Historical Stories
For discussion of the posted stories and writing historical stories.
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Hi, guys. All the stuff I've written are all contemporaries. I want to write a historical story, and I'm not sure what period yet. I don't know where to start. Can you please give me tips on researching, the writing process, etc? I'd really appreciate your advice. Thanks in advance.
5/14/2007 #1
Le Cosmonaute
Well, first you have to decide whether you're writing during a war period or a peace period, and if it's a war period, depending on the story, you should find out when the battles took place, where, what the people wore and spoke like, their overall behavior, of course the last three are for both categories. If it's peacetime, then just find out those three and their lifestyles. You should think of questions you want answered and go looking, and even though it's usually trustworthy, look in sites other than wikipedia if you can. Depnding on the period and the subject I can recomend a few if you need. I hope this helps!
5/14/2007 #2
Madison L
Avoid Wikipedia if possible when doing research. Stick to sites designed around your time-period, and try to get your hands on some actual books from time to time. Nothing beats non-electronic research. But you do need to choose a time period before anything else. Pick something that interests you, or that you already know a little about. Make sure you continue to narrow it down. Say you want to work in the 16th century; choose where you're going to set your story (England was quite different from France, for example). If we're still in the 16th Century, and we've chosen England, you need to choose which end of the century you're at. Once you've got that, you can start to pick some events you want to wrap the story around. For example, you might pick the demise of Katherine Howard, Henry VIII's fifth wife, a very popular topic at the moment. Then you can decide whether your main characters are going to be fictional, or if you're going to use only real people, or both. I find that making lists is not only useful, but kind of fun. I love family trees, and they'll help you keep all your characters organized. Timelines are also helpful, and practical in a Historical Fiction. Hope that was helpful, and good luck writing your story!
5/22/2007 #3
disused account
This seems like the best topic to ask for this. I posted a chapter of my American Civil War novel, about a fictional Irish unit, and would LOVE to get some honest opintions!
3/25/2008 #4
awilla the hun

I have found wikipedia to be rather useful. It certainly helped out with this bizarre Renaissance Venetian version of The War of the Worlds, which can be accessed on fanfiction. I managed to get accurate weaponry, monarchs (if not appearances- Doge Pasqual Cigona had an odd lack of portraits on the internet), geography, etc.

6/12/2008 #5

Wikipedia tends to be okay for the general stuff--like when battles were and what wars lasted how long--but for the really in-depth details you need books and specialty websites to get accurate information. It takes longer and is more expensive, but if you're really serious about writing, it's what you need. (*gazes fondly at waist-high stack of Civil War reference books on bedroom floor*)

7/7/2008 #6
Robespierre Cincinnati

For history nothing beats an encyclopedia. I have a whole set of them, and you could find every major battle and details of them in a war (if you were doing wartime) in an encyclopedia.

8/1/2009 #7

What I find to be most helpful are this handy little Sparknotes books designed around certain historical time periods. They sell them at Barnes and Noble for $5 a piece and they have a great selection of topics. I'm currently writing a historical piece set in 1917-1919(ish) and so I'm using the Russian Revolution and World War I Sparknotes books. If you can't find them at BN, try Amazon.com. Even college textbooks are great to use as well!

12/28/2009 #8

Here's a link to the Sparknotes books

12/28/2009 #9
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