writing

The Danger of Historical Fiction (and Your Weekly Smashwords Coupon)

Swordsmaster is fantasy, NOT historical fiction. Boy, am I grateful for that! Sure, I still need to do tons of research so I get my reality anchors set (when you create a world, some of it needs to be like we’re used to, so that it will be easier for the reader to accept the fantastical parts.) I need to have trade, weaponry, agriculture, and cultural details that make sense from somewhere around the middle ages. If I don’t do that, then the magic I layer on top of it is a little more believable.

The REALITY I’ll try to simulate is in no way intended to be taken as what life was REALLY like in those times, but I have a feeling there will be some readers who will treat it as though it’s a bit of a history lesson. Education in America is not coming from schools so much; more and more; it is coming from our entertainment. Games, movies, television, music, books – this is the way the masses seem to get their details about many things.

How many of you know that Sarah Palin didn’t say “I can see Russia from my house!” That was Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live two days after Sarah Palin answered a question in an interview by saying “They’re our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.” Do they really sound like the same thing?

I was listening to an author on NPR talking about a book he wrote about the tail end of the Reagan presidency, in which he has a host of characters in this HISTORICAL FICTION say things that there is no evidence they ever said, but, based on what we know, it makes sense that they MIGHT have said them.

Tell me – if you have a conversation with your spouse, and later you can’t remember exactly what they said, do you think it’s a good idea to make up what they said from what you know of them, or talk with them again?

When The Da Vinci Code hit popular culture, there were people who thought that everything in the book was true; yes, they were on the fringe of reality themselves, but there were many more who absorbed some of what was in the book almost as though it was a primer on Catholicism or the life of Jesus. Sure, it was fiction, but it was bolstered with HISTORY, which means some of it MUST be true, right?

That’s like relying on one of the checkout line tabloids for your facts. There is SOME truth in there, but it’s just there to make the rest seem credible (instead of INcredible.)

The internet is a wonderful thing; you can find out about anything you want with the touch of a button (after you enter your search terms, of course.) Just think of the power that gives you! Well, remember, with great power comes great responsibility. Figuring out what’s fact and what’s fiction out there on the web can be challenging, but it’s something you need to do if you want to live (and succeed) in the REAL world, if you want to be TRULY educated.

Even the NEWS is no longer just the facts (if it ever was); now there is so much opinion and tailoring the news to fit the desired NARRATIVE out there, it’s hard to know what the real story is. And the fact that the news is also dumbed down to include cute stories and fluff pieces (to keep the attention of what they must realize is the poorly educated public) means that even where people should be able to get the facts is lacking (what serious, possibly crucial piece of news did they choose to leave out so you could see that a cute panda was born?)

Think Responsibly.

Just saying…

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My featured work this week is “Gladius” (more alien abductions and a minotaur who may not be as bull-headed as he appears) – here’s the link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/556125?ref=NoTimeToThink

Use coupon code MG28J to save 67% off the list price at check out on Smashwords (that’s right – only 99-cents!) The coupon is good through October 5th. Enjoy!

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