If you are a history buff, you would most likely want to publish your very own historical novel. And why not? Writing a historical novel is a joy, and you can make your own mark on history with your book. You could also follow the path of great historical fiction writers such as Bernard Cornwell and Conn Iggulden. But as great a prospect as it is, writing a historical novel takes a lot of work, research and motivation. You will also need a set of writing strategy.
When writing a historical novel, you should:
1. Do your research
If there’s one thing you should remember about writing a historical novel, it is the fact that you should be as thorough about your research as possible. This is because your potential readers are very picky about your research work. And any errors could be detrimental to your trustworthiness as a writer. So before you even think of having your work published, you should make sure that all your facts are well researched and you have sources and facts to back your claim.
2. Don’t be afraid to steer away from historical facts…but not too much
When writing a historical fiction book, you should never limit yourself to just facts. Remember that you are writing historical fiction, so its ok to veer away from a fact based approach. You can create your own narrative and base it on real life events. Just as long as you don’t change any of these events in the process. For example, you can write about the day to day life of an American soldier during the Second World War. You can portray him as helping win a pivotal battle during the war. It is ok to have him interact with historical personalities. Just as long as you don’t change any key events of the war, such as its outcome and how it affects the world. Overall, writing historical fiction is all about finding balance.
3. Detail is key
Detail is key if you want to write a truly great historical novel. This is because potential readers are very particular about every detail of the story. And this is not just the dates or facts. The details could also include the type of clothes the people wear during a particular timeline. It could also be the food they eat, the religion they followed etc. Overall, the more detailed and accurate your writing, the more your readers will respect you.
4. Steer clear of stereotypes
If there’s one thing you should steer clear of when writing a historical novel, or any novel in general. It is stereotypes. This is because stereotypes are overused tropes that most readers know about. And if you use them, you could really gain the ire of your potential readers and lose their respect. So when you are coming up with a concept for your historical novel, don’t resort to stereotypes. Try to come up with something truly original.