So, you want to transport readers to the past. Fantastic! The most common advice we hear is: research, research, research! And yet, know that it’s impossible to write a completely accurate historical fiction that will modern readers will understand and enjoy. Also, as in sci-fi and fantasy, you need to reveal those historical details slowly, through the characters and events.
Some basic tips on writing historical fiction and its basic types.
Here’s one writer’s take on this tension between authenticity and relatability.
Listen to Ruta Sepetys talk about the inspiration for her historical novel Between Shades of Gray, as well as her research methods. Now, you may not have the resources to travel and conduct interviews the way she did, so you’ll need to research from home!
Check out primary sources to help you get a feel for your time period.
- The Library of Congress
- The British Library has tons under “Collections.”
- Researching other countries? Here’s a list of national libraries.
- Many major countries and cities have specific historical societies and museums.
For more research, check out the research section of our library website. 🙂