Supposing you're asked by a beginning writer which books he should read to improve his skills in writing fantasy, you might say Tolkien's, and similarly, you might say Asimov's for scifi, etc.

I'd like to write an historical fiction. Which authors/titles would you recommend as "study material"? Not solely popular stuff, but also material from which I can actually learn the craft.

closed as too broad by Neil Fein Jan 3 '14 at 16:10

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Just as I would advise a fantasy writer to read more than just Tolkien (though his stuff should obviously be high on the list), I suspect the correct answer here would be to read lots of different historical fiction. – evilsoup Jan 3 '14 at 12:44
  • I agree fully; though I am trying to ensure that Tolkien is in fact on my list. – beginnerwriter Jan 3 '14 at 15:23
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    read histories. – hildred Jan 3 '14 at 15:59
  • Welcome to Stack Exchange Writers. This site works a little differently from traditional discussion forums; questions have to be specific and answerable, which means they need to be asked in such a way that they potentially can have a single, specific answer. I'm putting this on hold for now, but please feel free to edit if you can indicate what it is you need to know. There's more on this page of our help center. – Neil Fein Jan 3 '14 at 16:10
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    While you're narrowing down your question, consider what kind of historical fiction you're talking about. Are you just setting a fictional story in a specific time period in history, or do you want the story to be tied closely to specific historical events? Those are almost two different genres. And then there is fictional/alternative history, where your characters change history -- definitely a separate genre. However, ALL of these would require you to read lots of HISTORY. (@hildred) I'd suggest starting with works by Barbara Tuchman. She does a great job of peopling her histories. – dmm Jan 3 '14 at 21:22

I would say that lucky for you the best book I have ever read also happens to be historical fiction. I think that The Book Thief is a fantastic historical fiction book, and after reading it, I think my perspective of writing was turned upside down. There is a very interesting use of figurative language, so I would absolutely have to recommend reading it.

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