A Mystery Of History? 3 Signs You're Ready To Write Your Historical Novel
A fascinating subject in school, history doesn't suddenly become less exciting — or less necessary to know about — after you leave the formal educational system. Having a love of history and a penchant for writing are a perfect combination to lead to a historical novel that readers will not only learn from but also enjoy.
But how do you know that you're up to the (rather daunting) task? If you're still a little on the fence, here are three signs you're ready to write your historical novel right now.
#1: You've Chosen a Focus
The most important part of choosing to write any type of novel, your choice of focus is even more crucial in a historical novel. Because history is so big and complex, the smaller you can whittle your focus down to, the tighter and more cohesive your novel will be.
Whether you choose a particular historical figure (like Cleopatra), a year of some significance (like 1776) or an era (like the Edwardian era), making sure you keep to your focus no matter the temptation to stray outside of it will make your novel the best it can be.
#2: You've Compiled Your Sources
If you've ever read a historical novel, you'll have noticed that it seems like the entire last third of the thing are sources. That's a good example to follow when you're writing your own historical novel; the more sources you have, the more facts you have, and facts are the backbone of your book.
Compiling and reading through sources before you begin will also help you avoid unconscious bias. If, for example, you already know a lot about the thing you're writing about, it's tempting to begin writing first and fill in details later. However, this approach can lead to you just finding sources that support your biases and ignoring those that contradict you — and that can make your novel shallow and one-sided.
#3: You've Considered a Theme
Yes, just like any other type of writing — technical, professional, scholarly, or fiction — you need to consider what the theme of your novel will be. Even though it's based in fact, your historical novel should still drive to a point that is supported by the events and opinions of the person/era/etc.
Read through your sources carefully and determine common threads by writing down things that reoccur throughout multiple sources. Then, take a look at the narrative outline of your work and decide what thread is supported most and could become the theme of your novel.
Having these three tasks completed will send you well on your way to writing a fulfilling and educational historical novel that readers will pick up and read through again and again. For more information, contact a company like Rekindled.