Historical fiction novels aren't just for the book nerds anymore. As one of the most versatile genres in literature, historical fiction has a deep value in our culture. There are many ways to prove this is true, but today we're going to address three of them: they're both history and fiction, so there's something for everyone; there's such a wide spectrum of what can be written; and they can be amazing teaching tools.
Let's go into a bit more detail about why historical fiction novels are such great books to write.
They're history - and fiction
As the name implies, these types of books are a clever combination of history and fiction. We can't know the lives of all of the people who ever lived, but we can know about periods in history and even the lives of some specific people.
History buffs love historical fiction because it allows them to enter the world of the time period they love so much. For example, someone who loves the Civil War would relish good historical fiction set during the war because they could feel like they were there. Someone who doesn't really care about history necessarily but likes a good story has something to love as well. A good story is good regardless of whether or not it's based on history.
There's a wide spectrum to write about
Let's face it: there's been a lot of history that's happened in the past! That's sort of a silly statement to make, but what it means is there's so much time to write about. Whether you're interested in prehistoric days, ancient Rome, the Ming Dynasty in China, the Middle Ages, early American history, or any other period in time, there are thousands and thousands of years worth of story to tell. An author wouldn't even have to take the time to make up a world because it's already existed!
Another great thing about the wide spectrum of historical fiction is that some of the events that have happened in our history are quite fascinating and make great novels in themselves. Events like wars, political events and scandals, and great stories of new discoveries are excellent material for writing - or reading - a good novel.
Historical fiction can be a great teaching tool
There are some people who failed history in school but have seen Lord of the Rings so many times they can walk from the Shire to Mordor in their sleep (and probably do). The reason they have no trouble recalling facts from that trilogy is because they learned it in story form.
If an author can leverage interesting storytelling and combine it with actual history, people who hate history will begin to learn pieces of history without realizing it. It's a great Trojan horse, the idea of dressing up historical facts in a great story. It's kind of like hiding vegetables in a meat loaf to get your kids to eat it. What an amazing educational tool a well-done historical fiction novel can be!
If you'd never considered historical fiction before, I hope you have now. We've talked about how well history and fiction can blend into a great novel, considered just how much history there is about which to write stories, and realized how wonderful an educational tool a good historical fiction novel can be. Your next step is to think of your favorite time period and check out a history-based book to read!
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If you like novels of exciting ancient romance and adventure, you might find something in the website of author William B. Chalfant. Click on the link to check out his collection of historical and fantasy novels.
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