Author: Amanda Mae Downey

Five Real-Life Pirates to Inspire your Next Character

real-life pirates

by Amanda Mae Downey

Real-life pirates weren’t the nicest guys and gals. They didn’t have peg legs or happy parrots on their shoulders. They were actually kind of sick, and as you know, us writers love taking inspiration from sick people. Maybe that says something about us.

Captain Blackbeard and his vessel, the Queen Anne’s Revenge have inspired depictions like that in the television series Black Sails and the 2016 novel Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman. Blackbeard is an interesting pirate, but there are hundreds of pirates (or in this case, five) that deserve some quality air-time and I’m here to give it to them.


Signs Your Historical Female Character Needs a Stronger Role

historical female character

by Amanda Mae Downey

Not too long ago, a colleague of mine was very excited to tell me that he was writing a book. When I asked him what it was about, he immediately confessed to not writing female characters. He said that they were problematic, dramatic, and just got into too many romances that distracted his male characters from being successful.

He wasn’t a historical fiction writer, but his mindset on female characters happens to be how a lot of historical fiction writers treat the female characters they choose to include. Nobody’s a saint, and nobody wants to write or read a Mary Sue. But women want real representation in fiction. We want characters that are more that just stereotypes of who we are. This isn’t just a rant for male writers, though. Listen up, ladies. You might also be degrading your own sex in historical fiction.
So let’s fix that.


Finding the Balance with Historical Accuracy

When you’re writing historical fiction, you need to get your facts straight–right? But the important thing to remember is that you’re writing a novel, not a textbook. It can be frustrating to try and keep your novel true to life, while also not getting bogged down with so much detail it becomes problematic. Below we’ve shared a few of our ideas on how to balance facts with fiction–literally

accuracy01What is historical accuracy in this context?

Amanda Mae: SELRES_c8811c0a-b2f6-408e-9681-f12c7d4f064aSELRES_c8811c0a-b2f6-408e-9681-f12c7d4f064aWhen you’re writing fiction, historical accuracy is your way of keeping your work realistic and giving it period-correct details

Anna: This is what makes historical fiction appealing. When we read it, we don’t want to stop every few paragraphs and wonder “was this really invented in 1812?” We want to be taken on a journey where we are learning and given insight into the world of a certain era. I don’t know about you, but once in a blue moon I’ve read a so-called historical novel in which I found inaccuracies. After that point, the credibility of the novel fell away. I no longer felt like I was reading a well-put together story. This is something I want to avoid happening to my own stories. (more…)