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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
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 ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
39 votes
6 answers
5k views

How do you make characters relatable if they exist in a completely different moral context?

Usually when I read books in ancient-like settings (settings that are either in real ancient civilizations on Earth, or fantasy settings similar to those), there are relatable characters who employ ...
Bridgeburners's user avatar
28 votes
12 answers
7k views

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 ...
Sayaman's user avatar
  • 14.8k
27 votes
11 answers
8k views

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,...
brandi's user avatar
  • 295
22 votes
7 answers
6k views

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 ...
Cyn's user avatar
  • 32.4k
21 votes
6 answers
8k 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 ...
Karan Desai's user avatar
  • 1,987
19 votes
10 answers
2k views

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 ...
PoorYorick's user avatar
  • 2,852
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 ...
Grace's user avatar
  • 1,006
15 votes
3 answers
2k views

Historical Fiction: using you and thou

Generally speaking, English once used 'you' as the second person plural (equivalent to 'vous' and 'vós') and 'thou' as the second person singular (equivalent to 'tu'). When talking to a person in a ...
SC for reinstatement of Monica's user avatar
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 ...
Panda's user avatar
  • 1,139
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 ...
Becca M's user avatar
  • 143
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 ...
Marium's user avatar
  • 617
12 votes
5 answers
613 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-...
Avital S.'s user avatar
  • 231
11 votes
6 answers
2k views

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 ...
apenandadream's user avatar
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 ...
Village's user avatar
  • 383
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 ...
Caspian's user avatar
  • 1,475
9 votes
4 answers
674 views

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 ...
Cyn's user avatar
  • 32.4k
8 votes
5 answers
832 views

Does dialogue need to be accurate to the setting?

I am currently writing a story that is set in pre-WWI USA/America. I do not mind conducting research about the locations and the time. I do want to understand what experiences my characters will have ...
Snifkes's user avatar
  • 331
7 votes
4 answers
2k views

Writing a coherent alt-history universe

I have a problem writing my alt-history story. It's a story about basically World War I. Yet, I wish not to convey ideas of the time, like how which country was bad, which country was good. Indeed, my ...
Kaël's user avatar
  • 173
7 votes
6 answers
2k views

Miles or Kilometers for historical fiction?

I am writing a novel of historical fiction about the Second World War. It is written in the POV of several German and Russian characters but is intended for English readers. Which units of measurement ...
Suttroper's user avatar
  • 541
7 votes
1 answer
202 views

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 ...
Liquid's user avatar
  • 15.9k
6 votes
5 answers
338 views

Archaic language in a historical novel?

At the time period of the story, certain names are different from the modern day language. An example of the "Japan" word in Portuguese: Portuguese 2016: Japão Portuguese 1506: Iapam The ...
ballah's user avatar
  • 171
6 votes
3 answers
451 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 ...
Cyn's user avatar
  • 32.4k
6 votes
2 answers
443 views

How do I know what language is period-appropriate?

I write fiction set in 18th-century England and America. Obviously, they speak English, and equally obviously, they speak it very differently than we do today. For example, I need to know which ...
J Grunst's user avatar
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 ...
evan's user avatar
  • 63
5 votes
2 answers
188 views

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 ...
KaanTheGuru's user avatar
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 ...
Marium's user avatar
  • 617
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 ...
23296's user avatar
  • 51
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 ...
Marium's user avatar
  • 617
4 votes
3 answers
200 views

Appropriate use of outdated vocabulary and terms?

I'm in the process of planning a story right now, without the intention of sharing it it with others, but I would like it to be comprehensible if I do. It's set in the 1880s and is formatted like a ...
Wendigo King's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
287 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 ...
iamtowrite's user avatar
  • 1,909
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 ...
srini's user avatar
  • 1,223
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 ...
WriterFromEarth's user avatar
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 ...
user40738's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
168 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 ...
user11111111111's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
6k views

How to write a character speaking in broken english? [duplicate]

I found a slightly similar question from 2014 on here but a lot of the answers weren't helpful in my case (as they brought up points of the internet and such) so I'm going to try here... In my ...
Emma C's user avatar
  • 31
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 ...
Kandinski's user avatar
  • 139
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?
empty's user avatar
  • 459
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, ...
Marium's user avatar
  • 617
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 ...
Sadie's user avatar
  • 31
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 ...
user2352714's user avatar
  • 4,685
2 votes
1 answer
218 views

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. ...
Vigneswara Prabhu's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
308 views

How do I write dialogue to evoke a historical setting?

I want to write a novel set in the 12th century. I can learn about the platform for the story, like city life and culture of people at that time, by googling on the internet. But I don't know how to ...
Vikas Vats's user avatar
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 ...
Elle H.'s user avatar
  • 31
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 ...
Sayaman's user avatar
  • 14.8k
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 ...
wordsworth's user avatar
  • 3,137
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 ...
user63669's user avatar
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 ...
avenas8808's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
184 views

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 ...
Lance's user avatar
  • 221
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 ...
wordsworth's user avatar
  • 3,137