Military Fiction & Nonfiction discussion

Jeff Shaara
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Fiction > Real People in Fiction

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message 1: by Richard (new)

Richard Barnes (richardwhittenbarnes) | 22 comments I got interested in writing historical fiction after reading Shaara. I liked the way he gave life to people like Dwight Eisenhower and Patton, etc.
In my first military novel I gave words to a general or two, and did more of it in my second. What do readers think about that? Taking too many liberties?


message 2: by happy (last edited Jun 07, 2013 05:14AM) (new)

happy (happyone) | 5 comments Personally - as long as the author is true to what we know about the individual, I don't have a problem with it - in a novel of course :)

Have you read Shaara's newest one?
A Chain of Thunder A Novel of the Siege of Vicksburg by Jeff Shaara


message 3: by Richard (new)

Richard Barnes (richardwhittenbarnes) | 22 comments No, I never got into civil war history. Can't tell you why. It's good stuff, full of real stories..drama. WWII has always fascinated me, though my current MS is 1812.


message 4: by Bec (new)

Bec (foreverfnm) | 13 comments Mod
Personally, I like real people in historical fiction. I don't know if it is because it adds credibility, or teaches something or simply makes me feel 'smart' for recognising them/knowing things about them. I'm all for it!

However, if its not well researched, and the character clashes with the picture of the historical figure in my head, that is a turn off.


message 5: by Richard (new)

Richard Barnes (richardwhittenbarnes) | 22 comments Bec wrote: "Personally, I like real people in historical fiction. I don't know if it is because it adds credibility, or teaches something or simply makes me feel 'smart' for recognising them/knowing things abo..."

As a reader, "teaching me something" is important. I want to come away with something substantial from the experience.
As a writer, the research is a major part of the satisfaction.


message 7: by Richard (new)

Richard Barnes (richardwhittenbarnes) | 22 comments Speaking of real people:
My father was with Pershing in Mexico before the Americans got into WWI. Shaara's book might be something for me to read.
Now thinking seriously about WWI for my next book


message 8: by happy (last edited Jun 08, 2013 04:36AM) (new)

happy (happyone) | 5 comments If you haven't read Shaara's To the Last Man A Novel of the First World War by Jeff Shaara
I think it is pretty good.


message 9: by Richard (new)

Richard Barnes (richardwhittenbarnes) | 22 comments I just marked it to read.


message 10: by Jerri (new)

Jerri Gibson | 18 comments Richard wrote: "I just marked it to read."

Richard wrote: "I got interested in writing historical fiction after reading Shaara. I liked the way he gave life to people like Dwight Eisenhower and Patton, etc.
In my first military novel I gave words to a gen..."



message 11: by Jerri (new)

Jerri Gibson | 18 comments Richard, Several years ago I wrote about the Revolutionary war and had my protagonist delivering a serious message to George Washington. One thing about writing historical fiction when including a well-known person, the writer ‘must’ make sure that in your scene with the person, such as George Washington, he would have actually been in that location at time and place of your story. You could not put him in South Carolina during the Germantown battle in Pennsylvania, as an example.


message 12: by Jerri (new)

Jerri Gibson | 18 comments Richard wrote: "No, I never got into civil war history. Can't tell you why. It's good stuff, full of real stories..drama. WWII has always fascinated me, though my current MS is 1812."


message 13: by Jerri (new)

Jerri Gibson | 18 comments I love writing about WWII and my current novel has many actual incidents that happened to an elderly relative of mine. The opening page in an incident where his B-17 Flying Fortress is shot down over Steyr, Austria, and as he is making his way to the exit door to bail out of the plane, his parachute snags open. After interviewing him for our genealogy book in 2003, I was hooked on WWII. I became addicted to research and could never get enough history. I had to force myself to stop researching and write.


message 14: by Jerri (new)

Jerri Gibson | 18 comments Bec wrote: "Personally, I like real people in historical fiction. I don't know if it is because it adds credibility, or teaches something or simply makes me feel 'smart' for recognising them/knowing things abo..."


message 15: by Richard (new)

Richard Barnes (richardwhittenbarnes) | 22 comments Jerri wrote: "Richard, Several years ago I wrote about the Revolutionary war and had my protagonist delivering a serious message to George Washington. One thing about writing historical fiction when including a ..."

