Writing/Meta/Resource: The 1805 Club and how writing can convey history
The following link will eventually be included in Molly Joyful’s List Of Useful Resources, but you might want to have a look at it previously. It’s not a new one; I guess most of you who have done research on the Royal Navy in the 18th/1th century have already come across the
You could consider the link an update to my article
I think it’s safe to say that many of us have found their interest and love for the RN of the 18th century through – fandom. I’ll be honest with you; if it hadn’t been for RNotC, I’d probably never cared about the Age of Sail. I knew who Nelson was, and that was about it. I assure you that I didn’t wake up one morning and said to myself: “Hey, the weather is lovely, I shall go and read a book about Nelson!”
Hands up: who of you would have bought and/or read Amy Miller’s “Dressed to Kill” if it hadn’t been discovered by fandom? Collingwood’s biography? Anybody? Bueller? Without fandom, I’d still fold paperships.
The work of The 1805 Club really deserves a lot of praise. In our fast-paced time, focussed on the future, it’s not easy to rise people’s awareness for the past, which is dangerous, in my opinion. To conserve memory and passing on history, our society would have to adapt to the tone and time we’re living in, though. Many museums have realised this and developed concepts that get visitors (especially the younger ones!) involved and allow them to interact. Gone are the days of stuffy rooms with glassy-eyed taxidermy nightmares on display, and let’s thank the gods for that!
So what does this all have to do with writing historical fiction? Well, I think it’s one of the basic rules of story-telling that readers care about the fate of the portrayed individuals and the conditions they’re living in. I’m not saying that everybody who reads one of our stories or books or sees our artwork will immediately run to order reference books, but we do have a chance there to spark interest. We can connect names, data, numbers with characters people care for. Personally, I find this exciting, challenging and very inspiring!