Looking for inspiration in some back copies of E-Zee Writer, I came across a great article by Esther Newton called ‘Plan B.’ It’s all about what to do if your dream of becoming the next Ian Fleming or Toni Morrison doesn’t pan out. Obviously, with my history of not finishing fantasy trilogies, it got me thinking, eventually wishing I could go back and have a quiet word with the writer I used to be in the mid-nineties, when the first words of my magnum opus were committed to floppy disc (remember them?) Read the rest of this entry »
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I often think that writing a novel is like the tip of an iceberg. What actually emerges is a small percentage of the unseen effort beneath.
Your characters have to have a thought-out backstory, even if you don’t include it all. They usually have a before and an after, a life outside the novel. Similarly, the characters are the product of their environment. It would be difficult to write a story without imagining the landscape, culture and society of the setting where the action takes place.
Recreating the spirit of the age
The iceberg simile applies to historical novels above all. To conjure up the spirit of the age, the author needs to know its history. Historical novelists such as Philippa Gregory and Hilary Mantel have written very credible novels set in the medieval and Tudor periods in England. They had to immerse themselves in the past.
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