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The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction: Researching and Writing Historical Fiction Paperback – Feb 24 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books (Feb. 24 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582975698
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582975696
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.7 x 21.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #600,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

James Alexander Thom was formerly a U.S. Marine, a newspaper and magazine editor, and a member of the faculty at the Indiana University Journalism School. He is the author of Follow the River, Long Knife, From Sea to Shining Sea, Panther in the Sky (for which he won the prestigious Western Writers of America Spur Award for best historical novel), Sign-Talker, The Children of First Man, and The Red Heart. He lives in the Indiana hill country near Bloomington with his wife, Dark Rain of the Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band. Dark Rain is a director of the National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Planning Council. The author's Website is:

Inside This Book

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 32 reviews
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction Feb. 16 2010
By Jean M - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
James A. Thom is one of my favorite authors of historical fiction so I was delighted to see he has recently published this 'how-to' book on the writing of historical fiction. I've read a few other books on writing historical fiction, all of which failed to inspire me, were dull reading, and in one case even undermined my confidence to attempt to tackle such writing.

Thom's new book, THE ART AND CRAFT OF WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION is not only informative and interesting, but humorous as well. Reading Thom's book is like being coached by your favorite teacher. Finally! I found an instruction book that is motivational and has provided me with the confidence to complete a story I've been researching for the past several years.

One of the very best examples of historical fiction writing is Thom's book FOLLOW THE RIVER. James A. Thom is not only a great story teller who is true to history, but also an excellent writing coach. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in writing historical fiction.

Jean M.
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Not much about writing Aug. 7 2010
By Kirk McElhearn - Published on
Format: Paperback
While this book is interesting, and the author is certainly good at his job, very little of the book is actually about writing (or preparing to write). There are many discussions of being faithful to history, truth vs fiction, and the book is filled with examples of how good the author is at resolving such issue. But only a few chapters deal with the actual questions of writing, research, and the mechanics of dealing with the past. While this is an interesting book for those interested in historical fiction, it's not very useful for anyone hoping to write such fiction.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Enlightening and entertaining Feb. 3 2010
By scott - Published on
Format: Paperback
Perfect for anyone wanting to write period fiction. If you want your historical novel to seem authentic and smack of truth, this book is offering you the keys. James Thom has an incredibly engaging voice-sort of like sitting down to listen to your grandfather tell a story. This book does more than just instruct; it's humorous, insightful and entertaining.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Coaching through the pages... Jan. 25 2010
By Robyn I. Eastman - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a thirty plus year writer and much of it in the history and culture of Hawai'i, this book was like having Mr. Thom sitting in front of me as a writing coach! It's written with a great dose of humor, reading lists of other books, and lots of great tips on wending your way through history to find the magic of story...making the 'then' seem like 'now'!!! If you're writing historical fiction or even want to 'see' the magic of how it's done, read this book!

The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction: Researching and Writing Historical Fiction
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Some Ranting, Some Research June 27 2013
By JimOsceola - Published on
Format: Paperback
Yes,it's necessary for the author to have to tell would-be writers about anachronisms, because most of today's newer writers cannot envision a world without cell phones, personal computers or electricity. I've seen too many historical stories with dialogue like "Get with it" and "I feel ya" and worse.

The detailed lists of facts to double-check are beyond most modern day writers' time, but are good to keep on the bulletin board when struggling for authenticity.

Mr. Thom definitely knows what he's talking about, opinionated or not. He wrote most successfully in another era, and I thought it was interesting to see how much writing, and researching, has changed. Yes, he carried on about a few vendettas, which were tiring and a little coy with his refusal to name names after verbally slicing the person to ribbons.

What I found most difficult to deal with was the section on genealogy research. His wife has a great sense of humor, but could not stay on track with her information. She uses the book as a soap box for Native Americans with the same tired laments from 1972. She is mixed blood white and Native American, is introduced as "Dark Rain, Water Panther Clan Mother," yet sneers at white "wannabes" throughout her chapter. I didn't know too many Dark Rains in school.

She had plenty of great information regarding researching through family secrets and how scandals were handled, the government categories of Indians, etc., but went off on political rants instead of remaining neutral. According to her, the whites are responsible for every bad thing that ever happened to Native Americans, as if the NA have no violent history of their own. Then her mood swings back the other way with helpful info.

Between her and her husband,it did get old, veering wildly from politically correct to an old codger and his babe chuckling about insults to others. I barely finished the book, and the main thing I got out of it was that I didn't ever want to have dinner with these two.