What makes a good historical novel?
What characteristics, types of characters or events, and details would make it seem more real?
Good question . I think that it should be interesting and dramatic. Also when writing a historical novel do something creative and fun ( out of the box ). Make your story relate to now . Meaning describe places and events in your story that people are familiar with . People back then had the same problems we do today . Pick a time period that interests ... I mean a period that you are so passionate about you would want to relive it again or live in that period in time. The novel should be historically accurate even if it is fiction . I am using history to tell about why the house in my book is so hunted . The last part of my novel will take place in 2012 . So in other words I am using history to give back ground knowledge at first then I am taking the story into the future . If you like horror stories or movies as I do a good example of this was the remake of the " Amity-ville Horror" . I have seen the original but the new one was better and scarier because it went back in time to tell why the horrific events was happening. Again make it interesting and out of the box , write about something you have passion for . I hope it helps thanks for asking me and feel free in contacting me.
I have never written one, but I have read TONS of them. Lots and lots of research is the answer. It also helps to read many primary source documents and even literature written around that time so that one can understand how people spoke and how their minds worked. Most of the historical novels I have read were good. The few bad ones were almosty always centered on military events and armies, which any fool can write about. Soldiers are pretty much the same in any language or time period. The challenge is to write about the events of real people and the events of the real world.
Know your subject matter inside out. The best historical writers are those who really do their research, they delve into the nitty gritty of their subject matter and from there pull characters and stories that have yet to be told. Of course, the fact is not always the most interesting so of course, be creative with your material, put your own spin on historical events but keep your time lines consistent with the fact, as well as births/deaths etc.
Historical novels are steeped in rich and vivid descriptions, remember you are recreating the time period, transporting your reader hundreds of years into the past. You want them to taste the wine, feel the fabrics of the gowns, smell the blood of battle. These novels are based around things that actually happened, the majority of your characters where once living and breathing people just like you and me, as the writer you are giving them new life, re-enacting their stories and giving a possible insight into their thoughts and reasons behind their actions.
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