All posts tagged: writing tips

So you want to write a novel? Historical or fantasy, the PROs and CONs

As I’ve stated in earlier posts, I think both the historical and fantasy novel have more in common than separates them.  Both appeal to readers who want to escape the modern world with all its safe structured uniformity, and be transported to another time or place where the actions the characters can make a difference and life can be exciting and have real meaning.  However there are obvious differences, and when I decided to write a novel I had to decide which way I wanted to go – historical or fantasy.  In both cases I chose historical, but don’t let that make you think it is my preference, as I genuinely love both genres (I WILL write a fantasy novel at some stage). This week I will go through the PROs and CONs of the Historical Novel, and I will follow this up next week with the PROs and CONs of the fantasy equivalent. Pro: Researching a subject to base your novel around can actually be fun.  If you’re like me, and you love history, …

Great periods of history to write about – STAGE 1 (Ancient to Medieval)

Okay, so you want to write a historical novel, but what period of history do you choose?  The list is endless, but here are a few options…. Featured novel: The King Must Die by Mary Renault Ancient Greece 1200BC – 300BC:  Greek gods, myths, large scale battles of Hoplites… PRO’s:  The birthplace of democracy, the Olympics, philosophy, and other ideas that shaped the modern world, give you lots of subject matter to base your novel around; whilst the mythology of Ancient Greece allows your novel to be full of gods, goddesses, and all the mysticism that goes with it.  If you prefer a little more action, don’t worry – you have the warlike Spartans, their rivalry with the Athenians, or Alexander the Great’s invasion of Persia.  Disclaimer: I couldn’t resist the last on that list, so I tried my hand at that myself in the first novel I wrote. CONS:  It can be more difficult than you think to research a historical period so far in the past.  Although there are a host of non-fictional books …

There isn’t one proscribed path….

This week I have looked at four separate novelists which have all made a great contributions to the two genres, but all have used very different writing styles.  In summary: David Gemmell – fast paced, exciting stories, interspersed with highly developed character development outside of the leading cast.  The sort of novel you can’t stop once you start. Bernard Cornwell – Gritty, realistic adventures closely matched to real events.  Strong emphasis on real history, and very clear and understandable battle scenes.  Will finish one of his books feeling you have learnt a lot, without realising how. Robin Hobb – Slower paced, but beautifully written novels, with a lot of detailed description and strong emotional journeys.  Immersion guaranteed into a rich and vibrant world, through close connection to leading characters. George McDonald Fraser – History told in the most unorthodox of styles – with a leading character as far removed from the mainstream as can be imagined.  Detailed history of the nineteenth century including some of its lesser known events; all held together by the author’s …