Research in Fiction

The whole point of a historian is to reconstruct, as imaginatively as you can, with all the insights you can get on the basis of the available evidence, and see if you can give a picture that’s as true as is possible, given all those preconditions. And it’s a difficult job and it’s a constant challenge to all of us, all the time, whatever we’re writing about.   –John H. Elliott 

For a novelist, there is always the question, how accurate must I be, since this is fiction? Historical fiction spreads across a wide spectrum from ridiculously inaccurate to meticulously researched. I hope to fall as much as possible toward the latter, knowing I will miss things and make mistakes, even if I try my best. Nevertheless, the truth of history is so much richer than anything we can invent, and the reader, while he may fall for a ruse, will feel himself enriched by the truth when it is presented with skill by a good storyteller.

Cornelis Dusart

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