The Hole in Philadelphia is an alternate history, a subgenre of historical fiction*. I enjoy learning from historical fiction, but I often struggle to guess where history ends and fiction begins. Where are the lines between fact, invention, speculation, and authorial choice? To save my audience from this struggle, I plan to report on the historicity of my own writing.
This has been challenging. The months of historical research are finished, but even with all the knowledge and citations at hand, I have found it difficult to shape my notes into a coherent form. It must be succinct yet thorough. First I tried writing an appendix for each chapter, but it was awkward to connect each note to its place in the text. However, I think I found a system that works: footnotes. I’ll make a version of each chapter with historical footnotes.
I hope to post a draft of an annotated first chapter soon. Afterward, there will be more sample chapters and more annotations to come, but I haven’t decided the order I will work on them.
*Or perhaps alternate history is better described as a wedding of historical and speculative fiction, or perhaps it’s a beast all its own wearing the skins of bigger genres. I’m not writing this post to explore taxonomies.