Questions tagged [historical-fiction]

Fiction set in a particular historical era and location. Exploring and experiencing the historical setting is generally the focus of this genre.

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Could I use non-English characters and expressions in a novel?

Currently I'm outlining a novel, mostly for fun, based in 9th century Norway. The closest to writing Old Norse names I can get is by using Icelandic characters like the ð and þ and the occasional á ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Is there a good reason to use a fictional country in a world with an alternate earth?

Is there a good reason to use a fictional country in a world with an alternate earth? I see a lot of TV show where we have an alternate history on earth and where we see Russian, American people ...
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Are there good books/references that list things that might have been politically dangerous to do during medieval times?

Are there good books/references that list things that might have been politically dangerous to do? I see webpages about tropes and they're helpful for quickly finding out what kind of plot elements to ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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How far back is historical fiction?

I'm writing a novel based in the mid-1970s. Would that be considered contemporary or historical fiction? How far back is historical fiction?
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How to express a foreign language's regionalisms while writing in English?

I plan to collect and compile my parents' and grandparents' stories from northeastern Brazil into historical fiction in English. That region of the country is very different from what is typically ...
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Are traditional mysteries still popular?

I'm planning to write a genre mystery set in the 1930s, but I'm afraid if there are still any literary agents accepting such kinds of books. Do readers nowadays prefer contemporary mysteries over ...
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2 votes
4 answers
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How do you write a character that has a different worldview than your own?

I'm trying to figure out how to write a character that has a radically different worldview from my own while still keeping it logically consistent. I know there are a lot of questions about how to ...
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Some usual military sayings [closed]

Can anyone please show me some common military sayings used in the 1800s (or 1900s)? I found some sentences but they are all new... My story takes place before the invention of airplanes, missiles, ...
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What are some strategies to integrate historical facts to a storyline?

What are several different ways to incorporate true facts into historical fiction without just giving a massive info dump? Whether big or little details, I want to inform the reader of facts without ...
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15 votes
6 answers
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Can I leave out details I don’t understand?

I have a situation where a character is locked in a cell for about two week’s time. This is a medieval setting. For plot reasons, the character is chained to a block in the middle of the cell. The ...
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14 votes
7 answers
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Distorting historical facts for a historical fiction story

So, I'm writing fiction but in it, historical events, such as wars between the French and British, are taking place. But, after doing research, it's looking to be difficult to squeeze my little ...
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Skipping chapters due to lack of resources

I am writing a historical fiction book. I do not have access to historical records/documents/historians so I tend to skip chapters saying I will write them later because I do not have the resources to ...
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How to write a novel which is taking place entirely in a foreign country, with foreign culture and foreign characters? [closed]

How to write a novel which is taking place entirely in a foreign country, with a foreign culture and foreign characters?
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Using minimal amount of dialogue to introduce two characters but still move the story along

I have always struggled with writing dialogue between my characters in my historical fiction novel. So, when it is possible to avoid dialogue, I avoid it. In the scenario I am writing, I have 2 ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Main Character Death

I have a main character out of 3 main characters in a Historical Fiction book. His name is Darius. I have planned for him to die in a POW camp during WW1, this will happen near the end of the middle/...
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3 votes
4 answers
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Replacing a historical figure with a fictional one

In a fiction novel with a strong historical foundation, can you replace a public figure with a fictional one? For instance, replacing the mayor of a city during a specific time period with a ...
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How can I make the premise of e.g. a short story more real?

As far as my motivation in writing goes, I have long been frustrated about historical fiction I’ve read where the main character is basically an American dressed up in a cloak and armor. The Caryatid: ...
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How to call a paper or book holding charms/incantation/magic formula? [closed]

Hope the title is clear enough. I'm also looking for any vocabulary related to the act of writing magic ( 'runes' as a magical writing system for example).
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of using 'third person POV' for historical fiction? [duplicate]

I am starting to write my second book which is historical fiction. I had written my first book in first person POV. It was a kind of self-help novel and I used first-person POV to let the reader ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Transitions in a Story

I’m writing a historical fiction story set in the 1800s; the family has to move a lot when the protagonist is younger due to financial reasons, and the siblings often live out of state. In the second ...
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5 votes
3 answers
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Writing Historically accurate diversity vs. Telling someone else's story

I am writing a story that takes place in a period of heavy political tension. It is a fictional world, but based off reality, especially American history. One of my main characters is a POC who joins ...
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How much "throat-clearing," or introduction and exposition, is acceptable to introduce a narrator?

I am writing Historical Fiction Novel. A Reporter is interviewing a Centenarian who narrates the story. The Centenarian's hobby is closely related the novel. The throat-clearing also introduces two ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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How to Avoid Personal Biases when writing Historical Fiction

I am writing Historic Fiction novel with the decades leading to 1947 Partition and bloody aftermath as backdrop. British Raj was divided based on religion. If person was on "wrong" side of border, ...
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How much can we alter History when writing Historical Fiction

I am writing Historical Fiction novel. I wish to add sub-plot based on actual events. However the sub-plot I add may not be consistent with what happened. For instance, what if a real-life King ...
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4 votes
6 answers
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How to NOT get sad when writing

I am writing historical fiction novel. Some parts are very sad. I am identifying with my characters to develop and write about them. How to move past the sadness and write about ill-fated ...
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13 votes
8 answers
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Will including maps at the end of my novel keep readers engaged?

