Re-post: Author Tips on Writing Historical Fiction

This is a re-post from M.K. Tod who writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her recent post included a list of tips on writing Historical Fiction as acquired from around the web. Instead of re-blogging I decided to re-post some of those tips here, they are just too good to let pass us by so I organized them in the list below so we can see them all. Please visit A Writer of History for author source and to comment on her blog. I would also suggest you follow her (especially if your a historical fiction writer), she is always on point with her guest authors, links, and advice:

  • Let the characters engage with the historical details – a variation on show don’t tell


  • Allow your characters to question and explore their place in society – doing so reveals the context of the times


  • Love the process, because readers will still find errors


  • Sweat the Small Stuff – small details allow readers to engage all senses in the past world you are building


  • Dump the Ballast – too much detail is a killer


  • Read historical fiction – sounds obvious doesn’t it but you have to appreciate excellent historical fiction in order to be successful


  • Know when to stop researching – cautions about falling down the proverbial rabbit hole


  • Research comes before writing – get the facts right to ensure a good foundation for your novel


  • Inhabit the mind and skin of your characters – you have to understand the sensibilities of the time so your readers can feel immersed in it


  • Pick a universal theme if you can – the concerns of your novel need to resonate with modern readers


  • Choose a time and place that really intrigues you – passion will make your story more compelling

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I write Black Historical Fiction, and Soulful Poetry for the freedom of all people. Visit me on the web at

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