Bringing Color to History


Historical Fiction infuses color into the black and white of the historic prologue. With historic events as the prologue to my stories, it is up to me to try to color them with authenticity, to bring the faded pages into vivid focus.

Budapest View from 1935

To the left is a photo of Budapest from 1935. It’s charming and exciting, but the white and black (at least to me) makes it look distant, separate, and firmly stuck in the past. Farther down, I’ve posted a photo that I took from a trip to Budapest in 2010. It depicts the same places, but the colors rush out and invite the viewer in. I think that it can be tempting to think of the past as a land of black and white. For those that dwelt among past ages, it never was though. Theirs was a world of color, just as our own is now.

Budapest View from 2010; Photo by Megan

I’m passionate about color. Painting is one of the things I take part in, especially as a fresh new story is brewing in my mind. I also love to watch the sea as I’m getting to know my characters (well, always really, but it does help characters get chatty). And as you see in the photo to the right, I also love to take photos. They help me when I’m trying to recreate a scene, as I pour out the image from my mind for you to see in my stories.

One of the best tools to help create a vivid image is research. As I mentioned yesterday, writing means learning. Research comes in the guise of books, documentaries, articles, past classes and primary sources. Other research that helps a story come alive is more personal in nature- how music sounds, how a cake tastes or how the sun paints the sky in a thousand shades are all little details that can turn a black and white view of history into a vivid and full color story.

What are some historical fiction books that are especially vibrant to you? What helps you feel that you are truly part of the story and living it in color?

My best to you all,

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