Basically, historical fiction is hard, because we’re all walking a fine line between enough accuracy to make the story believable and enough artistic license to make the story interesting, and so much accuracy it’s boring, or so much artistic license it’s just plain ridiculous.
So you are indeed a brave soul. I take my hat off to you!
Really, it depends on what you’re writing, but in general I’d say go for the details and the feel of the era rather than the exact truth of who/what was real and who/what was not. For example, having a colour TV way before it was invented would be a much bigger problem than, say, making up a school that didn’t really exist. Do you see?
I totally wouldn’t stress out over this, honestly. There aren’t many historical novels that are even 80% accurate (unless they’ve been written by Phillipa Gregory or Hilary Mantel or someone like that). Just don’t do a Dan Brown and make everything up, okay?!
Here’s some cool resources I’ve managed to find for ya:
- The Lying Art of Historical Fiction(article by the Guardian, so it’s pretty good)
- Research and Accuracy in Historical Fiction
- Writing Historical Fiction: a Beginner’s Guide
- Write Aide: Historical Accuracy in Historical Fiction
- Historical Accuracy in Historical Fiction (discussion thread)
- Ahistorical Historical Fiction
- What do Authors of Historical Fiction Owe to History? (this is actually a really great article, you should take a look)
- Debates about Historical Fiction
I hope this is helpful! Good luck =]
[Rebloggable by request.]