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Could I put Anne Boleyn's ghost in a novel? opinions much appreciated!
June 6, 2011
9:59 am
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Claire-Louise
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I've always enjoyed writing and thought about taking it up as a hobby. For a while now, I have wanted to write a novel which in some way incorporates Anne Boleyn. What I wanted to ask everyone on here though is how would you feel about a novel in which Anne Boleyn's ghost appears and/or communicates with certain characters?

This would of course, be a complete work of fiction, however I realise how some people take novels seriously (The Other Boleyn Girl for example) and I would not want people to think that I was basing my writing on fact. I would love to think that Anne Boleyn fans would enjoy reading my work, and so would not feel right creating something that would appear to be another Phillipa Gregory novel with a supernatural twist, and have History fans annoyed with my writing.

My idea really is that the spirit of Anne Boleyn communicates to tell her story-and I also want there to be flashbacks to Tudor times, which act like a vision of a darker version of our own world, and our own relationships. I would appreciate ANY opinions on this or any advice or suggestions.

Thanks

Claire-Louise x

June 6, 2011
12:03 pm
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Sharon
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Claire-Louise,

Have you read The Arrow Chest by Robert Parry.   It takes place in the 19th century.  It is about a painter who is in love with a woman who marries a big fat, rich jerk.  Anne Boleyn's life weaves in and out of the story.  Her ghost appears.  I'm not going to tell the story, but is this what you mean?  Robert Parry sticks to historical facts as he tells his tale.

 When I first started reading your post, a comedy came to my mind. Don't ask me why, it's been a long day.  Having Anne in the background telling a female character in the book, “You don't have to do what he wants, think for yourself!”  Anne could give advice from her own wealth of knowledge.  If the book includes Anne, it could show that part of her personality that was fun-loving.  She supposedly had a bit of a sarcastic side to her, and many have portrayed that as being mean-spirited.  But sarcasm has it's place and can be very funny.  She will have nothing to fear, because she is a ghost, so she can be sarcastically funny throughout the book. Just a thought.

There are all sorts of ways to write a good novel which would include Anne.  The problem with PG's novels is she allows people to think that she has done a factually historic piece.  

June 6, 2011
12:58 pm
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DuchessofBrittany
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I have no problem with Anne Boleyn themed fiction novels. The problem lies when these works of fiction are label “historically accurate,” and sold to people as true, fact-driven, and contextual when they're not. Take for instance Robin Maxwell's book The Diary of Anne Boleyn. I loved this book because Maxwell never (to my knowledge) sold it as accurate, and I could enjoy the book because it as sold as a work of fiction.

There are so many cool things that could be done with Anne's ghost. I hope you take up this task. Keep me posted, and I would love to know your progress.

I hope this helps!

"By daily proof you shall find me to be to you both loving and kind" Anne Boleyn

June 6, 2011
1:40 pm
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Claire-Louise
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Thank you Duchess and Sharon, your comments are really helpful.

Sharon, I have heard of The Arrow Chest, but have never read it, and I didn't know anything about the plot but it sounds a very enjoyable read, and yes this is the sort of thing I mean. I absolutely love the idea of showing a comical, witty and playful side to Anne's personality through the character of her ghost. I've always imagined Anne to have had a good sense of humour, and I definitely want my characterisation of Anne to be fresh and different whilst still maintaining her strength of character and mystique.

Duchess, yes I think it is much easier to enjoy a work of fiction when the author doesn't pretend that it is something it's not. I'm so glad you like the idea, and I'll definitely set myself to the challenge now that I know I have the support of AB files members Smile

June 6, 2011
3:50 pm
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Neil Kemp
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Sounds like a great idea Claire-Louise, It will doubtless be hard work, but a real labour of love. Very good luck with this project, I'm sure you have the support of everyone on this site (as long as we get a free copy when you've finished Wink), be sure to keep us all updated on your progress.

June 6, 2011
6:18 pm
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Anyanka
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DuchessofBrittany said:

I have no problem with Anne Boleyn themed fiction novels. The problem lies when these works of fiction are label “historically accurate,” and sold to people as true, fact-driven, and contextual when they're not. Take for instance Robin Maxwell's book The Diary of Anne Boleyn. I loved this book because Maxwell never (to my knowledge) sold it as accurate, and I could enjoy the book because it as sold as a work of fiction.

There are so many cool things that could be done with Anne's ghost. I hope you take up this task. Keep me posted, and I would love to know your progress.

I hope this helps!


I agree.  Sticking the the facts make historical fiction fun.  I read sci-fi or fantasy when I want made-up things.

It's always bunnies.

June 6, 2011
6:19 pm
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Anyanka
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Sharon said:

 When I first started reading your post, a comedy came to my mind. Don't ask me why, it's been a long day.  Having Anne in the background telling a female character in the book, “You don't have to do what he wants, think for yourself!”  Anne could give advice from her own wealth of knowledge.  If the book includes Anne, it could show that part of her personality that was fun-loving.  She supposedly had a bit of a sarcastic side to her, and many have portrayed that as being mean-spirited.  But sarcasm has it's place and can be very funny.  She will have nothing to fear, because she is a ghost, so she can be sarcastically funny throughout the book. Just a thought.

