Historical Novels


Books Intro: About three years ago my former editor, J.T. Lindroos, who edited my three published books, suggested that I adapt my historically-based screenplays into books. I thought, "What an interesting idea," then jumped right into "Devil Dogs: The Battle of Belleau Wood."

Three or four months later I had 30,000 words of prose, which is 10,000 short of a short novel, putting it into the nebulous realm of novella or novelette (and below that is a novelini), which is unsalable. Worse still, I liked it better as a screenplay.

I repeated the process with "The Winds of Fate," and once again ended up with 30,000 words of prose that was better as a screenplay. And the same thing proved true with "Cycles."

Somewhat daunted, I tried yet again with "Head Shot: The True Story of JFK's Assassination." It too came out at 30,000 words, but I added a bunch of photos, and I think it came out pretty well. Okay, it's a novella, so shoot me. But I like the book version better than the script, although I think it really deserves to be made into a movie.

So then I decided to write an original historical novel, which came out being "Hitler's Dog Fuchsl." It's 25,000 words, although it was up to 40,000 at a point, but I cut 15,000 words. So it's a novelette. I think it's pretty good, and the early life of Adolf Hitler is fascinating to me, but I'm not sure that my literary conceit in the story really comes off. You tell me.

Then, just for the hell of it, and since I was basically in the same time period, I rewrote my first novel, "Mann's Revenge," which I originally wrote when I was twenty-five, in 1983. It's a short, full-length novel, and I've always liked it.

I have since written two and a half more historical novels, on Stephen Decatur, ancient Rome, and General Lew Wallace, and I don't like any of them and won't post them. I found it to be a difficult genre to work in, and I'm willing to put it down for a while and happily go back to screenplays.

--Josh Becker






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