Great point. I've used Gen. Wm. Stilwell, Big Bill Donovan, even FDR. I think I followed the rule.


message 16: by Richard (new)

Richard Barnes (richardwhittenbarnes) | 22 comments Jerri wrote: "I love writing about WWII and my current novel has many actual incidents that happened to an elderly relative of mine. The opening page in an incident where his B-17 Flying Fortress is shot down ov..."

Ditto that on my two WWII novels and my current 1812 MS.


message 17: by Jerri (new)

Jerri Gibson | 18 comments I'm currently writing the sequel to the WWII novel and am 3/4 finished, however, I'm struggling with the part where they are searching for comrades left behind in Stalag 17b. Trying to make it exciting is a challenge. Need Eisenhower there to shake up the story. Joke. That would be excitement and NOT TRUE history.

Our power went out last evening for 6 or more hours and we hung out at the movie theater. Watched a terrific movie, Olympus Has Fallen. About a North Korean and his group taking over the White House. Excitement all the way. Love to read fast-paced novels like this movie.


message 18: by Richard (new)

Richard Barnes (richardwhittenbarnes) | 22 comments You all seem to be WWII Europe oriented. my tow WWIIs are Pacific.
http://www.goodreads.com/book/photo/1...
http://d.gr-assets.com/books/13704499...


message 19: by Jerri (new)

Jerri Gibson | 18 comments Richard, your covers are beautiful. Who designed them?


message 20: by Richard (new)

Richard Barnes (richardwhittenbarnes) | 22 comments I had the concept for all my covers.
Richard Stroud was the artist for CORYDON SNOW
Trish Fitzgerald was the artist for LUZON
I can try to put you in touch with either if you wish.


message 21: by Jerri (new)

Jerri Gibson | 18 comments I would appreciate the contact info, if you could, Richard. Both designers/graphic artists. Also, what is the price range for a cover?


message 22: by Richard (new)

Richard Barnes (richardwhittenbarnes) | 22 comments I don't know what they charge. They get a percentage of sales from my publisher. If I can get you contact info, you can ask.


message 23: by Jerri (new)

Jerri Gibson | 18 comments Thanks, Richard, for the contact info.


message 24: by Richard (new)

Richard Barnes (richardwhittenbarnes) | 22 comments I've lost Stroud,s and Fitzgerald's email.
I'm sure you can google them.
Good luck.


message 25: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin | 10 comments Bec wrote: "Personally, I like real people in historical fiction. I don't know if it is because it adds credibility, or teaches something or simply makes me feel 'smart' for recognising them/knowing things abo..."

I personally believe that using real historical characters in works of fiction can add greatly to a story. As military fiction is concerned, there have been so many fascinating historical military characters that you have a plethora of generals, admirals, outstanding servicemen and political leaders to chose from to build a scenario. I see no ethical problems in using such characters, as long as you respect and follow their basic personalities and state clearly that your novel is a work of fiction. The historical research spent to learn about those characters can in turn only add to the realism of your novel.


message 26: by Jerri (new)

Jerri Gibson | 18 comments In historical fiction, if you use actual military people, they cannot be where they never went. In other words, don't put them in a battle they never were involved in. Jerri


message 27: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin | 10 comments Jerri wrote: "In historical fiction, if you use actual military people, they cannot be where they never went. In other words, don't put them in a battle they never were involved in. Jerri"

Why not? The genre's name says it all: historical FICTION. There have been hundreds of novels where known past generals and admirals fought battles they never fought. How many times has World War 2 been fought anew on 'what if' lines? How about all the alternate histories written about wars, like about the American Civil War? By excluding possibilities the way you stated would only apply a type of censorship on the genre, and for what real purpose or benefit? As long as the basic character, personality and abilities of the historical figures are respected, then I don't see a problem in using them in a work of fiction.


message 28: by happy (new)

happy (happyone) | 5 comments THis is my opinion so take it for what it worth -

If you are writing Alt histories - its anything goes. The author should be true to the personalities. However, in writing regular HF, a historical person has to be true to who he/she was and can't be where they weren't. IF it is not recorded where they were on a particular day, put him where you want as long as it's within the realm of possibilities

IE Richard the Lionheart can't be in France when the historical record puts him in the Holy land one week before and one week after the scene in question


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