 


When I read this I could so see Anne telling some-one ” don't lose your head over this man!”.

It's always bunnies.

June 7, 2011
1:12 am
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Anyanka said:

DuchessofBrittany said:

I have no problem with Anne Boleyn themed fiction novels. The problem lies when these works of fiction are label “historically accurate,” and sold to people as true, fact-driven, and contextual when they're not. Take for instance Robin Maxwell's book The Diary of Anne Boleyn. I loved this book because Maxwell never (to my knowledge) sold it as accurate, and I could enjoy the book because it as sold as a work of fiction.

There are so many cool things that could be done with Anne's ghost. I hope you take up this task. Keep me posted, and I would love to know your progress.

I hope this helps!


I agree.  Sticking the the facts make historical fiction fun.  I read sci-fi or fantasy when I want made-up things.


Yes!! Absolutely Anyanka- nail on the head! Claire-Louise, I think you will do a fantastic job- and Sharon I'm now searching for a copy of the Arrow Chest! Thanks xx

"A fresh young damsel, who could trip and go"

June 7, 2011
10:09 am
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Mya Elise
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I actually had an idea about this a while back. Anne's ghost and everything.

• Grumble all you like, this is how it’s going to be.

June 7, 2011
7:15 pm
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Bella44
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A novel based around Annes' ghost sounds fun Claire-Louise – and I for one would totally read it!  I love stories based on the past and how two totally different time periods can intersect.  Of course, it has a whiff of the supernatural too, and that's never a bad thing  Laugh

One of my favourite Anne novels is Threads by Nell Gavin, which has Anne's spirit being reincarnated through the centuries so that she can learn to forgive Henry and ultimately find peace and redemption.  The way the author had Anne and Henry meeting up in different time periods and using that to explore themes and concepts that we all could learn from was wonderful. 

June 9, 2011
12:35 pm
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Claire-Louise
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Thanks for the comments everyone. I feel more confident in the idea now and I'm going to get started on the research. I'm actually hoping that there will be a society for creative writing to join when I start uni.  I'm just trying to create one of the main characters at the moment, I'll keep you all updated Smile 

June 10, 2011
8:53 am
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Claire
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I have no problem at all with the idea and I think it sounds great. I loved Robert Parry's “The Arrow Chest” which was fiction but with historical facts, and accurate ones, as its basis. I love historical fiction and my only problem with it is when an author passes it off as a retelling of history when it clearly isn't.

Good luck with the project and let us know when it's complete! 🙂

Debunking the myths about Anne Boleyn

June 12, 2011
5:17 am
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Rochie
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Loved 'The Arrow Chest!'

June 12, 2011
4:30 pm
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Claire-Louise said:

I've always enjoyed writing and thought about taking it up as a hobby. For a while now, I have wanted to write a novel which in some way incorporates Anne Boleyn. What I wanted to ask everyone on here though is how would you feel about a novel in which Anne Boleyn's ghost appears and/or communicates with certain characters?

This would of course, be a complete work of fiction, however I realise how some people take novels seriously (The Other Boleyn Girl for example) and I would not want people to think that I was basing my writing on fact. I would love to think that Anne Boleyn fans would enjoy reading my work, and so would not feel right creating something that would appear to be another Phillipa Gregory novel with a supernatural twist, and have History fans annoyed with my writing.

My idea really is that the spirit of Anne Boleyn communicates to tell her story-and I also want there to be flashbacks to Tudor times, which act like a vision of a darker version of our own world, and our own relationships. I would appreciate ANY opinions on this or any advice or suggestions.

Thanks

Claire-Louise x


Go for it – I've just finished one where Henry VIII and his six wives are guests on a post-life TV chat show. There's lots of fun to be had by stepping out of the strict historical constraints and (hopefully) people won't be confused into thinking it's fact rather than fiction. Before coming up with PL-TV (I'm working on the second in the series and beginning to plan the third) I was toying with a similar idea but I wanted my Anne Boleyn ghost to have some sort of interaction with the modern world. For instance, we know she was interested in fashion – what would she have made of our fashions now? If she had a T-shirt what slogan would she have on it? What about man-made fabrics and dyes? What does she make of London and Paris today? Could she accompany the person she is appearing to on the Eurostar?
Sorry, I'm beginning to go on now…!

June 12, 2011
6:50 pm
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Mya Elise
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I've also done a short story about Anne coming back as a ghost to tell her story to a very dedicated fan. It's modern day. I called it 'Interview with a Ghost: The Anne Boleyn story'. I want to finish it and maybe one day make it a novel. I thought it was a good idea.

no stealing though! Laugh

• Grumble all you like, this is how it’s going to be.

