What I Like in My Fiction
When not writing, I love to read crime fiction, history (fiction and otherwise!), fantasy (naturally) and non-fiction such as the Ben Macintyre books. (Particularly enjoyed Operation Mincemeat, which gave the true story behind The Man Who Never Was).
The problem with history, of course, is we all know it is written by the winners, something Richard III would have good cause to complain about if in a position to do so! (Don’t you just know the story would be very different indeed if he’d won Bosworth!). What always annoys me with his story is the historian John Rous given he praised Richard to the heights during Richard’s reign and then condemned him during Henry Tudor’s time on the throne. The very definition of hypocrisy I feel!
So how DO you write about history using fiction to do so? My interview on Chandler’s Ford Today on Friday will be with Gill James and we talk about her historical work, The House on Schellberg Street.
We discuss, amongst other things, why write historical fiction when “real” history is full of stories anyway. Gill gives some wonderful insights into writing historical fiction.
The interview will be in two parts and I hope it will show what historical fiction can achieve. It can fill the gaps where facts do not exist for one thing. It shows what could’ve happened and leaves you to think about it (which is why I love The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey).
Capturing Moments in Time
If a short story captures a moment in time, then I think it is fair to say that a flash fiction piece captures half of that. Sometimes you don’t need to see the whole moment to gauge what a character is like or how the incident in the flash fiction piece would unfold if the writer expanded the tale out to the more usual length of a story. A glimpse can be more than enough to tell you what you need to know!
Flash fiction is a good vehicle for quirky stories that perhaps do not have the most obvious home to go to. Less really is more at times. For me, the best stories (of whatever length) are on the understated side. You feel the characters’ pain, anxieties etc. They are not forced on you. You as the reader are left to work things out. I love doing this myself. It can be great fun reading on to see if you guessed correctly.