Christopher Sinclair

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Authors
Cotten, Andrew Peabody
Issue Date
2021-04-24
Type
Thesis
Keywords
School of Letters Thesis 2021 , University of the South , School of Letters , Boston Massacre , Historical Fiction , Hero's Journey , Joseph Warren , Paul Revere , Sam Adams , Sons of Liberty , American Revolution , Boston , Freemason
Abstract
Home after a year-long mission abroad, the novel’s eponymous hero is eager to continue his work with the Sons of Liberty, but a radical splinter group within the organization threatens to erase everything he and his colleagues have worked tirelessly to accomplish. Racing against spies, soldiers, and duplicitous allies, Christopher Sinclair will use his experience as a ranger and his expertise in espionage to stop these extremists before their incendiary plots destroy the very town they claim to be saving. I spent a great deal of time researching the people, events, and places represented in this story. At times, my fascination with the subject led me to overload the text with tangents, unnecessary backstory, and microscopic detail. In The Art of History, Christopher Bram said, “There is pleasure in recovering old things from the junk shop of History, but an overload of details can clog a narrative.” The thesis process allowed me to identify and cut anything unrelated to Sinclair or the central conflict. For example, when Sinclair enters a room, I describe what Sinclair would see, not everything as a means of establishing my knowledge of the era. Setting is an integral part of the story, but I learned through trial and error that “place”—what Welty calls a “lesser angel”—should be secondary to character and conflict. Every historical fiction writer should ask themselves, “Why tell this story, and why tell it today?” This is especially true of the stories ingrained in our public consciousness. The American Revolution, for instance, is brimming with story, but we, for the most part, have stopped exploring the vast history in favor of preserving the narrow myth. Christopher Sinclair takes place during the events leading up to and after the Boston Massacre. Despite being a piece of fiction, I hope to bring to life a complicated story that’s been reduced to Paul Revere’s famous engraving. Since its publication at the end of March 1770, Revere’s “The Bloody Massacre” has transformed from a blatant piece of propaganda to an integral piece of the glorious story we tell about our nation’s triumph over tyranny. I want to tell a familiar story differently, and by doing so, invite the reader to re-evaluate what they know about our supposed “history.” Hopefully, by re-examining the events that inspired the American Revolution, we can better understand the traditions and beliefs we hold so dear today.
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