June 13, 2011
3:49 am
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Claire-Louise
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Anne fan said:

Claire-Louise said:

I've always enjoyed writing and thought about taking it up as a hobby. For a while now, I have wanted to write a novel which in some way incorporates Anne Boleyn. What I wanted to ask everyone on here though is how would you feel about a novel in which Anne Boleyn's ghost appears and/or communicates with certain characters?

This would of course, be a complete work of fiction, however I realise how some people take novels seriously (The Other Boleyn Girl for example) and I would not want people to think that I was basing my writing on fact. I would love to think that Anne Boleyn fans would enjoy reading my work, and so would not feel right creating something that would appear to be another Phillipa Gregory novel with a supernatural twist, and have History fans annoyed with my writing.

My idea really is that the spirit of Anne Boleyn communicates to tell her story-and I also want there to be flashbacks to Tudor times, which act like a vision of a darker version of our own world, and our own relationships. I would appreciate ANY opinions on this or any advice or suggestions.

Thanks

Claire-Louise x


Go for it – I've just finished one where Henry VIII and his six wives are guests on a post-life TV chat show. There's lots of fun to be had by stepping out of the strict historical constraints and (hopefully) people won't be confused into thinking it's fact rather than fiction. Before coming up with PL-TV (I'm working on the second in the series and beginning to plan the third) I was toying with a similar idea but I wanted my Anne Boleyn ghost to have some sort of interaction with the modern world. For instance, we know she was interested in fashion – what would she have made of our fashions now? If she had a T-shirt what slogan would she have on it? What about man-made fabrics and dyes? What does she make of London and Paris today? Could she accompany the person she is appearing to on the Eurostar?
Sorry, I'm beginning to go on now…!


Your TV chat show sounds fantastic! Have you ever watched horrible histories on CBBC? It's actually meant for kids but my 12 year old brother told me I had to watch it and it's hilarious! I think it probably is more aimed at adults to be honest I could really imagine your tv chat show being used on that..you should write to them.

Ah that is a good idea, my ghost stays very much within her own realm-so our novels would be so different..it will be great to see what we both come up with, I would love to read about Anne interacting with the modern world. I wonder what she would listen to on an iPod? maybe 'Lady Gaga-Bad Romance' Laugh

June 13, 2011
8:46 am
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Anyanka
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My 3 children have just discovered Horrible Histories. We spent the week-end watching them.

It's always bunnies.

June 13, 2011
9:59 am
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Claire-Louise
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Mya said:

I've also done a short story about Anne coming back as a ghost to tell her story to a very dedicated fan. It's modern day. I called it 'Interview with a Ghost: The Anne Boleyn story'. I want to finish it and maybe one day make it a novel. I thought it was a good idea.

no stealing though! Laugh


This sounds really great Mya, you should do! lol no of course not Laugh actually I would like to read your short story as to avoid any accidental similarities.

June 13, 2011
3:29 pm
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Anne fan
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Thank you for the vote of confidence Claire-Louise! I haven't watched Horrible Histories although I have seen the trailers. I'm seriously thinking of self-publishing via smashwords. They do a voucher offer so I'll make sure I post a code here. I can't afford to self-publish in print for the moment so it would purely be in electronic format but at least it will be out there.

 

Mya – one of the things I discovered when writing is that when you're researching the gaps in evidence means that serious historians come up with lots of different (and sometimes contradictory) points of view. As the fiction writer it's up to you to choose the one you think is most realistic and then fill in all the other gaps. Also everyone has their own way of expressing themselves so all in all it's quite difficult to copy.

 

Still if no one else is going to have Anne interacting with the modern world I might take my characters out of the TV studio in book four. (Although I do wonder what she'd have made of Lady Gaga's meat dress…!)

June 14, 2011
10:54 am
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Claire-Louise
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Anne fan said:

Thank you for the vote of confidence Claire-Louise! I haven't watched Horrible Histories although I have seen the trailers. I'm seriously thinking of self-publishing via smashwords. They do a voucher offer so I'll make sure I post a code here. I can't afford to self-publish in print for the moment so it would purely be in electronic format but at least it will be out there.

 

Mya – one of the things I discovered when writing is that when you're researching the gaps in evidence means that serious historians come up with lots of different (and sometimes contradictory) points of view. As the fiction writer it's up to you to choose the one you think is most realistic and then fill in all the other gaps. Also everyone has their own way of expressing themselves so all in all it's quite difficult to copy.

 

Still if no one else is going to have Anne interacting with the modern world I might take my characters out of the TV studio in book four. (Although I do wonder what she'd have made of Lady Gaga's meat dress…!)


Yeah, defiitely make sure you get it published in some form, I've posted a couple of horrible history videos on Off-Topic Chit-Chat Smile

Yes, take them out of the studio, what a great opportunity to be creative…I don't think Anne would approve of the meat dress at all would she! Laugh

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