The Fantastical Historical: Incorporating Research into Fantasy

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Do you want to write magic realism and need to know the nitty-gritty of the 19th century? Or maybe you’re incorporating sea monsters into Jane Austen and wondering just what is the etiquette for carrying a sword to a soirée? Or maybe your opus is a good ol’ sword-and-sandals epic, but you want to avoid "thud and blunder" world building. In this 90-minute seminar, author Holly Messinger, whose writing Publisher’s Weekly called “a clinic on how to immerse the reader in a historical setting without drowning them in facts,” will discuss the spectrum of historical fantasy, from magic realism to secondary world, and what part research plays in all of those sub-genres. Holly will outline her process for researching and incorporating facts into fiction, after which Olathe Public Library Adult Programming Librarian Allison Antrim will demonstrate some of the library’s resources and how to use them for your own research.

About the presenter: Holly Messinger is a writer, costume designer, and martial artist with a fetish for the late 19th century. Her short fiction has appeared in Baen's Universe, Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine. Find her at

Presented via Zoom. Join Zoom meeting: