convey the woman’s deepest fears and anxieties. I can only rely on my limited imagination and what I read about the subject.
Will I do the woman justice?
Do I presume to know how she felt?
Do I even have the right to tell her story?
#historical fiction #creating characters #novels #’the other’ in writing #fiction
Thank you to Lili Naghdi for posting her wonderful review of my novel, The Daughters’ Story on Amazon. Greatly appreciated and very encouraging.
Read it here: bitly.ws/3V4x
#Womens’ fiction # Historical fiction # Canadian fiction #reviews
The ebook format of my novel, The Daughters’ Story, has been released at several vendors. Hopefully, that will help with the sales, but at the end of the day, the reviews, good and bad, will be the determining factor as to whether the book will survive. Putting it through an extravaganza of promotional stunts will give it visibility and with that, maybe a handful of willing readers, but if none of them bother to comment on what they read––not something that comes natural––the book will have had its moment of fame and slowly disappear.
As writers, we put our hearts out there, hoping someone will listen, feel, rethink life, get angry or throw the book across the room. We want to touch someone’s heart or hit a nerve. An emotional reaction indicates the book has changed a reader’s life in some way, and perhaps it happens, but if the reader never gives any feedback, the author misses out on how to use their writing to maintain that vital writer-reader connection.
I’ve done what I could for the novel and now… time to roll up my sleeves and focus on my latest work.
#historical fiction #Canadian fiction #Quebec fiction #novel #new release #women’s fiction #October Crisis
Now available at:
Baraka Books: https://bit.ly/2QZcF9P
Barnes & Noble: https://tinyurl.com/y6f6fra2
A review of my novel by a fellow author, Christoph Fischer–– a pillar in the writing community who has been an inspiration to me from my beginnings as a writer. How good can it get?!
Thanks, Christoph. I honour the goodness in you.
#Canadian literature #fiction #novels #historical fiction #Quebec writing #womens’ writing #family saga
We who are authors and artists are notoriously thin-skinned. When we are young in the profession and still consider our works to be the equivalent of our perfect children, we bleed profusely when you admit you didn’t really enjoy what we wrote (or sang, or painted). Some of us handle this kind of conversation with […]
Moving along… the advanced reading copies are out and heading for those who will read and hopefully review my work. They might like it… or maybe hate it.
Too much back story… characters not credible… pace too slow… weak structure… ending too abrupt… I’ll have a panic attack trying to come up with what I did wrong.
But maybe they’ll connect to the main character, Nadine––fingers crossed––and forgive all the flaws in the story. Nadine is banished to a home for unwed mothers in 1950. She’s 15. Her baby daughter, whose father is shrouded in secrecy, is put up for adoption without her permission. Vowing to reunite one day with her daughter, she cuts all ties with her dysfunctional Irish and French-Canadian Catholic family whose past is cluttered with secrets, betrayals, incest and violence.
As writers, we are dependent on the reader’s reaction to our work. Some will enjoy the book and review––or not. Others will make sure to comment if they don’t like something about the story. Both positive and negative reviews help to make the book visible to others. Without reviews, the book disappears.
It should be released May 1st, but it’s available for pre-orders which will arrive at the end of March.
#Quebec fiction #Canadian fiction #modern historical fiction #Family saga #womens fiction #adoption #WW1 #WW2 #October Crisis #Amazon #Indigo #Barnes & Noble