Painting the Past

A Guide for Writing Historical Fiction

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Pub Date 16 Feb 2021 | Archive Date 15 Aug 2021


Do you want to write historical fiction? 

Join Meredith Allard, the executive editor of The Copperfield Review, the award-winning literary journal for readers and writers of historical fiction, as she shares tips and tricks for creating believable historical worlds through targeted research and a vivid imagination. 

Give in to your daydreams. Do the work. Let your creativity loose into the world so you can share your love of history and your passion for the written word with others.     

Do you want to write historical fiction? 

Join Meredith Allard, the executive editor of The Copperfield Review, the award-winning literary journal for readers and writers of historical fiction, as she...

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ISBN 9780578533841
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Featured Reviews

As a trained historian and someone working on writing historical novels, I was drawn to Meredith Allard's Painting the Past and though I ended up finding that this is mostly geared towards those just beginning their writing journeys, I found her voice down to earth, the tips useful for anyone, and was pleased to know that I'm on the right track with what I'm already doing. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone interested in writing historical fiction. Allard provides helpful tips on finding your creative spark, researching and finding good sources, and provides useful writing prompts. Thank you to NetGalley and Copperfield Press for providing this copy in exchange for a review.

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An excellent guide to writing historical fiction, thank you to netgalley and the publishers for giving me an advance copy of this book to read, I enjoyed it.

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Painting the Past is a resource and tutorial guide for writers interested in writing historial fiction developed and presented by Meredith Allard. Due out 16th Feb 2021 from Copperfield Press, it's 175 pages (print edition) and will be available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats. This reminds me in all the best ways of a *good* writing workshop with concrete, logically prepared, and well presented useful advice for the craft of writing, aimed at writers who wish to concentrate on historical fiction. The author/instructor/facilitator makes a case for the appeals and benefits of writing historical fiction, defining (and refining) period and scope, research (yes, you have to do it, obviously), writing, sources, self-editing, traveling for research, finding inspiration, utilizing resources (why everyone loves librarians), and much muuuuch more. There are good writing prompts throughout the book which I strongly recommend actually doing during the reading of this guide. Five stars. This was really information dense, fun to read, and very useful. It reminds me a lot of a well run writing workshop with a particularly effective teacher. I would recommend it to beginning writers (there are good takeaways here for all genres, not just historical fiction). It would also be useful for more structured group workshops or classroom education. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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“How-to” books often aroused suspicions for me, as they often underplay key issues into simple ideas that could be summarised in bullet points. However, this book is not a typical “how-to” books that often stay in best-seller displays in most bookstores. Meredith Allard shares many important points in this short book about how to write historical fiction based on her experiences in doing so. I have never read any of her works before, but to me, it seems that she has enough credentials to publish these “how-to” books with the number of works she has written before and also her current position as the executive editor at The Copperfield Review which is a periodical about historical fiction. The ideas are easy to digest with relevant examples from the author’s own experiences in writing historical fiction. She emphasises the need to maintain our motivations and personal connections with our work since those factors will be the things that drive our creative process and the research that needs to be done in between writing the stories. Besides that, she also reminds us that research is particularly the most important factor in writing historical fiction to depict the stories as close as possible to particular historical periods, which many beginners in historical fiction often omitted. Overall, many of the ideas could be applied generally while writing any fiction, but the examples that the author provides in this book could be really helpful for many authors of historical fiction who face writer blocks. I particularly like the way Meredith Allard describes writing historical fiction as an intersection between creative activity and scholarly research. In some ways, historical fiction is the way we bring emotional depths into characters who are forgotten in history books, as most history books only highlight several persons of importance who were essentials to the main narrative.

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