Writing Tips for Historical Fiction

March 7, 2012

It’s been a good week for me as a historical fiction author. I just finished a novella for an anthology on Queen Arsinoe II of Egypt and I lunched with fellow members of the Chesapeake Bay Area Historical Novel Society chapter. We had a lovely lunch over which we discussed the challenges of writing our particular genre and celebrated the release of Sophie Perinot’s debut novel, The Sister Queens. Later, over coffee, we even had an animated debate over whether or not Napoleon could be made into a credible protagonist in historical fiction. It occurred to me that I may finally have enough experience (barely) in the field to give advice! *gasp*

At the end of this week, I’ll be giving a presentation to middle school students who are about to embark on school projects in writing historical fiction. I created a handout for them filled with tips on finding your passion for your historical era and exploiting the sights, sounds, tastes and textures of your bygone world.

I happen to think that adults might find this worksheet useful too, so I’m posting the PDF here: KidsHandoutHistFic

If you like it or find it useful in your classroom, let me know!

8 Responses to Writing Tips for Historical Fiction

  • Love it, Stephanie! Thanks for posting.

  • I ordered and read Song of the nile and i loved it! I was so happy to see Pythodorida another remarkable woman who gets overlooked. What i found curious about her is that she used ptolemaic titles and named her daughter Tryphena after a ptolemaic queen who may have been Selene’s grandmother do you think she was raised in her aunts court?

    • Michelle, thank you for your kind words! I’m so glad to find someone who also picked up on this about Pythodorida. It’s my theory that she was raised in her aunt Selene’s court–and she will be a major character in the third and final book which I’m working on now.

  • I think she was also a friend of Strabo who was also a friend of Juba but was her second husband the Archelaus who was the father of Glaphrya Juba’s second wife and got executed by Herod?

  • If it was talk aboult keeping it in the Family!Thanks Stephanie for answering all of my nosy questions and thanks for a great book love from Scotland in Aberdeen.

  • Hi, Stephanie.

    Besides being so excited for your trilogy will come soon to Brazil, also now I’m dying to see how you described the case of Arsinoe and Ptolemy Kerauno, and the massacre of Cassandrea, and as you approached Ptolemy Nios, which is not known whether he was the son of Arsinoe and Ptolemy Philadelphus, or if was her surviving son, Ptolemy of Telmessos…
    Arsinoe is my second favorite ptolemaic queen, I really love her!!!


    • The story I’ve written about Arsinoe II is very short as it’s part of an anthology, so you might want to think of it as a sort of prequel to all those events 😉