Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Epic Historical Fail

So you are writing a historical-fiction novel. 

Cute. Maybe even fun. But...

Watch out on your research. History is constantly being updated. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad.

  • Liberals will change it to push their world views. Always bad.
  • Christians will Christianize it. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. God's in control and has a sovereign plan, but not everything that happens in history is good. 
  • The winners will make their fish story bigger. Can anybody say "the Romans"?
  • Losers seldom record what happens. 'Cause they're dead or embarrassed. Obviously.
  •  New artifacts are being found. Things get buried deep sometimes.

So watch out. Read more than one source. Realize that another historian may have a different view than you. Expect controversy. Know where to draw the line between fact and creative liberty.

And, whatever you do, don't change the Louisiana Purchase into a rel-estate deal for your protagonist. I don't care how good she is - that's just not kosher in a historical-fiction novel.


Alicia A. Willis is a home-school graduate, published author, and avid historian. She is a firm believer in the principle that one can accomplish anything by substantial amounts of prayer and coffee. Visit her at her blog or Facebook to view her historical-fiction novels and all the goings-on between writing!


  1. It is fun to write historial fiction, but very true what you said. I've been researching for a Civil War story and I find different info on different sites all the time. It's hard knowing what is fact and what is just someone's imagination. I guess that's why you really have to check into real life history!

    1. History is hard. It's difficult to know just what happened sometimes! :) I talked to three historians who were all on the same PBS show one time. They all had completely different opinions on the question I asked! Crazy... And they're the experts!


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