Avoiding amateur writing mistakes (Hist-fic edition)

Errors like those listed in this article yank me right out of the story. As an author of historical fiction, I work hard to avoid making these mistakes myself. I appreciate this blogger’s list more than I can say.

Welcome to My Magick Theatre

These are some of the things I’ve either been guilty of myself or seen in other historical books or films. Speaking from my own experience, these are honest mistakes pretty much everyone goes through. Some can also be applied to other genres.

1. Packing in everything but the kitchen sink syndrome. Prime examples are the TV miniseries The ’60s and The ’70s, which forced in every single major news story, social movement, political event, piece of pop culture, etc., of those decades. What are the odds every single person in one family or group of friends would be involved with every single thing that happened in a decade?

2. Not enough historical detail. So many of my earliest drafts had almost zero connection to their respective eras. This is the opposite extreme from gut-loading your story with every single thing that ever happened in that decade.

3. Clichés. E.g…

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One thought on “Avoiding amateur writing mistakes (Hist-fic edition)

  1. Carrie Anne’s list is a good one, Sharon.

    You want to make a middle path between one and two. Tend on the side of the reader learning or imagining.

    In fact – take the reader’s side generally.


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