Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Canadian Literary Historical Fiction

I read an article in the Historical Novel Society's newsletter, about how Dickens set a 'new' standard in historical fiction.  He wrote with passion for character and respect for the past, a good goal for any historical fiction writer- and for readers, too! 

The great writers of classic literature have been a huge inspiration to me.  Dickens, Austen, Bronte, Dumas, they wrote about the foilables of human character, and the tragedies and comedies that human behaviour incites.  When writing about history, they commented on their own times as much as the times they wrote of, and their novels endure because their stories are unforgettable. 

In today's commercial world of guessing what markets want, or creating an expectation of story that satisfies a perceived market, we sometimes forget what is truly inspirational in those early works at the birth of the novel as an artform.  Make it resonate, and make it accessible. 

Canadian Literature is renowned for its beauty of language, its deep resonance, and its challenge to read.  American literature is renowned for its emphasis on plot and its accessibility.  The challenge of modern writers is to marry the two things readers want: style and story. 

As a writer, I hope to further the cause of modern writing with a respect for the past masters who knew how to weave a great story.  Canadian Literary Historical Fiction and Commercial Literary Contemporary Fiction are the hybrids of this philosophy.  Ultimately, telling a story that creates memorable characters is what it's all about. #CLHF