Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Mapping the Course for Historical Fiction Characters, the mastery skills of a writer

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

by Ann DeWitt

Entangled in Freedom by Ann DeWitt and Kevin Weeks

Entangled in Freedom by Ann DeWitt and Kevin Weeks

How do Young Adult Historical Fiction writers insure the readers are walking the exact same trails as the original soldiers during a specific military era?  Well, the skill of mapping a course is one of the many mastery skills of crime fiction writer Kevin M. Weeks.  One reader of Weeks’ debut crime fiction novel, The Street Life Series: Is It Suicide or Murder?, “Mapquested” the major high speed chase in the novel.  Every turn was accurate because Weeks once lived in West Philadelphia, the setting in the crime fiction story.  As it turns out, Weeks remembered every street name and turn solely from memory.  However, what does a writer do when the main character comes from the 19th century and the location of a major scene no longer exists?

This was the case for Camp McDonald, the Georgia Military Institute training camp across from the well-known Lacy Hotel in Big Shanty, Georgia?  A reader cannot come to Kennesaw, Georgia, the town formally named Big Shanty, and walk the grounds of Camp McDonald. Because of the spoils of war, the camp no longer exists.  Thus, Kevin M. Weeks requested a map of Camp McDonald.  As the researcher, I located and purchased a map of the original Georgia Military Institute military camp grounds; and the mapping of main character Isaac’s course for the Camp McDonald scene in Entangled In Freedom: A Civil War story began.

When readers experience a 19th Century military story, you want them to feel as if they were right there in the midst of the action.  One book reviewer stated that the Entangled In Freedom Confederate rendition of the Great Locomotive Chase was by far the best scene in the novel.  Why?  Even though Google Maps Satellite view cannot show you the grounds of Camp McDonald, readers walk in main character Isaac’s shoes and they see Camp McDonald and the Lacy Hotel from Isaac’s eyes.

Highlighting the Good in Humanity,

Ann DeWitt and Kevin M. Weeks
Recipients of the prestigious Mom’s Choice Awards
for Young Adult Historical Fiction