Writing Historical Fiction Can Be Tricky. Don’t Let An Anachronistic Statement Ruin Your Story.

Writing Historical Fiction Can Be Tricky. Don’t Let An Anachronistic Statement Ruin Your Story.

One of the most common error in writing historical fiction is not keep the authenticity of the time period. Don’t add modern items, slang, or ways of thinking in earlier time period.

It’s okay to use proper modern language in historical fiction, most readers wouldn’t bother to read a book written entirely in Old English, Welsh or Celtic, etc., but never use a modern slang unless the slang was in use during the time period you are writing about. For example, we still say, “Another one bites the dust.” Well so did the Italian poet Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy.

Anachronistic-Something or a situation out of chronological order. Not in the correct historical or chronological time, especially a thing or person that belongs to an earlier time: A horse is an anachronism in modern warfare.

For example, when dealing with emotions and ways of thinking; Don’t try to write someone like an American slave master or mistress, or a medieval duke or lord nicer than they actually, historically were. That takes away the authenticity of the story. I have read too many books making them sound like tragic figures; not their victims.


About unholypursuit

A. White, an award winning former librarian, who is also a long time member of Romantic Time and Publisher's Weekly. A. White has been writing for over fifteen years. She took classes in creative writing in college, specializing in ancient myths and legends. and later at a local community center while living in Chicago. In college she won the national contest to verbally list every country in the world, it's capital and ingenious language. Her works are mainly horror, fantasy, extreme, and sci-fi as well as, as some may says, "the truly strange predicament and puzzling." Books that I've written are "Clash with the Immortals, and eleven others which are part of the "Unholy Pursuit saga,". She has been working on the Chronicles since 2007. She wished to complete them all before introducing them to public so the readers wouldn't have to for the continuation to be written. The ideas of the book come from classic literature such as whose work greatly influence the world world such as Homer, Sophocles, Herodotus, Euripides, Socrates, Hippocrates, Aristophanes, Plato, Aristotle and many more. The "Book of Enoch" influenced the usage of Azazael as a main character and love interest. I created the primary main character from the Chronicle of Saints. I wanted to show them as real flesh and blood with thoughts, desires and yearning as any human. Not as they are so often depicted. So I created one of my own to show her as a real human that everyone can relate to.
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14 Responses to Writing Historical Fiction Can Be Tricky. Don’t Let An Anachronistic Statement Ruin Your Story.

  1. Yes, it can be quite jarring when you read historical fiction only to have someone sound like they have just dropped in from the cast of Friends!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: ReBlogging ‘Writing Historical Fiction Can Be Tricky. Don’t Let An Anachronistic Statement Ruin Your Story.’ – Link Below | Relationship Insights by Yernasia Quorelios

  3. Hadley Haight says:

    Yeah, like using modern slangs like “Hey Dude” when talking about Roman Gladiators. I swear I read that in a book.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Carmarthenshire says:

    Yes, I have read stories having nothing to do with time travel but contained a lot of modernization.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Lisa says:

    I liked the way this author balance the language to make it interesting. If it’s too historical a novel can be boring.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Louvre says:

    That’s one of the reasons I stopped reading historical fiction. A. White and Bernard Cornwell are some of the few historical authors who get the facts correct.

    Liked by 1 person

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