Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Remember When . . . Historians Were Mindreaders?

Giveaway here - Deb Raney's Almost Forever

Giveaway of A Stray Drop of Blood - a special Mother's Day contest at Sunnybank Meandering includes my book and many other awesome prizes. Also, there's a really awesome interview and giveaway to correspond with the ACFW book club this month, by the book club coordinator Nora St. Laurent. Check it out at Finding Hope Through Fiction!

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It finally occurred to me why reading Herodotus's The Histories is so much more interesting than reading a history textbook from my high school days. It reads like a novel! I mean, modern writing rules would hate it, but seriously.

The thing that makes Herodotus fun to read is that he gets into the heads of the historical figures. He not only reports the actions, he tells you why they did them. He tells us who was jealous, who was arrogant, who was vindictive, who was earnest, who was noble. And when one's reading, one totally buys it (mostly).

But as I was writing a scene yesterday, wondering why I couldn't get past a certain part, it struck me. Herodotus, while trustworthy enough with the facts, didn't know some things any better than I do. So I have ever right to ignore him sometimes (Duh, I know--I'm writing fiction, right?).

I'd already decided to ignore the motivations he states when they don't suit me. There's a rather scandalous affair he tells us about, and the only rationale given for it is "He fell in love with her. Then he fell in love with her daughter." Um . . . that's boring. And waaaaaay too simple, given the "her" and the "daughter." So Roseanna's gonna take a few liberties. =)

Yesterday's realization actually came when I had to ignore an underlying image. He never physically describes this one person, but the way he writes him gave me an immediate image of a sniveling little monkey of a man. As I introduced this guy, though, my fingers got a mind of their own and gave him a strong physical appearance. The sniveling became respect. The cowardice he shows later will become good common sense and a touch of divine inspiration. And suddenly I could write the scene!

It was one of those odd moments, when I realized that the very thing that makes me like a book is also the thing that means I don't have to follow it to a T. Freeing, neh?

1 comment:

  1. Love those revelations. They can be so freeing!!
    Have a great writing day:)

    ReplyDelete