If you write historical fiction, the chances are excellent that you also like to read it. I’m sure many of you will agree that losing yourself in a nice thick historical novel is a fantastic way to spend a day. But reading historical fiction can serve another purpose besides entertainment. In fact, you might even be able to consider it a form of research.
The next time you read a historical novel, ponder these two important questions: What do you love, love, love about this book? What do you hate? You can highlight passages you feel strongly about, make notes to yourself in the margins, or just think about the answers. Doing this can help you to figure out what to do – or not do – when writing your own novel.
If you’re frustrated with the way an author uses dialogue to create an “info dump” of historical facts, your readers are probably not going to appreciate it if you do the same thing. On the other hand, if you love the way an author uses specific details to create a believable setting, it’s time to see where you can add a little more detail in your own work.
What books do you really love (or hate)? What have you learned from them to be used in your own writing?
Melissa L. is the YA Editorial Assistant for Wonders and Marvels. You can read more about her here: Editorial Staff.