Kelly Rodgers

Elements And Characteristics Of A Good Historical Fiction

Many people deter from reading historical books. They are labeled as boring and are, many times, hard to follow. The connotation of needing to remember dates becomes hard for people to follow. A reader would rather pick up a good romance novel than go for a historical book.

However, a good writer can help change this narrative. People can find historical books interesting because they actually are. Many historical fictions bring our past back to life. They bring emotion, sacrifice, and sufferings to the table for the reader to feast on. The power of a good historical fiction does not compare to any other genre. An excellent historical fictional novel has several elements that make it a good read. Keeping these in mind will help in both writing and finding the perfect book.


A book is written based on the characters it has. Characters need to be diverse and interesting to make the book enjoyable. But you must remember that your characters are based on a certain timeline. They are not supposed to have advancements outside of that era. A good historical fiction will stick to a certain timeline and will make sure that its contents revolve around that time. Derailing from this factor will make the reader lose interest and be very confused as to what they are reading.


Every era had a certain way of communicating. Making sure that you are sticking to that will be helpful. Certain words are only used in the modern world and were not added to dictionaries in those times. Making sure you have your research aligned when it comes to language will be essential. You also have to make the text easy to read. Do not overcomplicate things by adding fancy words and hard-to-understand vocabulary. Being a little frivolous is acceptable but blowing things out of proportion with a thesaurus is not.


You need to set everything according to that timeline. The costumes, area, surroundings, tone of the characters, housing, everything. You need to be very particular with these details, or it will make the reader lose focus and be very confused as to what timeline they are following.

My book, THE TRUTH TOGETHER, is also a historical fiction. I, as a writer, have paid keen attention when it comes to such details. The plot and the characters go through a time when the Jim Crow Law was introduced. The struggles the main characters go through are aligned with that time and the harsh realities that came along with it. Making sure that the reality of being a black woman were highlighted and the privileges of a white woman were mentioned.

Factual Information

There will be times when you, as a writer, will want to add something irrelevant to that specific era. You might feel like this would be an aspect people might appreciate. This will be a grave mistake. It will destroy the whole plot and everything that you built to come to it. You cannot bring material that is not relevant to that era. You will also have to make sure that you are adding well-researched, factual information. You, as a writer, will be responsible for bringing back the past to life. Adding irrelevant information will not be a suitable or responsible choice.

These are a few things that you, as a writer, should incorporate into your novel to ensure good historical fiction. The reader will appreciate this, and it will help them enjoy your hard work. Do not overcomplicate things for the reader, and make sure you are sticking to the information that is relevant and appreciated. Jerk a tear with your writings and help the world relive the past, no matter how cruel or saddening. Knowing the past only helps us avoid mistakes in the future.