When I first started on Conspiracy, I did a ton of research. I read all those books, I made notes, I learned as much as I could about nineteenth-century England.
I did way too much.
Not learning the history—no, that was good, and fun. But I used a too much history and didn’t skew it enough. Early parts of my book are not obviously fantasy.
Historical detail is good, but for historical fantasy, history isn’t the setting in quite the same way as it is for, say, historical fiction. Accuracy isn’t that important, unless maybe you’re going for alternate history of our world. History is the setting, but you need to think of it as the history of your world. Magic and the world you built are just as important as the history you’ve learned.
Let’s say, if a novel is soup, setting is the broth. You need to make a world-broth of your own, and season it with history. Season liberally, sure, but those seasonings aren’t they main feature of the soup. They just support the plot-meat and character-potatoes.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is this: Don’t neglect typical fantasy world-building in favor of learning historical detail.
That’s it for tonight, folks. I am one sick puppy, off to the doctor tomorrow with a nasty lingering case of bronchitis.
Very helpful post! My current novel is set in present day Philadelphia, but one of the ideas I have for the future involves the time period surrounding the Salem Witch Trials.I’ll definitely be turning to your blog for help, I can tell!
Thanks for the comment! I’m glad you found it helpful. I’ll be more coherent and detailed on future Thursdays, when I’m feeling better, I promise.