Historical Fiction

Historical fiction is a genre in which the writer take a real situation in history and adds a fictional element to it. It can also be described as a fictional story that is put in the past. This fictional element can be a fake diary like in the Royal Diaries and the Dear America series.  It could also be that some of the characters are completely made up, like in Mark Twain’s The Prince and The Pauper.

When you are writing historical fiction, make sure that you know enough about the setting and time period that you can teach someone else.  It is very important to keep your facts right.  Have you heard of the famous poem The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere?  In this poem, the author has poetic license to change the way the history is told.  In the poem the author makes a few mistakes like saying that Paul Revere was the only person riding and that he did it as a heroic act, not part of his daily job.  Even though this author had poetic licence, it wasn’t clear enough, because to this day most people still think that Paul Revere rode alone to free the United States.

Here are the elements of Historical fiction:

Character: The characters in a historical fiction story have to express the time period they are in. You have to make sure they are actually acting like they would in your time period. If your story is taking place, in, say, Ancient Rome, you don’t want the characters to go around saying things like Lol! or carrying around iPads with them. The characters will really show the setting if they are written right.

Dialogue: Dialogue is also tricky, and is similar to characters. You want to make sure that what the characters are saying relates to the time period. Over time, the meaning of words change, so you want to keep that in mind. You also want to make sure that the grammar and the vocabulary is correct from that time period, or else the story will not seem like it is historic.

Setting: Setting is really important because it shows the environment. Places now aren’t like they were in the past. You want to make sure you research the time period you are writing in, and make sure that what you have written, or what you will write is correct.

Conflict: You want to make sure the problem also relates to the time period. For instance, if you are writing in the 13th century, you can’t say that the network system crashed. That would contradict the whole point! Also, at times, you can get confused in your story, especially when you have a lot of ideas as a conflict, so it is important to set that out first.

***You also want to make sure that you read some historical fiction books that are from the same (or close to) time period that yours is in. This will help you to find technique, and add or remove things from your story.***