I am writing a fictional historical novel. The setting is in another part of the world, nearly 100 years ago. I would wish to make the novel understandable to my fellow Westerner. Understanding ...
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How to Attribute Poem (written by someone else) in Novel

I am writing historical fiction. I am contemplating my character to compose a poem that was actually composed by someone in India, likely 1950s. This poet passed away in 2005. How to attribute this ...
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Should Person Write Query Letter and Synopsis in Chronological Order Even Though Story is Told in Pieces

I am attempting to write my first novel, a historical fiction. To help focus my story, I wrote the Query Letter and Synopsis in chronological order. However, the story is a narration by an old lady ...
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5 votes
2 answers
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Word Count Historical Fiction for Adults

I am writing Historical Fiction for Adults. What is the acceptable word limit. Some places say 80K to 100K Others say 150K If it matters, I plan to submit to publishers who accept manuscript ...
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1 vote
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Who are some people (or well-known fictional characters) that drew a lot of media attention in 18th/19th century Europe/US?

Suppose someone is suddenly exposed to a barrage of media attention today, they might say something like "I feel like a Kardashian". What if I have a character (in Europe) experiencing something ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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What genre would a fictional eyewitness account of a real historical event fall under?

I've written a short story about a true historical incident which involves a very famous person in history. The incident is true as are the people involved in it. But the story is a fictional ...
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11 votes
1 answer
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Is there a difference between historical fiction and creative non-fiction?

I have seen two similar terms, historical fiction and creative non-fiction. I'm writing some stories that are set during a real time in history, that might mention real events, real people, but that ...
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3 votes
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Including a real event in a story

I was thinking about writing a short story depicting a real event that took place over 2000 years ago. I'm not using any real person, but I am using the place and it's surroundings. I've seen plenty ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What types of resources and primary sources are helpful for getting into historical character?

When you are developing characters for fiction, and particularly historical fiction, what kinds of resources do you find most helpful in establishing a distinctive voice? Two suggestions I've heard ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Where to find primary sources for getting into historical character? (voicing)

What sites, libraries, or other organizations have strong, easy-to-browse collections of letters, diaries, and other primary sources that are great for authors doing research for historical fiction ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Will I get into trouble if I included some real life historical characters in my historical fiction / alternate history novel? [duplicate]

I'm planning on writing a story set in the past with some historical events as the background. My story will involve the protagonist meeting with some real life characters in history (a fictional ...
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27 votes
11 answers
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How do I stop my characters falling in love?

So I'm writing a short story based in a WW2 American military base camp stationed in Germany. It's about A Jewish Soviet soldier that, with the help of an American soldier and a series of coincidences,...
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9 votes
4 answers
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How to help the reader wrestle through historical atrocities which would be considered normal to the POV character

I'm writing historical fiction which is set in ancient China. My MC is a historical figure who really did go into battle as a woman. Women in the ancient world were abused and mistreated. Males ...
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11 votes
6 answers
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Any advice on creating fictional locations in real places when writing historical fiction?

I am currently working on a historical fiction novel set during the tail end of the Harlem Renaissance, in the 1930s. As such, I would really like to have the story take place in Harlem. However, the ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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What are some good historical sources for writing medieval battles?

This question popped into my mind after criticizing the strategic choices in a recent episode of a famous fantasy television show (coffs). A lot of genre fiction (mostly fantasy, even if we may cast ...
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21 votes
6 answers
7k views

Is it okay to majorly distort historical facts while writing a fiction story?

Suppose A is a famous historical character with a known history of emotional attachment with a particular set of people. If I would want to write a fictional story about character A that might involve ...
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23 votes
7 answers
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Showing mass murder in a kid's book

Galastel did a spin off question based on one of mine. Mortal danger in mid-grade literature. And hers has spurred a new one for me. This is an issue I've been grappling with for a while and I still ...
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4 votes
2 answers
251 views

Dialect resources for early/mid 20th Century Midwestern American speech

I'm setting the book I'm writing in the 1900s ~ 1950s, in the central states of the US: Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. I'm having difficulty getting the language for narration and dialogue ...
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28 votes
12 answers
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Should we avoid writing fiction about historical events without extensive research?

I was thinking about writing about the Holocaust, but I am not sure if it's a good idea since I am not sure if people would feel offended if I exaggerate certain events or facts even if it makes the ...
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6 votes
3 answers
430 views

Should I write a companion book/blog?

As a spinoff to this question: Incorporating research and background: How much is too much? I'm writing a middle-grade fantasy novel with a historical fiction component based in Ancient Egypt. I'm ...
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9 votes
4 answers
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Incorporating research and background: How much is too much?

The amount of research I'm doing for my novel is staggering. To the point where my spouse says I need to write a companion book (or a blog) just talking about the research! Sometimes I research for ...
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19 votes
10 answers
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Is it possible to narrate a novel in a faux-historical style without alienating the reader?

One thing that often annoys me in historical fiction or fantasy books is the dissonance between the writing style and the events and historical period described in the book. The writing is usually ...
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5 votes
2 answers
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Fictionalizing firsthand accounts from history?

I am currently in the research phase of writing my first novel that is based on a true historical event. Having obtained a ton of sources in more than three different languages, I have come across ...
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12 votes
5 answers
547 views

How do I respectfully write black characters in a 1930s Arizona setting?

I'm writing a cartoon script aimed at a children/young-adult audience (similar to the audience of Steven Universe, Gravity Falls, and Over the Garden Wall). It deals with the daughter of a Bonnie-and-...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Crafting an organic female platonic relationship [closed]

There has been a story in me for quite a while. It is of two girls, set in a feudal/medieval era. They met as children. One is a antisocial bookworm, highly opinionated with a quiet steely composure. ...
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