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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How to refer to different versions of a character?

In my historical spy thriller, there are five different characters named Miku that our protagonist has to fight. So initially, they're refered to as Idol Miku, Vampire Miku, etc. etc. etc. But then ...
2 votes
2 answers
86 views

How do I make a historical fiction book seem real?

I am writing a story tentatively called Planes And Towers. It is a historical fiction book about siblings, Molly and Jacob Johnson, who are going on a trip to New York on September 11, 2001. They are ...
3 votes
1 answer
511 views

How can we avoid legal action from the family of a deceased dictator who we're caricaturing?

As we are writing a comic book, we find ourselves blocked by legal issues: The script contains fictional and real political elements including disputes and dialogues between dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu ...
2 votes
3 answers
129 views

Is it cultural appropriation to write historical fiction with a character from another culture, using elements of that culture and language?

I've been thinking about writing a historical fiction novel about the Korean War. It is told from the perspective of a Korean character and includes many elements of Korean culture and language. I am ...
2 votes
2 answers
74 views

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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
151 views

How much artistic license with history is needed for historical fiction?

I'm writing historical fiction and I'm at the research stage. My question is how much artistic license and fudging things with history do you need to do or should you do? The setting's the recent past ...
2 votes
1 answer
87 views

Fictional settings & fictional towns - how to be realistic with geography for a realistic setting?

I've been writing a short story - and the setting is semi-important to it, it's not just a backdrop. It's historical fiction of a sort - the 2000s is the era it's set in. Would this qualify as a ...
3 votes
4 answers
2k views

In historical fiction, should the narrator call the characters by their last names or by the nicknames used by other characters?

I'm writing a historical fiction. For context, it's about Robert Oppenheimer and how he swapped lives with a modern-day kindergarten teacher. Here's a little piece of dialogue between him and his ...
0 votes
4 answers
170 views

Is it morally right to base a novel on a tragic historical event?

I'm writing a historical fiction based on a historical tragedy where many people died. It's a very specific setting and situation, but I'm not using the names of any of the real people involved in the ...
0 votes
1 answer
68 views

Moving Historical Figure to Different Century?

Hello historical fiction writers! What do you think about moving a minor historical figure to a different century, but in the same historical epoch? Maybe this figure was alive too early or late for ...
1 vote
2 answers
115 views

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 ...
-1 votes
1 answer
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Why use "a throb of sensation" when referring to arousal?

I found this in Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas, set in Victorian England. She felt a throb verb of sensation noun. Shouldn't "sensation" be an adjective instead?
1 vote
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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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
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Are there any science fiction books (or historical fiction) which don't have specific "main characters", which talks in generalities instead?

I am considering how to write a "fiction" book about the far distant past (millions of years ago), like some sort of historical or science fiction book. I'm not sure if there is a specific ...
0 votes
1 answer
853 views

What does the social idiom "not received" mean?

I am struggling with a use of the word "received" that I have never seen before, in conjunction with a social status in 19th century America. Specifically, in Margaret Mitchell's Gone With ...
6 votes
1 answer
136 views

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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
76 views

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 ...
3 votes
2 answers
251 views

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?
2 votes
4 answers
351 views

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 ...
-1 votes
1 answer
102 views

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, ...
1 vote
2 answers
120 views

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 ...
15 votes
6 answers
5k views

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 ...
3 votes
2 answers
169 views

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 ...
14 votes
7 answers
4k views

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 ...
15 votes
5 answers
4k views

What is a good methodology for researching a historical novel?

I'm having difficulty with the research aspect of my historical novel. This question was originally going to be "how much research should one do to write a historical novel?" to which, answering my ...
0 votes
1 answer
134 views

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?
1 vote
3 answers
175 views

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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
151 views

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/...
3 votes
4 answers
388 views

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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
125 views

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: ...
0 votes
2 answers
233 views

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 ...
0 votes
4 answers
94 views

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).
1 vote
1 answer
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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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
112 views

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 ...
5 votes
3 answers
157 views

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 ...
13 votes
8 answers
3k views

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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
217 views

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, ...
4 votes
6 answers
4k views

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 ...
0 votes
2 answers
339 views

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 ...
0 votes
2 answers
172 views

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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
93 views

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 ...
5 votes
2 answers
703 views

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 ...
1 vote
3 answers
91 views

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 ...
101 votes
12 answers
17k views

How can I write about historical realities that readers mistakenly believe are unrealistic?

Readers have certain expectations about locations and time periods, things they "know". For example, people "know" that everybody in the Persian Empire was brown-skinned, that houses in Ancient Rome ...
4 votes
1 answer
425 views

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 ...
9 votes
4 answers
393 views

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 ...
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

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 ...
3 votes
2 answers
205 views

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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
111 views

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 ...
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 ...