Earlier this year I put up a similar post titled Why I Write Historical Fiction. One of the many things I didn’t know when I started my writing journey is how many genres there truly are. There’s your “umbrella” genres, where you strictly write “history” or “fantasy” or “mystery.” But then there’s all the subcategories underneath like “alternative history,” “crossover fantasy,” steampunk and more.
With all that in mind, how in the world is a writer to supposed to choose from all those options? Is what your writing something completely new or is it a tried and true combination? After a direct message conversation with another writer one night on Twitter, I realized that my realm is historical adventure, not just historical fiction. So I decided that it was time for an updated version of the aforementioned post. While many points in the original are still valid, here are three more for the adventure side of things.
1. I’m not tied down to a timeline.
While THE FIREDAMP CHRONICLES isn’t a true “it could’ve happened” tale, I like being able to play with history a little. It was inspired by true events, whether it was something I stumbled upon in my life or through actual research sessions that took up much of my time in 2017. Overall, the story begins in 1872 and ends in 1892 with a pretty significant event in South Western Pennsylvanian history.
2. “But Leigh, aren’t you taking the easy way out? Why not just go the pure historical route?”
Unless you’re a true historian, with access to very specific information about your chosen individuals or events, it’s very difficult to go that route first. Trust me, I tried. I don’t know how I could’ve brought justice to my topics that someone else hasn’t already done. With THE FIREDAMP CHRONICLES, the research came first. I tried to be a complete “pantser” and just write, but how am I to include details about a real life person I’m basing a character on if I don’t know how accurate they are?
There’s nothing easy about writing, no matter your what your genre is.
3. To encourage people to learn more history.
History is its own backstory. There are dozens of “backstories” behind real events in history. Some of them have amazing, unexpected connections and more obvious ones. If you’re a Pittsburgher, you’re keenly aware of names like Carnegie, Frick and Phipps. (This ties in with the previous point, I promise). My point is, every region or city has notable individuals who shaped the area’s identity. I’m quite drawn to the “what if” side of history, and writing historical adventure rather than true historical route provides that outlet.
No matter what genre you choose to write, there’ll always be those who will question it. Once you discover WHAT you want to write, write it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Write it, master it, and maybe, one day, try something new! I have a list of projects within different genres that I want to try, but for now, historical adventures it is!
Happy Friday, Happy Writing!