PublishNation, UK self publishing books & Amazon Kindle ebooks

Self publishing, marketing and editorial support for UK writers

Historical Fiction Writing Guide

Historical Fiction Writing Tips

Bring the past to life with a well-written historical fiction book and take advantage of a huge market on Amazon. Learn how to combine your imagination with the authenticity of the time period to keep the story believable and engaging. With the right balance of research and creativity, you will have readers hooked on every page!

Ask for help from experts

Unfortunately for you, the internet isn’t the best resource for historical research, as it’s full of flawed information, particularly on periods of time that the author or webmaster won’t have been present for. Whilst of course it’s impossible to get everything spot on, you need to stay as authentic as possible. The best way to research is to ask for help from experts; be that professors, historians or those who have already written about a similar time or topic. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice – most of those who are passionate about an era will embrace the opportunity for it to continue to be promoted through more writing.

Stay true to reality when referring to real people

You’ll never know exactly what was said, done or thought by any individual on the planet other than yourself, so when writing about real people it’s natural that you’ll apply some artistic license. When you do reference real characters through your story you need to remain as reasonably responsible toward their persona as possible. Researching and referencing the who, what, when, where and why of a character can help you draw upon their voice and attitudes easily and reflect this through into your coverage of them.

Don’t judge different cultures and attitudes

There are many, many aspects of history that sit uncomfortably with today’s societal values. It can be difficult, therefore, to find some characters within your story likeable: and even more difficult to not judge them for it. It’s imperative that you remain neutral in your tone toward cultures and attitudes of the time you’re writing about, even if they don’t fit with your personal values and beliefs. If it was ‘how things were done then’, let it be so. It’s not your place as author to pass judgment.

Use a ‘historical note’ disclaimer at the end

There will always be someone who reads your book and finds it their place to draw attention to or question historical details written within it. Human nature dictates even the best of writers won’t manage perfect accuracy, but if you’re worried about the details or have used more poetic freedom than you expected, add in a short disclaimer at the back. Being honest about your ability and estimations is always the best policy – and you should never allow a small detail or two to get in the way of a damn good story!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *