Basic Rules of Historical Fiction Novels

Posted by Kristen House on October 27, 2019 at 8:00 PM

As a fiction book editor, I work with a range of topics and subjects, but one thing is usually a constant: most of my author clients choose to self-publish their book. In the self-publishing world, you don't have to follow the norms of genre writing to a fault, but it's recommended to stay within or close to the guidelines.

Some historical fiction books I've edited include The Final Departure by Epp Marsh III, Full of Grace by Weldon B. Durham, and Louisa’s Journey by Carol Otter.

Here's what you should aim for if you're writing historical fiction novels:

    • Details are important! Make sure your characters' mannerisms, habits, and clothing are accurate to their time period. A person's behavior should be dictated by the time they live in. Make sure you do your research.

    • Pay attention to things like transportaion, food, and social customs to make sure they're true to the time period and region. Take your time with sharing these details to truly bring your story's setting to life.

    • Show, don't tell the story. The best historical fiction novels are those that immerse the reader in a believable setting. Make sure you're showing the scenes as much as possible through your characters' eyes. But don't overshare information to the point that it feels like reading an encyclopedia! ;)

Word count: 85,000 to 100,000

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Book editor Kristen Hamilton is the owner and sole employee of

Kristen Corrects, Inc., where she provides manuscript editing

services for traditionally and self-publishing authors. Several

authors whose books she has edited have won awards and have

topped Amazon's best sellers lists.

Reading is Kristen's passion, so when the workday is over, she

can usually be found curled up with a good book alongside her

four cats. She loves watching cat videos and scary movies,

eating pizza, teaching herself French, and traveling, and she is

likely planning her next vacation. She lives outside of Boise, ID.

Categories: writing

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