I can already see the first incoming rain clouds on the horizon as I start my new novel. I’m hoping that’s it’s a mere pesky shower and not a full on tempest that will blow some, what I think, out to sea. I want to include real historical figures in  an alternate history/ steampunk novel. Now here is the issue:

How much historical accuracy should I include with the character to make her not only recognizable but also compelling? At what point and how much do I use artistic license to fit a historical person into the story?

I know that these aren’t easy questions to answer and the best way to head off potential disaster in a goodly amount of research into the real person and events.

I started that today and into the project specific notebook went a good four pages on hand written notes. I’ve also started printing out some documents concerning the whys hows and wheres of the historical events, the person’s Wikipedia article and even downloaded her autobiography in to my Nook library. I’d like to have it read by the beginning of next week, if possible.

So, if nothing else gets accomplished today I did some pretty solid work on bringing one of my characters to life. Not bad for also working my eight hour shift and getting laundry done.




2 thoughts on “

  1. Are you familiar with Warehouse 13? I’m fond of what they did with HG Wells in that show – making him a woman, an ageless woman at that! I think it’s okay to do a little bit of creative license when you deal with historic people, especially if there are gaps in their biographies (Edgar Allan Poe is a good one, as there are years of time that we’re not sure where exactly he was or what he was doing). It just has to be believable. You probably can’t get away with saying that Joan of Arc is actually from feudal Japan, because that doesn’t make any sense. You could probably get away with saying that Joan of Arc was a myth, or that she was intentionally faking it due to a bribe, that she was actually a spy for the Saxons, or that she was not faking it at all. Warping the already mysterious elements of a historical person is probably better than reinventing stuff that’s widely accepted about them.

    • I’ve heard of Warehouse 13 but I haven’t been able to make the time to watch it yet but it looks like I will have to!

      The historical person that will serve as the center of my protagonist’s plot arc is Mother Jones. I think she is an interesting enough person to carry the weight of the story. I also think I can mold her into a believable steampunk character that will hold readers’ attention.

      I’m also looking at including figures and groups such as the Pinkerton Agency, Samuel Gompers, Lewis Hine and possibly others an well as my on characters.

      I’m thinking I will have a lot of fun with this book as it unfolds.

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