Filler between facts can be good reading fiction

Writer says that dramatizing historical speculation is still fiction.

Dear Editor

I read Barbara Roden’s Return to Scottie Creek with interest. (The Journal, Thurs., Mar 14).

Who would have thought that little creek would have prompted so many versions of the story? But that is to be expected when you are writing about events that have been recorded in so many different ways by so many different sources, so many years ago.

Having interviewed scores of pioneer folk in this district for well nigh 40 years, it doesn’t come as any surprise to me that each pioneer I interviewed saw and heard events in their community differently.  But the challenge for the writer of histories is to try to determine the facts. This is always a challenge.

I keep a pretty extensive library of Cariboo history. And, I’ve found that the details vary, often, dramatically. Question always is. Which and what is the most plausible, reliable?

So saying, I have never attempted to fictionalize history. I don’t think I’d be very good at it, if I tried.

Barbara has done some very impressive research on our history.  See Gold Country Geo Tourism, recently published.

Historical fiction is very often good reading. A lot of research goes into it. And a great deal of what you will read in novels of historical fiction is not only informative, it is entertaining. But I am also aware that fiction is, – well, it’s fiction. The author had to make a lot of it “up” out of the author’s imagination.

It is one thing to choose one version of history based on what seems to be the most valid version. It is quite another thing to dramatize that version. That is what we call fiction.

Esther Darlington MacDonald


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