The Unsavory Side of Authenticity | DIY MFA Blog | Pamela Taylor

I recall being struck by a comment Bernard Cornwell made in an online interview. I’ll have to paraphrase because I can’t find the video at the moment. He defined historical fiction as “the small story told against the backdrop of the large story.” It’s a very helpful way to think about strategies for dealing with elements of the past that don’t pass muster in today’s world.

Not every historical novel has to be an epic saga or have well-known historical characters on stage. More intimate stories are just as compelling if they draw us deeply into the life experiences of the characters. Think of photographs taken with a zoom lens. The subject of the photo is in focus and crystal clear. But the background is blurred—it’s still there, but in far less detail.

The Unsavory Side of Authenticity | DIY MFA Blog | Pamela Taylor

Click through for an outstanding look at making your historical fiction feel authentic while dealing with the very real unpleasantness that went on.

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