7 Elements of Historical Fiction

All hail historical fiction!

A Writer of History

Apparently, more than 10,000 people have read this post since I wrote it in March 2015. Who would have imagined? As it seems to be so popular, I thought I’d repeat it today. Enjoy!

All writers of fiction have to consider seven critical elements: character, dialogue, setting, theme, plot, conflict, and world building. While every story succeeds or disappoints on the basis of these elements, historical fiction has the added challenge of bringing the past to life.

Since I work best by example, I’m developing an explanation of the seven elements in the context of historical fiction.

Character – whether real or imagined, characters behave in keeping with the era they inhabit, even if they push the boundaries. And that means discovering the norms, attitudes, beliefs and expectations of their time and station in life. A Roman slave differs from a Roman centurion, as does an innkeeper from an aristocrat…

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Historical Fiction – four top book blogs

A Writer of History

Always the analyst looking for an angle, I decided to examine the top blogs participants submitted in my recent survey. Of course, I first had to crawl through the recommendations again, create a spreadsheet and count them. My numbers might be off by one or two, however, the main players are clear.

The top two – Reading the Past and Passages to the Past – are neck and neck at 58 and 56 mentions. The next two – Historical Novel Society and Historical Tapestry – earned 30 and 24 respectively. CONGRATULATIONS TO THE TOP FOUR !!

From there, the numbers drop to 12 or fewer mentions which I think is interesting in and of itself. And beyond that we have scads of small book review sites, some with a historical fiction orientation, some more eclectic, some focused on particular time periods, some concentrating of topics like historical naval fiction or…

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The Survival of the Illinois Country French

Just because I love it… and it somehow deals with my story about Saint Louis area.

Voyageur Heritage • • • Community Journal & Resource Guide

by Nathanael C. Alire

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Many are not aware of the French descendants residing in what is now Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana in a region historically referred to as “Le Pays des Illinois” (The Illinois Country) or “Haute Louisiane” (Upper Louisiana). Historic French settlements such as Saint Louis, MO; Ste. Genevieve, MO; Prairie du Rocher, IL; Kaskaskia, IL; and Vincennes, IN are amongst the most well-known towns celebrated through their local French heritage and distinct culture and traditions.

11160562_1049973465030234_6733328650325965514_n Fort de Chartres, founded on the east bank of the Mississippi in what is now Illinois in 1720.

It is easy to visit Ste. Genevieve and get lost in time whilst walking the streets; bearing sight on the old French Creole homes of unique colonial design. One may feel the energy of battle outside of Prairie du Rocher where the popular Fort des Chartres lies, open to the public and the host of…

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A Brief Guide To A Fantasy Arsenal

Useful advice not only for fantasy writers. Historical fiction works too…

Nicholas C. Rossis

I hosted the other day a guest post by my author friend, Charles E. Yallowitz, but today I’m sharing his excellent series of posts he has written on fantasy (Medieval) arsenal. Charles has recently shared posts on the types of swords, shields, and projectile weapons used in fantasy (and inspired by real-life Medieval and ancient weapons). I hope he continues this series, as it’s a great resource for all of us fantasy writers (by the way, if you haven’t checked out his blog yet, you should do so for his great tips on writing rounded characters, his fun fantasy short stories and a lot more).

So, let’s start with that staple of fantasy…

Swords

Sword types | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksHere is what I’ve been able to find out about swords:

Two-handed swords

  • the European longsword, popular in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance.
  • the Scottish late medieval claymore (not to be…

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Nunta la Lipoveni

Pentru ca ador toate traditiile lumii.

Jurilovca online - Comuna Jurilovca -Rusi lipoveni Jurilovca

E un ritual necunoscut pentru majoritate. Care incepe cu o lunga perioada de petit si logodna, continua cu vinzarea/cumpararea miresei si cu petrecerea burlacilor, dar mai ales cu traditii specifice de cununie. O nunta lipoveneasca e un adevarat eveniment pentru comunitate si, in acelasi timp, o ocazie de pastrare a specificului etnic.

***
La lipoveni nu s-a pomenit mireasa cu decolteu, volanase si cap descoperit. Femeia lipoveanca n-ar indrazni sa apara in fata preotului, pentru cununie, fara sa fie imbracata in costumul traditional si fara sa aiba capul acoperit de un batic.
Pina la momentul cununiei e drum lung insa, cu petit, logodna, „devisnik”, cumparat/vindut mireasa.
Rolul de petitor revine, de obicei nasului de botez sau unui apropiat al familiei viitorului mire. Intr-o zi de duminica sau de sarbatoare, neaparat inainte de apusul soarelui, petitorul merge la casa fetei. Daca aceasta accepta cererea, ii trimite baiatului un batic.

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The Countess of Carlisle

Milady de Winter… the real one.

Cryssa Bazos

This article was originally posted on the English Historical Fiction Authors (EHFA) site on May 4th, 2017. For more in-depth articles on British history, visit the EHFA. You won’t be disappointed.


6848901536_4b3eb5a2ac_z Photo credit: xelaba via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

One of the most intriguing characters in historical fiction is Milady de Winter of the Three Musketeers. Alexandre Dumas depicted her as a lethal spy whose loyalties were sold to the highest bidder, notably the Cardinal Richelieu.

The inspiration for Milady was a socialite and renowned beauty of her day, Lucy Hay, Countess of Carlisle. Though Lucy was not an agent of Cardinal Richelieu, she held court at a time of social upheaval when men were drawing battle lines against King Charles I. The real woman was even more fascinating than the fictional one.

Lucy_Percy_van_Dyck_2-3 Lucy Percy, by Anthony van Deck [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons Lucy Hay was born Lucy…

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