34

There is no problem at all with writing morally ambiguous characters, and it's surprisingly easy for readers to sympathise with them. Let us look at some examples: First, a modern example: A Song of Ice and Fire by G.R.R. Martin. There was a character in the first book of the series, who had all those honourable values, in particular he was averse to lying, ...


18

I think it's mostly a modern delusion that ethics today are dramatically different than they were in the past. Yes, ancient Persia routinely tortured political prisoners. So do modern China and North Korea and many Arab countries. Modern Americans pride themselves on equal rights for women. Yet the US has never had a female president, while many ancient ...


17

Creative non-fiction recounts factually-accurate narratives in a literary style. It reads like a story, but it is in fact real history. It will be severely criticised for containing factual inaccuracies, let alone fictional main characters. (wiki) Historical fiction, on the other hand, is fiction, set in some specific period in the past. The period and its ...


16

For an instructive comparison, look at Stephen King's description of the 1950s in his book 11/22/63, about a man who goes back from modern times to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination, but has to enter the era in 1958 and wait five years. King goes to great pains to describe differences between the present times and that era: it's about the way a root ...


11

It's not "history" but rather "geography" that determines whether you should use kilometers or miles. If your characters are German or Russian, use kilometers, because that's what they use, even today. (Depending on the time, e.g. Tolstoy in the 19th century, a Russian might use "versts", which are just a bit more than a kilometer.) On the other hand, if ...


11

Since concern is not adding fifties-relevant details (which can be found by research) but rather omitting things that you take for granted and don't notice, but that wouldn't have been present in the 50's: Find two or three people who are old enough to remember the fifties, and have them proof-read your draft. Ask them to point out anything that feels ...


10

Make the even the people you are blaming, likeable. People are doing bad things out of good reasons and good things out of bad reasons. And even if they do bad things out of bad reasons, the reasons might not be bad because they are bad people. They might have been misinformed. They might have been tricked. They might have been stupid. They might have ...


10

Personally, I wouldn’t have a problem with your proposal. Your description is of a fictional work, set in a real, historical setting: not a biography of a historical figure. And it seems you have a sound reason to include her: she could function as an opponent to the royal family’s views and morals – a “voice of the common people” in the palace. However, I ...


10

The first thing to remember is that realism is just a style. If historical accuracy is hurting your story, let it go. Even historical fiction isn't "history." In particular, it can be enough to hint at alien value systems without wallowing in them --enough to give the flavor of the times, but not enough to make the whole thing distasteful. To be blunt, ...


9

General Observations As others have observed, preserving the illusion is not so much a matter of inserting expressions and details as keeping jarring anachronistic expressions and details out. It is important not to use words and expression which were invented later or were so little known in the 1950's that your readers would think they were invented ...


8

Do you have photo permissions from every person in every picture? If you don't, your question is irrelevant. You can't just publish pictures of other people without their permission. Nude pictures are particularly sensitive.


8

It's most likely because the people who really care about historical value are reading non fiction primary, or secondary sources. By their nature novels are works of fiction making them less valuable as a source of historical fact than a similarly researched non fiction work. While it'd be possible to fill a novel with footnotes citing sources that isn't ...


7

This answer is written on the assumption that you are looking for medieval or Middle English (11th to 15th century) examples of what is often referred to as 'breaking the fourth wall'. Breaking the fourth wall is when the narrator, author, or even a character within a work, address the reader of the story directly. For example: Roy, the hero of this tale, ...


6

If you're looking at this from the perspective of a set of characters talking to each other, it would depend on their background. If their country used metric, then they would have metric as their instinct. If you want them to 'convert' because of the presence of an American character, for example, you can do what we Canadians sometimes end up doing which is ...


6

That's called a lead-in. The general idea is to use special formatting (e.g. all caps, small caps, italics) to gently guide the reader to recognize where the text begins (or resumes after a break). If sections are marked with headers, guidance like that isn't strictly necessary. In those cases, the use of lead-ins is a style choice. And, yes, that kind of ...


6

Given that this is for a game and not for an original story or novel, I would pick a specific author from that actual time period --one with the feel I was looking for --and try to immerse myself in his or her work. I find whenever I do that, I unconsciously (and fortunately temporarily) pick up speech patterns and phrases, whether I want to or not. That's ...


6

If you really want to make something feel right for the era, you need to also capture the real morality and values of the era. It's fatal to feel of the era, especially if your test is for people who lived in the era, to depict characters from historical eras somehow magically have the ethical and moral sensibilities of present. My grandmother is 103 years ...


6

The short answer is yes, you can include this type of material. But it really depends on your audience and the scope of the book. You may not want to do it. If you're writing a very fact-based formal history, it would be odd to suddenly jump to an anecdote about eating fruit salad while flying. If you interview people to include their personal stories (...


6

It's Historical Fiction. Off the top of my head . . . it keeps company with Shakespeare in Love, Titanic, Murder in the First, The Other Boleyn Girl, and a host of others. I must give a shout out to "Krakatoa, East of Java" - who cares about accuracy!


5

Your reader's intuition about the word "backpack" seems right on; that word appears to have skyrocketed in popularity after the 1960s: You can use ngrams and a thesaurus to identify words that didn't seem popular, or to verify which of several words were more popular during a certain period. Note, however, that ngrams is difficult to interpret at times, ...


5

I would use the original phrase once, alongside its translation, for the introduction of the concept, and then use the translated version for the rest of the script. "Los Americanos Olvidados" by itself won't mean anything to an exclusively English-speaking audience, while "The Forgotten Americans" conveys the actual sentiment in a way ...


4

Not to counter what has already been said by others, but the is a great difference between the letter of the law and the reality of its practice. A 14-yo can live alone in the United States. All it takes is a negligent guardian who enjoys collecting benefit checks, but doesn't follow through with any of their custodial duties to the child. Furthermore, a ...


4

You first described it as "set in the late 1920s", and then later said you were "writing pseudo-historically in an alternate universe". I'm not bringing this up to nit-pick your question but, rather, to point out that these are two different things. There is historical fiction, where authors try to remain accurate, and there is alternate history, where ...


4

In addition to the answer by Mela Eckenfels: Do not lay blame unless it is actually warranted. The following is not something you can generally write in a book that gets published. It comes pretty close to moral relativism and that makes some people deeply uncomfortable. It is however something that anyone writing historical fiction should understand. What ...


4

When I want to describe a location, I use the following techniques: Browse Google images for pictures of the location to get initial inspiration and a feel. I find pictures of these places often have details I hadn't thought of. I recently described a prison cell myself and the pictures showed me rats and a bucket under the sleeping bench, when I had been ...


4

This type of formatting is the precursor to modern day click bait from titles such as Buzzfeed. Through highlight using a line and sinker, it leads the reader in to read further. This is not very relevant in writing unless you are directly targeting an audience.


4

Are you writing a hard science work? What I mean is, how in-depth do you plan on getting with the details? If the answer is "not very" you can learn a lot by just reading the wikipedia article for whatever weapon/vehicle you need. Maybe watch a few youtube videos on the subject. For instance, for 19th and 20th century firearms, Forgotten Weapons is ...


4

Society today is simply much more adept at covering up our moral deficits. Slavery is not just defined by the word. Tens of millions of people today are trapped as indentured labourers and sex workers. Human trafficking is still a thing. Even forced marriages in many parts of the world count as a form of slavery. As for public executions, beatings, and the ...


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