No info dumping allowedElizabeth Chadwick's Write Here post (Number Nine) over the weekend was excellent, as one would expect from such a talented Historical Novelist.
One of the things I learnt quickly when taking up the writing again, but after accumulating a wealth of historical knowledge, was that the story should come first, not the history. Chadwick echoes this:
Remember [though], that the story comes first - always. The research is there so that when you write your story, readers will feel as if they are actually in the moment with your hero and heroine. With this in mind, don't dump the fruits of your research into the narrative as great long paragraphs. Use it instead as a means of experiencing your protagonists' world through their senses and their interactions with other characters and the world around them. You have to become your characters, and doing so is tremendous fun and one of the most rewarding parts of being a writer. See what they see, hear what they hear, touch what they touch, know what they know.
She's right on the mark, as usual.
PS Just seen the link given on the HNS email list pointing to Lynne Truss's article called You COULD make it all up. In some god-forsaken corners of history (no centuries named, no pack drill) one has to make it all up :-)