Hey, guess what 2012 has fifty-three of? Mondays! So you’re getting a fifty-third episode of “Writing Excuses” this season. (You’re also going to be getting a fifty-fourth, because we stuck an extra in there a few weeks back.)
Hopefully this excuses (no pun intended) the fact that this episode is a full three days late. Merry Christmas!
Let’s talk about secret histories. A secret history is a subset of alternate history, in which historical events are given new explanations, typically fantastical ones, but in which the reader is invited to believe that this is the world we all currently live in.
We mention Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Tim Powers’ Last Call, and Jo Walton’s Among Others, and why secret history has the appeal it does, especially when it’s done well. And because you want to know how to do it well, we spend some time on that, as well as discussing some of the ethics of creating secret histories in the first place.
Writing Prompt: Take a popular piece of entertainment, grab a side-character, and give us their secret story.
Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: A Short Stay in Hell, by Stephen L. Peck, narrated by Sergei Burbank