We use cookies to track usage and preferences. See Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
IT
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the Italy version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions >  Latest Articles > Truth or dare

Truth or dare
Writing Magazine

Truth or dare

Posted venerdì 18 marzo 2016   |   2828 views   |   General Interest   |   Comments (0) Making things up is a novelist’s job, but writers of historical fiction need to make it credible for their readers, says Margaret James

Did it really happen?
As a historical novelist, I’ve been asked that question several times, and quite often the answer is no: I made a lot of it up.

A novelist is supposed to tell the truth about the human condition. But, when it comes to telling the truth about historical events, should the author be under oath? I’d say it depends on what kind of historical novel the author wants to write. I’d add that provided you can make your reader believe while this reader is actually reading, and if you can make everything sound authentic, and if you don’t disgust your reader by letting this reader assume you got something wrong because you were just plain ignorant, you can say anything you like.

You can stretch the truth as much as you dare, or even make absolutely everything up. There are plenty of historical novels that offer an alternative take on what actually took place. Robert Harris’s Archangel. Len Deighton’s SS-GB and C J Sansom’s Dominion are great examples of authors writing about what might have happened, but didn’t.

What if Elizabeth I had been secretly married and had also given birth to a son whose descendants are the rightful heirs to the British throne? What if the Jacobite rebellions of the 18th century had been successful? Who is going to write those stories, if they haven’t been written already?

For more great articles like this get the April 2016 issue of Writing Magazine below or subscribe and save.

Single Issue - May 2018 Replica & Mobile Edition included
€5,49
Or 549 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only € 3,67 per issue
SAVE
33%
€43,99
Or 4399 points
6 Month Digital Subscription
Only € 4,00 per issue
SAVE
27%
€23,99
Or 2399 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only € 4,49 per issue
SAVE
18%
€4,49
Or 449 points

View Issues

About Writing Magazine

Writing Magazine is the UK’s biggest and bestselling magazine for ALL writers. Whether you write for pleasure or publication, whatever your style or genre, this magazine has something to help you.

More great content like this...

For more great articles like this subscribe to Writing Magazine today.

Most read articles this month


Christmas Gifts for Her

Christmas Gifts for Her

Stuck for gift ideas for the lovely lady in your life? The Pocketmags team have pooled all their best ideas for gifts for her this Christmas. Get ready to earn some serious brownie points! More...
Christmas Gifts for Him

Christmas Gifts for Him

Why are men so hard to buy for?! If you're looking for gift ideas for the deserving gent in your life, look no further; the Pocketmags team have found some amazing gifts for him this Christmas. Boring socks begone! More...
WHEN THE MUSE GOES MISSING!

WHEN THE MUSE GOES MISSING!

Nashville songwriter Mark Cawley shares some tactics for reviving those elusive creative juices when you’ve lost the flow More...
3 Free Reads for the New Year

3 Free Reads for the New Year

Spend all your money in December? Us too. We’ve pulled together our 3 favourite free reads available for you on Pocketmags. Everyone loves a free read! More...
How I got  published

How I got published

The author’s debut was actually her sixth novel, she tells Dolores Gordon-Smith More...
Christmas Gifts for Kids

Christmas Gifts for Kids

Treat the smallest (and loudest) members of the family to something fun this festive season! We've rounded up our favourite gifts for kids to help you (oops, we mean Santa) out - just call us the Pocketmags elves! More...
News from the world of the piano

News from the world of the piano

Argerich and Babayan in Cleveland More...
Christmas Gifts for Everyone

Christmas Gifts for Everyone

Here at Pocketmags we're all about going digital, but we know our relatives might not always feel the same. Why not treat someone special to a print subscription from our sister site magazine.co.uk? Buy 3 Christmas gift subscriptions and you'll get £15 off at checkout. That's Christmas sorted! Here are our favourites to pick up and flick through all year round... More...
Christmas Gifts for Geeks

Christmas Gifts for Geeks

Don't get pwned this Christmas - we've got a list of the greatest gifts around for the geekiest member of your household. Prepare to beat Santa at his own game - these beauties are just what they're looking for under the tree... More...
3 Fitness Trends You Haven’t Tried

3 Fitness Trends You Haven’t Tried

We’ve all heard of the crazy exercises people are trying - from animal yoga to orange theory. But if one of your New Year's resolutions is to get fit and find some sort of exercise you’ll enjoy then maybe you will love one of these… More...
Vouchers Carte Regalo Un abbonamento rivista è il regalo perfetto , ma avrete bisogno di qualcosa da mostrare il grande giorno. Altro
Modalità di pagamento Pocketmags Payment Types
A Pocketmags si ottiene Fatturazione sicura Ultime offerte HTML Reader Regali Loyalty Points