|Makes a great doorstop! Or weapon! Or gift!|
Anyway, with summer over and a proper job--thank God--to return to, I've not been doing too much structured writing. Just a few bits here and there: notes, half-scenes, snatches of dialogue etc. I have been doing some reading around the subject of my novel in progress, namely the Indian Wars of the late 19th Century in Wyoming/Montana etc. (And yes, I'm aware that calling the rampant, blood-soaked expansionism and treaty breaking of the period 'the Indian Wars' might, in some ways, be injudicious, but I use it as short hand.)
Aside from research, I've also just finished a fantastic book on the very nature of historical fiction: the very post-meta-modern-contemporary-historical 'novel' by Laurent Binet, HHhH. (Talk about short hand! The 4 h's an acronym for Himmlers hirn heisst Heydrich or 'Himmler's brain is called Heydrich') Don't let my description put you off. This book should be required reading for anyone interested in reading or writing historical fiction.
|Post-Meta-Mod-Contempo Historical fiction...and quite brilliant as well|
|Laurent Binet, author of the brilliant HHhH--if you're an historical novelist or reader of historical fiction, read it.|
On the other hand, like Binet, I am equally compelled to tell the stories that, for whatever reason, have lodged themselves in my conscious and subconscious mind. As Binet says: I don't want to drag this vision around with me all my life without having tried, at least, to give it some substance. I just hope that, however bright and blinding the veneer of fiction that covers this fabulous story, you will still be able to see through it to the historical reality that lies behind.
What I'm saying, I suppose--and perhaps I'll write more about this in another post--is that the writer must treat the subjects he has chosen, the historical personages--characters if you will--with the respect they are worthy of. Not the best sentence there, but you get my drift. Binet has been brutally honest about the doubt and the conviction; the obsession, the honesty and dishonesty that go into a work of historical fiction. The above quote could, in fact, serve as a manifesto of sorts.