History as Source Material


We talk about using history as the source material for your writing, looking at iconic history-inspired films, non-fiction films nominated for the 2014 Oscars, and helpful resources for finding out about true lives and events that might inspire you. Screenwriter Jason Ginsburg returns as co-host.

Let us know what you think about the ethics of adapting true events and lives. When it comes to taking artistic liberties with history, where do you draw the line? Does a story’s entertainment value always trump its veracity?

Referenced in the episode:

Jason Ginsburg
The Hindenburg (1975 film)
Hindenburg: The Last Flight
Apollo 13
The King and I
Sergeant York
Anna and the King
Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History
Captain Phillips
American Hustle
The Sting Man: Inside Abscam
Dallas Buyers Club
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
The History Channel
Discovery Channel
Travel Channel
Offline Wikipedia
Military / American Heroes Channel
Cool Chicks from History
History Extra Podcast
Jim Shepard
(Note: Jim Shepard’s story collection LIKE YOU’D UNDERSTAND ANYWAY was incorrectly titled as YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND ANYWAY. Sorry Mr. Shepard)

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Direct Download Link for the episode

More about this show, for new listeners:

In The Narrative Breakdown, Cheryl Klein, James Monohan, and other guest co-hosts discuss storytelling tips and techniques of interest to any writer, student, or fan of quality creative writing, screenwriting, playwriting, fan fiction, English literature, etc. Each episode, Cheryl and James draw upon their respective experiences in publishing and filmmaking to analyze popular novels, movies, plays, television shows, short stories, and song lyrics. Featuring various co-hosts and writers, as well as material from Cheryl Klein’s book ‘Second Sight’ and James’ iPhone / iPad app ‘The Storyometer.’




One Response to “History as Source Material”

  1. Gioia Misteriosa January 22, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

    For your Copyright Edition: I would be curious to hear what steps should be done prior to sending your work to an editor and what’s the right vs. the wrong way to go about that process? How does that change once you become published or sell your manuscript to a film company? And what happens, when you have innovative ideas and descriptions in your work for, say, technology or some sort of futuristic advancement (ex: flying skateboard from Back to the Future) that you would like to own the rights to if that concept (assuming it’s completely unique and original) were invented? What draws the lines on something like Mrs. Rowling’s invisibility cloak vs. the one invented at Duke? Can those sorts of ideas in manuscript format even be copyrighted and if so, would that need to be done separately?

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