Ten Reasons to Write Historical Fiction

1. If your hero is riddled with angst, it’ll be because someone is trying to overthrow him, not because he is having a mid-life crisis.

2. There is seldom a need to have one character say to another, “I’ll be there for you,” “I’m conflicted,” or, “You’re just not meeting my needs.”

3. Your heroine can be slightly plump yet not obsessed about losing weight.

4. The heroine, if she works at all, need not work in the publishing industry.

5. War, revolution, disease, infant mortality, and childbed fever allow you to kill off your characters with mad abandon when they start to get on your nerves.

6. You can buy all sorts of books in your field of interest and tell your spouse that they are for research purposes.

7. Your heroine can wear just plain shoes, not Jimmy Choos.

8. You will not have to write 400 pages about a woman who is juggling her family and her career.

9. If you get a lot of facts wrong, you can shrug off your critics on the ground that all fact is the biased distortion of (a) male chroniclers, (b) Tudor historians, (c) the victors, (d) the Church, (e) all or any combination of the above.

10. Your hero can be manly, wise, just, brave, strong, sensitive, and studly to boot, especially if he is Richard III.

7 thoughts on “Ten Reasons to Write Historical Fiction”

  1. A lot of these are jolly good reasons for reading historical fiction, too 🙂 At any rate 1-4, 7 and 8 have managed to put me off contemporary ‘wimmin’s fiction’ in a big way.

  2. I’m totally with Carla. Don’t want to read like a social worker, to quote Bernita. I prefer real battles to fighting inner demons.

    Though it seems some writers of historical fiction let them in through the backdoor, like that Caledonia trilogs with the heroine who suffers from her past – I bet it’s just the good ol’ abuse of woman’s fiction. 🙂

  3. Elizabeth Chadwick

    I’m on a certain e-list dominated by writers of contemporary ‘women’s’ fiction and your reasons are a wonderful antidote to some of their writerly preoccupations. Indeed, I am soooo glad I write historical fiction, especially for number 10 (although not related to Richard III. Currently it’s Roger Bigod!)

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