Listening to: Dr. House be fabulously snarky
So, I just finished reading a book that made me realize how much I respect authors of Historical Fiction.
I mean, I love and respect all genres of writing. I know it's extremely difficult to create people and places and events in your imagination and try to convey them in words that will help other people see them the way you intend. I used to want to be a fiction writer before I decided that journalism is probably a more realistic route to take.
But Historical Fiction is something else. Not only do you have to invent your own characters with their own lives and personal events, but you have to be accurate to the period. And any true events you may include. Because if you're not, people will notice. And they will not be happy.
The series that got me thinking about this is written by the incredible Jennifer Donnelly (the books: Tea Rose, Winter Rose, and Wild Rose). Without giving too much away (because these books are fabulous and intricate and wonderful and you should read them yourself without me spoiling them for you), each book follows different members of a family over the course of 40 or so years, starting in the late 1800's and ending in the 1920's.
The first book focuses on Fionna Finnegan, a young woman working at a tea factory in the 1880's in Whitechapel while Jack the Ripper roams the streets. The second follows India Selwyn Jones, an aspiring doctor, and Sid Malone, East London crime lord at the turn of the century. The third, Willa Alden, mountaineer, and Seamus Finnegan, adventurer, around the time of the first World War.
It just astounds me that anyone could incorporate real events and people into their fictional world. Sometimes it seems like it could be easy, because history has written parts of your plot for you. Other times, it's unbelievable that anyone can figure out how to incorporate a true story and one of their own invention so seamlessly you find yourself Google-ing fictional characters to see if they really did the things that the author said they did.
Mostly, I'm in awe of anyone who can write more than 20 pages about a topic and have it make sense and be enjoyable to read. That's a pretty cool talent.
Is there a certain genre of writing that you admire more than others? What do you think would be the hardest thing to write? What do you think would be the easiest? Leave your answers in the comments!