Pro Tips for Writing a History Book

Recent years have seen the publication of popular books by historians like Stephen Ambrose and Doris Kearns Goodwin. These authors researched themes that the general public would find fascinating and created engrossing narratives that were simple to read.

Graduate students and historians may be shielded from topics of interest to nonfiction readers by the world of academia. Before writing a historical book, you should conduct extensive research and approach your writing with the eye of a non-historian.

Any nonfiction work that depicts historical, actual occurrences falls under the broad topic of historical nonfiction. Many best-selling books can be classified into two or more of these categories. Some nonfiction categories, such as literary nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, and creative nonfiction, overlap with historical nonfiction. The term “historical nonfiction” covers various topics and narratives, including biographies of historical personalities.

The task of a freelance history book editor on a historical event can be very challenging. Nonfiction book authors frequently invest a significant amount of time researching their subject matter to present a genuine narrative interestingly.

They then must determine how to communicate the material effectively. The advice below will provide you with a step-by-step method for writing historical nonfiction, whether self-publishing a book or writing for a large publishing house.

Extensive Research

Research is the first step in writing about historical events that occurred. The accuracy and factuality of the real-life stories’ nonfiction writers (and historical fiction writers, for that matter) retellings must be carefully checked.

Authors of nonfiction can benefit from having a historical background and knowledge of research techniques. The research procedure will take more time if you are unfamiliar with the place or period of your subject.

To keep your study methodology apparent, utilize flawless footnotes, endnotes, and bibliographies. Focus on providing the readers with as much information as possible for each remark, as the publisher’s internal style guide can constrain your citation style. A final chapter on your topic’s bibliography should include both works that support and refute your thesis and articles from the historical period in question.

Find your historical book’s letters, diaries, newspapers, and other primary sources. Spend months utilizing these materials to uncover historical figures, events, and perspectives that aren’t covered in other books.

Explore Relevant Biography

Experiencing history from the viewpoint of a person there can be enlightening. By allowing you, as the author, to fully immerse your readers in the characters, sights, sounds, and ideas of the time and location and its distinctive character, the biography format aids in bringing history to life. You can also delve extensively into your subject’s life to discover how and why he came to be who he was and how he came to be so crucial to the story’s theme.

Focus On Narrative

Before you begin the creative writing process, it’s crucial to have a thorough outline of your tale and its overarching arc, just like when writing fiction. If you’re writing a creative historical story, this is very crucial. Even the most academically dry depictions of historical occurrences have a general plot line. It’s not necessary to follow a traditional three-act structure, but it might assist in thinking of your subject as a narrative with a beginning, middle, and finishing to give your book structure.

Don’t Neglect Publication Rights

Obtain publication rights for any maps, artwork, or photographs you borrow from collections or libraries. Long text chapters in history books are frequently broken up by photographs on dust jackets, title pages, and internal inserts. If you cannot locate the original owner of the image, get in touch with the library where it was kept for more details.

Incorporate Different Genres

You may still incorporate genre elements when writing about history despite your thoughts. Popular historical nonfiction works frequently borrow narrative or aesthetic elements from thrillers, coming-of-age tales, or science fiction. One of the most diverse book and film genres, true crime, is a good illustration of how historical realism and thrillers may coexist.

Signifying Character Development

There are some fundamental characteristics of character development that should not be overlooked just because you are writing about real-life occurrences. Your responsibility is to supply the factual information that brings the character to life so that it appears nuanced and fully developed in the readers’ imaginations.

When creating characters for nonfiction, your characters were living, breathing historical beings. The best nonfiction works attempt to understand the characteristics and motivations that underlie key historical events by concentrating on the individuals who affected them.

Prioritize Accuracy and Authenticity

This is one of the topics that frequently comes to mind when people begin to consider how to create historical fiction, and for a good reason. Readers of historical fiction will most likely purchase your book for two reasons: 1) they want an engaging, page-turning plot, and 2) they want to be submerged in a historical universe that feels authentic to the period you’re writing about.

Your readers will count on you to authentically portray the broad political context of your period and the specifics of day-to-day living. Readers will likewise have expectations regarding how historical incidents and real-life historical individuals are handled.

Most people won’t mind a little artistic license as long as you explain it in your historical note, but stuffing your book with flagrant lies about things that can be easily verified is likely to get you into problems.

You should also consider the language used and the accepted social mores of the time. There are few things worse in historical fiction than a character acting or speaking like they are in the twenty-first century.

Concluding Remarks

There are many different formats that a history book can take, so you should carefully analyze the list above to decide which one best fits your content. You’ll enjoy doing your research and writing more if you have a structure to follow. Additionally, your viewers will like knowing more about your subject!

Writing a history book is a daunting task requiring a lot of hard work. However, you should hire the services of a freelance history book editor that will prove very helpful in the long run. You will be able to get your writing material double-checked. Moreover, you may have missed some points while following the above tips, and the freelance editor may help you with that.