Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Misappropriation

Quite simply, misappropriation is using something in a way that is inaccurate in terms of when, where and why events occur; or in a way that is hurtful or defaming to a specific historical character or group or culture.

A writer who is serious about historical fiction needs to decide how closely the story's characters will interact with the real historical figures and events.  The closer the interaction, the higher the risk of misappropriating information about places,events and the lives of people who actually were alive in a specific period of history.  Ergo, a serious historical novelist must be a writer who loves research.

A well researched historical novel, with a credible bibliography becomes a source of accurate information to any writer focused on the same period or culture.  One of my favorite historical novelist is Morgan Llywelyn.  In my opinion, she has mastered the art of weaving a tale of fictional characters in the same fabric as historical characters in a respectful and professional way.

Sadly, I have also read novels that represent themselves as 'historical' when the story lacks the credibility of time, place and culture, and the plot spins in an illogical way that borders on fantasy.
True, fiction writers have 'license' to be creative.  If it's a period piece you are writing, and research is not your thing, tag your piece as adventure genre and forgo 'historical',  lest you be haunted by charges of misappropriation .