Guest Post by author Leonide Martin
Authors of Visionary Fiction encounter a special challenge when their stories take place in historical settings. Each historic period shapes its cultures through a combination of forces, from evolution to technology and climate. Within cultures, the unique chronicle of events, resources, worldview, and spirituality become defining forces. When cultures interact, these forces are even more complex. Those of us who engage with historical fiction are usually driven by a passion for the culture and time period, and we want to keep our stories authentic. We often have characters who are actual historic persons, and must learn what we can about their personalities, goals, and actions. Inferring their underlying motives and passions may be difficult, depending on how much written information is available.
How does an author enter the world of ancient cultures? We can use imagination to recreate how life might have been in historic Greece, Egypt or Britain drawing from research and literature. While documents are essential, often there are information gaps. Authors face missing links about events or cultural practices, especially personal facts about historical people and the others who surrounded them. It can be a real challenge to gather information about an historical person’s emotions and intentions. We can draw inferences from documentation in historical sources about what they did – but is that enough to craft a story and flesh out a personality?
To me, historical documents and records, and the inferences authors can draw from them, are not sufficient. This is where the visionary process comes in. We can use our psychic abilities to envision and enter distant worlds and unfamiliar societies. Some call this time traveling, or undertaking a shamanic journey. In the author’s inner experience, she or he actually visits a far-away time and place.