I don’t update nearly enough on how my book is progressing on the Armenians who immigrated to and settled in Troy, NY and founded the Protestant Armenian church there. I’ll do a bit of an update here, but first I want to broadcast my immense respect for writers of historical fiction. I’m aiming that at the many writers who produce new historical novels on a fairly frequent basis. Mine has taken almost 3 years so far for a first draft–and is maybe 1/3 completed. It borders on embarrassing. I say “borders on” because I’ve been learning just how challenging it is to write a story that solidly hooks a reader and both reflects and respects the history it is based on.
What triggers a story idea for a prolific and successful historical fiction writer? Do they work from real or imagined historical figures? Or create their own characters to populate a story about a point in time?
Perhaps each writer of historical fiction (I’ve read several in recent years) takes a different approach. I’d love to get inside the heads of those who have created some of my favorites. Do they spend long hours researching the time period and geographic location of their story and then build the story around that? I picture thick notebooks full of reference material. (Or loaded computer files). How do they smoothly and naturally weave that factual background into and around the lives of the characters who populate the story?
Maybe some write the story first, and then flesh it out with historical details? Do they know everything about their characters in advance, or do they let the characters help write the story and grow their own personalities as the story progresses?
I live with my story every day. The basics are all in my head and in volumes of notes. Maybe I should just get the whole story written, then go back and flesh out personalities and place with life experiences and personal challenges and life happening around them.
Comments and recommendations welcome!