Dear Dr Darwin, As a reader of historical fiction I want to be in a place which may resonate in my world, but is not my world. That’s not only about politics and clothes, and how the people think and feel and believe, but in how they talk and write, and what they talk and […]
Dr. Darwin's Writing Tips
Historia’s inimitable agony aunt, Dr Darwin answers your questions about the craft of historical writing.
Distressed by dialogue? Got your timelines in a tangle? Buried by your bibliography? Then this is the place for you.
Got a question for Dr Darwin? Email email@example.com. We can’t promise a reply but all questions will be considered for future columns.
Our resident agony aunt, Dr Darwin, answers a common question: how can we make sure our historical details are accurate – and believable? Dear Dr Darwin, Someone in my writers’ circle keeps getting facts wrong: things like calling a 17th-century character Tiffany, and giving her mother a vote in elections. He makes both of them keen […]
Historia’s resident agony aunt, Dr Darwin, answers another question about the craft (and art) of writing. This time: how to write a parallel narrative novel which grabs – and keeps – your reader. Dear Dr Darwin, I have fantastic idea for a novel which is made of two almost entirely separate historical narrative threads plaited […]
Author Emma Darwin explains how you make sure historical fiction readers get necessary information without it being clunkingly obvious
Our resident agony aunt, Dr Darwin, answers a common question: How can I find a voice for my historical fiction? Dear Dr Darwin, Writing courses boast they’ll help you to “find your voice”, and “the voice” is the thing that publishers and therefore agents say they are looking for almost above all. But what does […]
Our resident agony aunt, Dr Darwin, answers a common question: what counts as historical fiction? Dear Dr Darwin, I told my grandmother that I was writing a historical novel set in the Liverpool of the early Beatles, and she laughed so hard she nearly fell off her motorbike. I told my brother the Beatles weren’t […]
Our resident agony aunt, Dr Darwin, answers a common question – how do you research historical fiction? Dear Dr Darwin, Everyone says “research till your eyes bleed” – you did in your post about cultural appropriation – but when I Google, all I can find is the information I know already, repeated in a million […]
Dear Dr Darwin, I’m working on a script that begins during the 1830’s. The central character is a fictional young Black teen, and two major characters are actual historical figures: a young Native American warrior and a mixed-blood warrior; the true purpose of the script is to tell their fascinating story. I, however, am White. […]