Always a good idea.
Rita Williams-Garcia, as quoted by her colleague, Elizabeth Partridge, on the Vermont College faculty blog:
Two favorite tidbits: She ran into a problem with a real life
event she decided to put in her book at a different time than actually
happened. She puzzled out how to explain her choice to us, then said,
“You have to obey the God of Storytelling before Father Time.”
And another from Rita Williams-Garcia, via Cynthia Leitich Smith's website, on her very wonderful novel ONE CRAZY SUMMER:
The challenge was to write a novel with historical content but to not
allow the Black Panthers to hijack the story from the central
characters. There was so much research. So many historical comments to
make, but I constantly cut away to stay within the heart and
perceptions of character. Either I did it myself or my editor would ask
me to do it later.
(My mantra for today. Stay within the heart of the character. Or my editor will ask me to do it.)
Anybody out there with tips for staying within the heart of the story and your characters while struggling with real history?