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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93
votes
12answers
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 ...
38
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6answers
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 ...
29
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12answers
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 ...
27
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11answers
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,...
23
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7answers
5k 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 ...
20
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6answers
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 ...
19
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10answers
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 ...
15
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6answers
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 ...
15
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5answers
3k 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 ...
14
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3answers
1k 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 ...
13
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7answers
3k 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 ...
13
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8answers
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 ...
12
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5answers
493 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-...
11
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6answers
1k 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 ...
11
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1answer
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 ...
9
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4answers
622 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 ...
8
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4answers
347 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 ...
8
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5answers
801 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 ...
7
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6answers
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
159 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 ...
6
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4answers
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 ...
6
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3answers
406 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 ...
6
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2answers
364 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 ...
5
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5answers
266 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 ...
5
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2answers
148 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 ...
5
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3answers
139 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 ...
4
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6answers
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 ...
4
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3answers
168 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 ...
4
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2answers
199 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 ...
4
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1answer
315 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 ...
4
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2answers
286 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 ...
3
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2answers
183 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
153 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 ...
3
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3answers
4k 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 ...
3
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1answer
160 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, ...
3
votes
4answers
140 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
199 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. ...
2
votes
3answers
244 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 ...
1
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2answers
77 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
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2answers
82 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/...
1
vote
1answer
96 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
101 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
3answers
83 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 ...
1
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1answer
57 views

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
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1answer
34 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
50 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
0answers
53 views

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 ...
0
votes
2answers
207 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
2answers
78 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 ...
0
votes
4answers
70 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).