Historical Fiction ~ Truth and Lies

I'm watching Bill O'Reily's Legends and Lies: The Real West.

As a writer, I write my historicals with the truth in mind, but at times, I give a nod to the readers of today.

Though we write about days gone by, readers live in the now and future.

I do research significant facts, when railroads came to a territory, what people of the day might wear and eat. Did a certain city exist at that time.

Then there are words that are common now, but not a hundred and fifty years ago. 

Once I tried to write that my character was taking a NOSEDIVE off her horse.  I got to thinking and checked the etymology (not to be confused with entymology - study of insects : ) of the word, and sure enough - nosedive came about after airplanes were, well, crashing. So I scrapped that word.

Another occasion, one of my good writing friends and mentors, Lena Nelson Dooley, was writing a chapter and her character was using a receipt while cooking. Seems back in the day, women didn't use recipes to cook. It was called a receipt.  I chose to use recipe because I thought my readers might think I misspelled recipe and my computer decided to make it recipe. : )

So the next time you pick up a historical novel, notice the care the author used in researching the story and give them a thank you. 

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