Non-fiction historical novels...How?

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

beachbum21k

I'm tired
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 17, 2013
Messages
139
Reaction score
17
Location
Somewhere - out there
Website
www.kylejohnmorgan.com
This may not apply to pieces about personal experiences or some self help projects but I have been googling and googling about this and I thought that I'd check here.
I'm not currently writing a non-fiction but I've toyed around with the idea. I know that some people do interviews but a lot of authors use a lot of research.

I don't understand how books can present facts without providing direct sources for each fact. How do you write a book and call it your own when you get most of the information in it from other sources? I'm thinking about historical non-fiction novels like Sea-biscuit and the Devil in the White city.

Is it really just the way that the information is provided?
 

Myrealana

I aim to misbehave
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 29, 2012
Messages
5,406
Reaction score
1,868
Location
Denver, CO
Website
www.badfoodie.com
I think the basis of a non-fiction novel is that you take real historic events and people, but fictionalize their interactions, conversations, tone, etc.

Books like "In Cold Blood" take the facts of events, and without changing them, add details, possibly unknowable details, to create a narrative structure for true events.
 

dinky_dau

Cowabunga!
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 21, 2016
Messages
168
Reaction score
7
I know that some people do interviews but a lot of authors use a lot of research.

I don't understand how books can present facts without providing direct sources for each fact. How do you write a book and call it your own when you get most of the information in it from other sources?

To me, each segment or portion of the above questions--as they are phrased--represents perhaps a small misunderstanding about research and how research works. I assure you there are iron-clad rules about citation and the process of 'deriving' one work from another. If you clarify your question I'm sure we can satisfy you?
 

cornflake

practical experience, FTW
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 11, 2012
Messages
16,171
Reaction score
3,731
This may not apply to pieces about personal experiences or some self help projects but I have been googling and googling about this and I thought that I'd check here.
I'm not currently writing a non-fiction but I've toyed around with the idea. I know that some people do interviews but a lot of authors use a lot of research.

I don't understand how books can present facts without providing direct sources for each fact. How do you write a book and call it your own when you get most of the information in it from other sources? I'm thinking about historical non-fiction novels like Sea-biscuit and the Devil in the White city.

Is it really just the way that the information is provided?


I think part of the issue may be with how you're thinking of it, which is reflected in the title. There's no such thing as a non-fiction historical novel. It's either non-fiction or a novel.

A historical novel is not required to have all its facts correct, or cited -- it's a novel. A work of non fiction is.
 

AW Admin

Herder of Hamsters
Staff member
Administrator
Super Moderator
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 19, 2008
Messages
18,704
Reaction score
6,074
Location
On the Server
I think part of the issue may be with how you're thinking of it, which is reflected in the title. There's no such thing as a non-fiction historical novel. It's either non-fiction or a novel.

A historical novel is not required to have all its facts correct, or cited -- it's a novel. A work of non fiction is.

Yep. This.
 

veinglory

volitare nequeo
Self-Ban
Registered
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
28,750
Reaction score
2,925
Location
right here
Website
www.veinglory.com
As soon as you start to describe actual scenes you depart from known historical fact, even if you are trying to recreate it as much as possible. So a novel trying to stick as close to the truth as possible, is still a novel.
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away