Evolution of a historcal character,

Do you ever find yourself expanding on the life story of a historical character over the course of editing your novella?

I originally gotten the inspiration this one character, from a serial murderess from 1838-1840. But do to certain factors, she’s almost become my Mickey Mouse in a way: I add extra life information that isn’t present in the original blueprint, inferring certain things like: in 1871 she participating in building the Paris Commune, she moved to the United States, and became an amateur code breaker.

I’m not sure how much I’m actually being true to the original history at this point. But I’m kind of unintentionally blending her character with Voltiarine De Cleyre. I hope that doesn’t complete itself, but it’s interesting how this is evolving.

I have a huge lady crush on Feminarchists I think. Only certain ones, Emma Goldman was a great gal, but not exactly attractive.

This is based on the idea that, kids whom come from troubled lives, generally tend to become more attracted to anarchism, unless specifically stated as otherwise. And she seemed to have a troubled childhood (obviously) more than most.

But then again, P.L. Travers wasn’t an anarchist. (But definitely a bad ass feminist.)

She sounds interesting! I think the fact that we’re in the Historical Fiction arena that we can flush out characters way more than history books do. Also I know that some of the authors I read include a facts section in the end of their books that allow people to better understand where we embellished and where we didn’ t

1 Like

Yea like me filling in gaps in Anna’s life.

I was doing this one embellishing based on some inferences of the period. And that 65 was about the life expectancy of a normal person in the 1800s. So you would have had plenty of years afterword in France, to participate in some of the political upheavel that took that country.

Now if she were exactly like Lizzie Borden, she would have been put into an Asylum. But for France I find this somewhat doubtful. Not sure why. Europe in general in that century was not great at their treatment of the mentally ill. (Unlike now where they out shine the US.)

France actually had more than one revolution, and more than one Republic. I only learned that when OVNILIFE was kind of enough to point it out.

It actually cleared a lot of things like “So if this is the French Revolution, where is Marie Antionette” in Les Mes. Or where are all there Napoleons coming from, they’re like cockroaches.

So by inference, I don’t think it would have been possible for Anna-Marie Boeglin not to have been touched somehow by this upheaval.

(Hence why her family moved to the US.)

Now the code breaker bit, that was … a strong embellishment. It’s because I still have hang overs from science fiction.

1 Like

I agree that the embellishment of historical characters is what makes writing historical fiction fun.

I have a Masters Degree in Medieval/Ancient European History and I feel like in academic historical writing you’re almost expected to qualify your conclusions. Footnotes are chock full of counter-arguments and alternative explanations. I do love the debate in historical writing. That’s probably why I studied it in graduate school.

With historical fiction it’s so nice to just go with the interpretation of facts that fit the story best. I can also fill in the blanks using my “creative license,” and no apologies are needed.

That’s why I say my story is “inspiring by” historical events rather than “based on” historical events. There was an actual Hildegund, and I’m using the landmarks of their life as a guide for my plot, but the actual thoughts and feelings and character traits are almost entirely fiction. Then again, being that Hildegund didn’t leave behind any first-person accounts, I sort of had no choice but to use my imagination.

2 Likes