Thursday, October 14, 2010

Christian Historical Fiction

Part II in The Big Four Genres:

Christian Historical Fiction

Historical fiction, one of the most popular Christian fiction genres, tells stories set in the past. The dividing line used by many publishers as 1950; anything later is considered contemporary fiction.

Almost any historical time is fair game, but certain eras seem to intrigue readers-and editors -- in the United States: Civil War, post -- Civil War, Ragtime era(1895 to 1900), the Great Depression, and World War II. In Great Britain: Tudor( 1495 -- 1603) and Elizabethan (1558-1603), Regency
( 1811 -- 1820), Victorian( 1837 -- 1901), and 18th century Scotland.

Some historical novels include actual historical events in making famous people of the day cameo roles in the story. Others tell a story divorced from actual history; the historical times and places serve as stage sets that enable purely fictional characters to interact with each other. In either case, readers take a trip through time and enjoy the opportunity to experience a vivid sense of life in a different era. Depending on the publisher the length of Christian historical's ranges from 75,000 to more than 100,000 words.

Many first-time authors who set out to write Christian historical novels discover a more challenging task than they expected. Getting the details of history right demands extensive research to learn what historical figures wore, what they ate, how they dressed, how they talked, how they lived, how they thought, and how they prayed -- there's no end in sight to the myriad of information a successful historical may demand.

Planning an historical novel can also be a thorny task. You must find a compelling way to "retell" historical events that are significant, but may lack the dramatic tension of a good storyline. You must create subplots that fit into the chronology of events that history gives you. You must present real people of the day accurately and realistically. And you must invent fictional characters who are credible participants in a significant historical event.

I hope you enjoyed reading part two of the big four genres. Once again I must give credit to Ron Benrey and his book "The Idiot's Guide to Writing Christian Fiction." Stay tuned for part three:
Christian Romance.


1 comment:

  1. I love "The Idiot's Guide" and use it as a reference. I write historical fiction and I have had to determine what the balance of history and fiction will be. I ended up with only a moderate amount of historical detail. We will see if that is enough when an editor asks for a full MS. I sure had fun writing them.