Generally, there are four basic biographies: Academic Biography, historical fiction, prophetic biography, and fictional biography. This article discusses historical fiction with its history, five common elements of historical fiction, and Essential tips for writing historical fiction.
Historical fiction, where the story takes place in the past, is a literary genre. Historical novels capture the details of the period as precisely as possible for authenticity, manners, customs, and traditions, including social norms. Many noble in this genre tell fictional stories that involve actual historical figures or historical events.
History of Historical Fiction
Historical fiction in contemporary Western literature dates back to the early 19th century as we know it. Sir Walter Scott, James Fenimore Cooper, Honoré de Balzac, and Leo Tolstoy were among the first novelists to explore the historical setting as its concept for a book.
By the early 20th century, the genre was thriving in the United States, focusing on war stories, like Kenneth Roberts’ Arundel about the American Revolution or William Faulkner’s Absalom, about the American Civil War.
Five common elements of historical fiction
The setting is an essential part of a historical fiction novel. It should occur during an authentic period in history and set in an accurate historical site—for example, New York City during the Great Depression or Paris, France, during World War II.
The plot in a historical fiction novel is a combination of actual events and fictional events. You can invent characters, cities, and events, but they still must make sense to the period. For example, a novel set in London, England, in 1666 would benefit from incorporating the Great Fire of London, a significant turning point in the city’s history.
The characters can be honest, fictional, or both, but they should all look, speak, and act in ways that accurately reflect the era. For example, suppose you are writing a book about Mary Tudor. In that case, it shouldn’t disregard or reinvent her family history as the daughter of Henry VIII and sister to Elizabeth I, who both played an important role in Mary’s reign.
The dialogue must be authentic to the period and reflect the status of the speaking characters. For example, British soldiers in the Revolutionary War wouldn’t use the Western slang of today.
Problems encountered by the People in that era and the problems the characters encounter should be conflicting. So, for example, your book might describe the hesitation and fear German soldier feels as he is to the Eastern Front, where he knows he is likely to die.
Essential tips for writing historical fiction
If you are writing your historical fiction novel, remember the following essential tips:
Before writing, brainstorm the ideas
When you are ready to start writing historical fiction but don’t know where to start, spend some time writing in your notebook about a period or historical event you’re interested in writing. First, you have to note any assumptions you have about the period, cultural depictions of it in other books and films, and what precisely interests you about this moment in history.
Find an exciting way of the period
Consider using a historical period as a backdrop and placing fictional characters and events within that world. Or, create fictional characters and choose a historical event who experienced it and whose lives were affected at that time.
Do your research
In addition to getting the historical facts correct, the more minor details are important, too. You can write an inventory of the components in your work that you haven’t researched but should check. Possibly, these will be small things such as the color of refrigerators—whose accuracy will keep a reader interested and make your story more credible.
Build a world
World-building makes historical fiction books more authentic and gives readers a reason to keep coming back. Don’t forget to include details about the world. Your story offers readers historical context and relatable ones to keep the story grounded. However, don’t add information about every part of your world-building advanced story.
Flexible in dialogue
Different historical eras have a different vocabulary and grammatical structures. Include occasional words and phrases to reinforce the historical setting, but don’t include so many that the novel becomes challenging to read and less enjoyable.
Add fictional characters
Even if you’re writing about actual events, you can take some creative liberties. For example, introducing fictional characters to complement those based on actual historical figures can help you move the story along, inject personality, and keep it entertaining.
- Wikipedia Historical fiction