Do you write Historical Fiction? Writing historically accurate fiction starts with RESEARCH.
Well, duh! I know that.
Most writers will take for granted a great many aspects that can lend more credence to their works, as well as a better experience of the story they want to put forward to readers. Additionally, if you want to be considered historically accurate, you must behave as a historian–do your due diligence. Can it always be done? Some things might slip past you. No human is perfect. Try your best. This series is going to help by presenting articles of interest from around the internet and get you started on the research necessary to complete an amazing manuscript.
Historical Writing Prompts
Not all writers come to writing with a full blown idea in their head. I’ve been lucky so far to either have an odd dream or get inspired from some outside stimulus (documentary, article, television show). So when you’re not dreaming fantastical things and the shows you watch make you feel that there is no room for improvement, or all the ideas are stale, where do you go?
The great thing about history is that it’s vast. You won’t be stepping on many toes, unless you tread the same paths that have already been tread a million times before. I suggest not getting your ideas from documentaries on The History Channel. They’re limited in their scope, and often serve one researchers opinion and research on a highly popular topic. Though the research would be easy, the wiggle room you’ll have to write a fiction will be narrow. This might be good, and it might be bad–depending on what you’re looking for. If you’re interested in writing the 200th interpretation of Henry VIII and his wives, then you’ll have all the material you can hope for to basically copy and paste a collage. The onus will be on you to make your readers think that you have any new insight into a well-researched and discussed period, person and place. That ends up placing you in a narrow niche market, so be mindful.
Now, say you want to write about a maid who witnessed the time, then you might have something more compelling, like the Handmaiden’s Tale. You’ll have a lot of information around her world, but you’ll need your creativity to create a series of scenes that are compelling and insightful into the topic. Are you speaking about the plight of women? Perhaps you’re speaking about medieval life in some other vein? Whatever you choose you have to find something compelling to wind your story around: the nugget that is powering the machine.
Writing prompts can help focus your attention. What is a writing prompt? A writing prompt can be anything. It’s that thing that suddenly opens up the flood gates and the story starts forming beneath your proverbial pen. It could be a leading question, a painting, a short anecdote or an incident. So then, you will want to research the answer to the question, the story behind the painting, the story behind the anecdote or the incident. Soon, your little handmaiden is in a world of her own, teaching readers a great deal about her time and place in society.
Remember when researching you want to ask: Who, What, Where, When and Why. You’ll flesh out your story around these old prompts just as you always have now that you know the answer to a few of them.
Check out some weird history facts below that might help prompt your next writing.
Betsy Ross had girls sleep with enemies during the revolutionary war to gain intel. (Pretty much ran a brothel).
Find More Historical Writing Prompts here:
Have a topic you’d like discussed on writing historical fiction? Leave me a message and I will do my best to get to it.