Fact or fiction?

Well, it’s Sunday afternoon and some filtered sunshine is making it through a thin cloud cover. Every once in a while a break in the cloud cover teases as the sun pours in through the large picture windows of my home. We went out earlier for a six kilometre walk even though the wind blowing between 30 and 40 kilometres per hour. We live on the prairies and wind is an almost perpetual condition of existence. You either go crazy or you get tougher. As usual, our walk meant that we were socially distant from the rest of the world. We didn’t even meet one passing half ton truck during our walk. The closest person outdoors was literally kilometres away.

Back home, I returned to an old writing project that I had begun two and a half years ago. It is historical fiction and it required a lot of research to write the first draft, and even more research since then. The last bit of research was done in northwestern Europe last autumn. Having allowed all of this to sit below the surface, something inside began to stir within me. A new beginning has been started with a thousand words already appearing. These words tell me that many more are yet to be written before I get to blend the old words with these words. If anything, what will emerge will be better for it, be a story that could well be a true story.

As a writer, I know that much that we define as fiction, is anything but. The moods, the emotions, the actions, the personalities, the conflicts, the joys and sorrows are all spoken from what is experienced, not imagined. Characters appear that are modeled on people in the author’s life, both consciously crafted and unconsciously mirroring these know others, and the known self. The better the author’s skill, the more likely a reader will see these characters as representative of real people rather than as caricatures. The more realistic and reality-based the characters are, the easier it is for a reader to identify with the characters or ascribe them to people in the reader’s life.

I am writing a fictional historical novel, that is a fact. I can’t point to a certifiable paper trail for each or any character that would enable the story to be classified as non-fiction. Doing the research is critical to creating a realistic context and setting for realistic characters.  Is there nudity? There is always nudity where there are humans. Again, context and culture will be important. The one thing I can’t do, is to ignore the reality of the historical world.

It’s time for a cup of tea before I return to the book-in-progress. Have an enjoyable Sunday.