Please welcome back Warren Adler, the acclaimed author of The War of the Roses, a masterpiece of macabre divorce adapted into the BAFTA and Golden Globe-nominated hit film starring Danny DeVito, Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. Adler has also optioned and sold film rights for a number of his works, including Random Hearts and Private Lies. Adler’s works have been translated into more than 25 languages, including his staged version of The War of the Roses, which has opened to spectacular reviews worldwide. Adler has taught creative writing seminars at New York University and has lectured on creative writing, film and television adaptation, and electronic publishing. He currently has a number of film/TV adaptations in various stages of development with Grey Eagle Films including The Children of the Roses. His novels are now available as audiobooks through Audible. His latest historical fiction release, Mother Nile, has been received with spectacular reviews from critics and readers alike.
The Top 7 Details You Need to Think About When Writing Historical Fiction
I’ve always considered myself a history buff and have written quite a few historical fiction novels requiring exhaustive amounts of research. Creating believable historical fiction means getting facts straight and making sure that your research and imaginative input inspires the most plausible, complex plots and characters you can possibly bring to life. Here I lay out the top 7 components you need to think about when writing historical fiction.
- Research, Research, Research
Writing historical fiction can be intimidating and you might feel either overwhelmed by the amount of research that is required or constrained by the time period, in turn making your writing flat and boring. If you haven’t done enough research for your novel then it will be evident to readers – the environment you create just won’t have that pull. Doing enough research doesn’t just mean reading up on dates and public figures but delving completely into the historical period you’re writing about. My most popular historical fiction novel, Target Churchill, centers on a fictionalized Soviet conspiracy to assassinate Churchill in order to prevent him from delivering his “Iron Curtain” speech in Fulton, Mo., in 1946. I co-authored the novel with the Pulitzer-Prize nominated Churchill Biographer James C. Humes and spent months reading Winston Churchill’s memoirs, accounts of the events leading up to the Iron Curtain speech; composing his speech in the British embassy in Washington; facts about Soviet spies who had penetrated the embassy during the war; the relationship between Churchill and his lone bodyguard. Walter H. Thompson; details of the Soviet advance into Berlin; events surrounding Truman’s invitation to Churchill to speak at Westminster College in Missouri; the marvelous, true events about the famous poker game on the Presidential train en route to Missouri; and the Churchill family history at the time. It was all grist for the novelist’s mill. My research led to new characters and sub-plots. It was all so rich and intriguing that I could have spent a lifetime on the topic. That research was immensely critical in being able to paint a believable character replete with identifiable insecurities, quirks, strength and weaknesses. [Read more…]