Writing Historical Biographies
For a complete guide to writing Historical Biographies, read our article on Literary forms, Characters, Plot, and Research. Then, go on to read some examples of Historical Biographies to gain some inspiration. You can even share your own work! Just be sure to credit your sources! And don't forget to give a brief description of your book! The more information you provide, the more interesting it will be!
There are many different literary forms in historical biographies, but there are some common characteristics of each. Most literary works fall into one of two categories: fiction and non-fiction. However, these classifications are often arbitrary. Likewise, ancient texts were not generally understood by the modern world. That's why historical biographies often fall into either category. Listed below are some of the common literary forms found in historical biographies.
Biographical historical fiction: A fictionalized account of a real person's life. Colm Toibin's The Master follows the life of Henry James throughout Europe. This literary form can also describe specific events or people, like the Middle Passage, which details the horrors of the slave trade. Epics and Historical Series also use these forms in biographies, but focus on different eras and settings.
Nonfiction: Biography can be written in several different styles. A memoir-like style is the most common, and requires strict historical references. The memoir style requires an author to interpret sources and determine a narrator's perspective. Unlike nonfiction, a memoir-style biography emphasizes the reader's control over the facts. A short essay can convey a personal narrative, but can also reflect a point of view.
Literary forms: The different literary forms found in historical biographies can be categorized in two ways. One type is popular, written for a general audience, and the other is critical, examining the relationship between the subject's life and work. An example of a popular biography is Unpresidented: A Biography of Donald Trump by Martha Brockenbrough. And, in the case of a historical biographical work, there are autobiography and memoir.
The nature of biographical fiction and historical biographies are radically different, and both can be compelling reads. While biographical fiction can be entertaining and reshape the minds of readers, it must have a skeleton of reality - historical events accompanied by real-life characters. Consequently, a biographical novel cannot have a happy ending. The author must be able to explore the character's motivations and emotions and convey their complex motivations.
A key historical element of historical biographies is the family. There were various social and religious values, and boys were expected to leave school at a young age to help support their families. Women, on the other hand, were often viewed as dangerous and unattractive. As a result, education was often closely linked with religion, with some advocates calling for public education. Another historical factor is sexuality, which has been the subject of books and has a profound impact on character behaviour.
A significant element of historical fiction is the setting. The setting, in this case, is a real place or time. The setting is an important part of the story, and the characters are real people. Usually, they have a problem to solve, or an event that seems puzzling and unreal. Historical fiction novels must include authentic themes and depict a time period's values and ideas. Some historical fiction novels may also explore specific issues in greater depth.
The characters in historical fiction and biographies must act in accordance with the times and place they're set in. If you're writing a novel, a slave in a civil war-era setting would act very differently from a Confederate soldier. Therefore, when writing a historical novel, it's essential to consider seven factors. When writing historical fiction or a historical biography, the reader must be placed in the period almost immediately. As the story unfolds, the reader will transcend into the time and place.
Before writing a historical biography, the author must understand the region in which the person lived. This allows the historian to re-create the person's surroundings and place him or her on the stage of history. By gathering personal details, the historian should be able to determine the strata of society in which the person lived and what role they played. This is a crucial step in writing a biography. But it takes time and dedication to produce a well-written work.
Before writing a historical biography, a writer must understand how the source material can influence the content of the biography. Biographers must examine historical works to develop their characters. While most modern works contain bibliographies and reference notes, historical biographers must watch for generic mentions of sources. A worklist of additional sources should be compiled in order to generate new information and understanding about the person-of-interest. A useful research tool is E's QuickSheet series, which contains numerous ideas for biographies.
While the author's intention may be to make the biography accessible to a wider audience, there are several important issues to consider when writing a biography. Biographers should be cautious not to overstate their historical credentials and make their work sound academic. A good biography will engage the reader without sacrificing the analytical bite. If the author is unsure about how to write a biography, the author can consult an academic. By doing so, the historian can ensure that the biography reaches a wide audience while retaining a professional edge.
In addition to the New York Times, another good resource is the Oxford Companion to US history. It has many advantages, including full text search, and a comprehensive index by birth/death dates, occupations, and more. The entries are also organized in five special collections, including Black History, Asian Pacific-American Heritage, and realms of renown. In addition to this, the online version also includes the contents of the Oxford Companion to US history encyclopedia.
In writing a historical novel, the theme and time period are important to consider. The plot will follow the historical events and be consistent with the theme of the book. Readers will expect the novel to be authentic and not distort the facts. However, if the story is too far removed from reality, the plot might not be as engaging as it might be if it was written today. Whether the plot is a historical fantasy, a fact-based story, or a work of historical fiction, the writer should take care to follow the period's social conventions and standards.
While biographical historical fiction focuses on telling the story of a real person, historical fiction pays close attention to accuracy. Although most dialogue is fictional, the author must ensure that the story accurately represents the historical events that occurred. For example, The Night Watchman (Louise Erdrich, 2004) depicts the brutality of the slave trade on the Chippewa reservation in 1953. A plotted novel can also be more complex than a simple account of the life of a famous historical figure.
The first popular historical fiction novel was Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe (1819). Set in England near the end of the Crusades, Ivanhoe follows a man who is disinherited for falling in love with the wrong woman. In the end, he must choose between his love for the wrong woman and his family's survival. While this might seem like a seemingly impossible task, the author has done his research and created a masterpiece.
While there is no right or wrong way to write historical fiction, the publishing industry is guilty of snobbery. When no other term exists, the author uses the historical period to develop the story, which can come across as denigrating. Many historical novels are not truly historical but are set in history. This does not necessarily mean they are bad, however. The point of the book is that the reader will be able to relate to the characters and events described in the novel.
When you write historical fiction, the time period you choose should be specific. For example, the 20th century and the 1990s are radically different times. While most readers will accept a certain amount of artistic license, you must make sure not to include anything that might be interpreted as factual. Instead, you should choose a decade, or a specific region of a specific time period. This will allow you to focus on a particular segment of history rather than an entire era.
While historical fiction may be a more speculative genre, a setting is a vital element. It should be alive and well, and it should reflect the social and historical atmosphere of the subject. As the old saying goes, history repeats itself in broad terms. However, an author may want to focus on something that was unique during a particular time period. By focusing on this aspect, readers will feel as if they are truly immersed in the story.
Once you have chosen a time period, you need to research it. There are many sources to explore, and if you want to write historical fiction, you need to pay attention to details. A historical fiction setting is a rich source of ideas. For example, a historical fiction novel set in London during the Great Fire of 1666 would benefit from including the great fire that swept the city. And when you write about a famous historical figure, you need to take the time to research the details of the person's life.
Despite the complexities of writing a historical fiction story, it is a great way to gain inspiration for a new story. A historical fiction story is usually set in a time period that is significant to the plot. Unlike historical nonfiction, historical fiction books feature fictional characters as well as real historical figures. The author also pays close attention to details and a careful balance between creativity and research to create a compelling story.