What Is Historical Fiction? The Best Ways to Write It

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What Is Historical Fiction? The Best Ways to Write It

Historical fiction is considered such a literary genre in which past events are organized and reconstructed in order to write fiction stories. It may comprise historical people and events, dialogue, and other acceptable details.

What Is Historical Fiction?

What is historical fiction? According to The Guardian, “history is a storytelling genre, not a factual genre, and one that’s often confused with the modern one.” A good definition of historical fiction is “fiction about real events, people, phenomenon and events, or .” It’s fiction that takes on the challenge of reproducing and interpreting the past, and it does this to achieve a fictional and interesting read.

History is a fun subject to study and write about, and it offers plenty of exciting story ideas for writers. The difficulties of writing historical fiction are that it must be historically accurate, which often gets left behind in many published novels. It can be challenging to write it in the first place, so it’s great if you already have the experience of researching the past.

Historical fiction vs. historical non-fiction

There are some significant differences between historical fiction and historical non-fiction. What are more, historical fiction and historical non-fiction share some similarities, which make choosing the right genre for a particular topic a significant challenge?

When it comes to writing historical fiction, authors should consider many issues. This includes:

Inclusion of historical events, readers of historical fiction will not be as interested in random facts as that reading non-fiction. The inclusion of accurate details and information will provide more authenticity to the story. Readers will appreciate it. Readers of historical fiction will not be as interested in random facts as that reading non-fiction.

The Importance of Researching

But why should a writer choose historical fiction? There are several reasons why historical fiction should be a writer’s first choice of genre to write. The first reason is that it allows you to create your own world and your own history. All you have to do is create a plausible history for your fictional characters and the events that occur in their lives. The second reason is that many historians agree that it is one of the most creative forms of writing available to authors. But what is historical fiction? How do you write it? These are some of the questions I have received over the years from people who have written historical fiction. One of the best and most effective ways of writing historical fiction is to use primary sources as you write.

How to Write Historical Fiction

Writing historical fiction is a time-consuming task since the author needs to research the era and make the dialogue, scenes, and locations realistic. Here are some tips on how to write this genre:

— Write from an unbiased standpoint. Use research papers to find facts about history, local culture, religion, and other historical events that you can use in your fictional work.

— Avoid any elements that support the author’s belief about the historical events or people involved in the plot.

— Create believable characters. Write different points of view for each major character in your story to show that people from different times and places can have different opinions and motivations. This also serves to show that different perspectives can be valuable to the telling of a story.

The 3 Types of Historical Fiction

According to Barry Adam, historical fiction books consist of 3 different types:

Stories about actual people or actual events,

Stories about people who are alive today or who happened to live during that particular historical time,

And Stories about people who didn’t actually exist.

These different types of historical fiction should be distinguished from the other genres. A story about a story is essentially fictional, while a story with actual people in it is historical fiction.

RELATED: The Best Way to Write Historical Fiction

Stories about actual people or actual events

If a writer wants to write about an actual historical figure, for instance, George Washington, the writer has to first find real records, documents, and photos to prove his or her facts.

Choosing a Genre

When deciding which genre to write, consider the following questions:

How much of the genre would the story be able to pull off? This will dictate the structure of the work.

Is there enough to discuss? Is it timely? Can you stick to historical events, or can you skirt by events, or can you stretch them to include non-historical events that bring a current story to life?

Is the work historical enough? Does the work depict events from a particular time period, or does it make some fictional exceptions that don’t exist in real life?

What is the nature and tendency of the work? Is it funny? Serious? Anachronistic? In-between? How would it be read at another time?

Choosing a Publisher

Once you’ve picked a genre, you’re ready to choose a publisher.

Types of Characters

Historical fiction has a wide range of characters and writers vary greatly in the number and types of characters that they include in their books.

Many writers choose to include a historical character or real historical person in their books because they are intrigued by the way that a real historical person reacts to or responds to life and its complexities.

However, historical fiction is more than just a writer’s passion for history or the desire to share their knowledge with readers. In many instances, the character in the book is very important in the story, whether they have a role in bringing about a dramatic change or an important revelation.

The writers of the best historical fiction books recognize that it is also important to remember that their characters need to be human.

Common Challenges in Writing Historical Fiction

Historical fiction poses some challenges for writers, especially those who are not familiar with the challenges of historical research. In this article, we will provide some essential tips to help you write historical fiction successfully.

Types of Historical Fiction

Two forms of historical fiction, fiction, and non-fiction exist:

Fiction: Fiction is what is generally described as written in the present tense.

Non-fiction: Non-fiction is written in the past tense. If this writing is based on factual events or facts, it should not be classified as historical fiction.

Historical fiction can be challenging for writers to write because it requires researching historic events and historical figures.


The type of historical fiction you choose to write will affect the style of your writing and your chances of success. To choose a genre, you will need to evaluate the specific market and readers’ preferences and needs.

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Getting Started in Writing Historical Fiction

So now you know all about how to write a historical fiction book, so let’s look at some additional aspects of historical fiction to consider.

How does history influence the writing process?

How does the author use their experience and imagination to design a book that is likely to be relatable to their readers?

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