One Writer’s Journey

August 6, 2014

Blending Fact and Fiction: My July Reading

I read several books this past month that blend serious amounts of fact into fictional stories.

In the mystery A Hitch at the Fairmont, author Jim Averbeck introduces young readers to Alfred Hitchcock.  Hitchcock isn’t just window dressing in the story; he’s an actual character.  That said, the story is purely fiction.  This means that Averbeck had to stay true to who Hitchcock was and how he was known to behave while creating a compelling story.  Read this one for an example of how to work a real person into your fictional story.

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm is about a girl who gets the chance to know her scientist grandfather after he invents a youth serum and once again becomes a teenager.  He teachers her about science and the scientific method, introducing her to Curie and Oppenheimer.  The information on these scientists and their work is 100% true as is the general information on jelly fish.  Still, the story is science fiction.

Other stories also worked in traditional tales.  The first I read was Maggie Stiefvter’s The Scorpio Races.  She built her novel around the water horse myths, combining the folklore found in various cultures throughout the British Isles and into other parts of Europe.  Working with all of the elements of the tales didn’t work so she eliminated a few things in order to create a fictional story that worked at every level vs simply being a vehicle for the folkore.  This is an excellent example of how to make a folk tale work in fiction.

If you are inspired to write a fictional story around fact, check out these books as three that worked especially well.

Below is my reading list for the month.

July Reading:

  1. Auxier, Jonathan. The Night Gardener (Amulet Books)
  2. Averbeck, Jim.  A Hitch at the Fairmont (Simon and Schuster)
  3. Chin, Jason. Gravity (Roaring Brook Press)
  4. Heitzmann, Kristen.  Twilight.  (Bethany House)
  5. Henkes, Kevin.  The Year of Billy Miller (Greenwillow Books)
  6. Holm, Jennifer L. The Fourteenth Goldfish (RandomHouse)
  7. Kuhlmann, Torben.  Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse (North South Books)
  8. McRae, G.C.  The Seven Sisters  (MacDonald Warne Media)
  9. Pattison, Darcy.  Saucy and Bubba (Mims House)
  10. Sparks, Nicholas.  The Best of Me (Hachette)
  11. Stewart, Melissa.  Animal Grossapedia (Scholastic)
  12. Stiefvater, Maggie.  The Scorpio Races (Scholastic)
  13. Yolen, Jane and Heidi E.Y. Stemple.  Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook for Young Readers and Eaters (Crocodile Books)




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