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Dive into the Past with These Historical Fiction Prompts

Hello, time travelers and history buffs!

Whether you’re a seasoned historian of the pen or a newcomer about to embark on your first voyage into the past, this post is for you. Today, we’re journeying back in time with ten historical fiction prompts designed to whisk you away to different eras and cultures. Ready to step into the time machine? Then let’s begin!

1. The Unlikely Friendship

In the midst of the American Civil War, an unlikely friendship forms between a Confederate soldier and a Union nurse. How does their bond develop amidst the tumult of war, and how does it challenge their beliefs?

2. The Forgotten Artisan

Your protagonist is a skilled artisan in Ancient Egypt, working on the construction of the Great Pyramids. What are their daily struggles and triumphs, and how do they view their contribution to this historic monument?

3. The Secret of the Tudor Court

A lady-in-waiting in the court of Henry VIII stumbles upon a secret that could alter the course of English history. How does she navigate the treacherous waters of the royal court with this newfound knowledge?

4. The Silk Road Merchant

Your protagonist is a merchant traveling along the Silk Road during the Tang Dynasty. Who do they meet, what cultures do they encounter, and what adventures or trials do they face during their journey?

5. The Underground Railroad Conductor

In pre-Civil War United States, your protagonist is a conductor on the Underground Railroad. What challenges do they face helping slaves escape to freedom, and how do these experiences change them?

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Photo by Alex Azabache on

6. The Lost Roman City

An archaeologist in the 21st century discovers a previously unknown Roman city. As they delve deeper into its history, they uncover a story from the past that parallels their own life. What is this story, and how does it affect them?

7. The Woman of the Edo Period

Your protagonist is a woman living in Japan’s Edo period. What’s her role in society, and how does she challenge or conform to the norms of her time?

8. The Revolutionary Inventor

Set in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, your protagonist is an inventor who creates a machine that revolutionizes industry but also leads to unexpected consequences. What are these consequences, and how does the inventor handle them?

9. The Migrant Story

During the Great Migration in the early 20th century, your protagonist leaves their Southern home for the promise of a better life in the North. What are their hopes and fears, and how does their journey unfold?

10. The Shadow of the Berlin Wall

In Cold War-era Berlin, your protagonist lives a life divided by the Berlin Wall. How does this division affect their life and relationships, and what choices do they have to make because of it?

Historical fiction is a dance between fact and imagination, a delicate balance of staying true to the past while weaving in the threads of your narrative. Remember, while historical accuracy is important, you’re not writing a textbook. Don’t be afraid to delve into the emotional, societal, and personal aspects of the era you’re exploring. That’s where your story comes alive.

As with any genre, start small. Even a single scene or a brief character sketch can be the spark that ignites a compelling historical fiction piece. And don’t worry about getting it perfect; every draft brings you closer to the story you want to tell.

Research is a crucial part of writing historical fiction. Understanding the era, its customs, language, and societal norms, can lend authenticity to your story and make it more immersive. However, avoid info-dumping. Weave your research into the narrative seamlessly so it enhances the story rather than overwhelming it.

Characters are the heart of your narrative. Whether they’re soldiers, artisans, royalty, or ordinary people, their struggles, dreams, and transformations are what will make your readers care about the era and events you’re depicting. 

And most importantly, enjoy the process! Writing historical fiction is a journey, a chance to time travel and experience different eras and cultures. Embrace the thrill of discovery, the challenge of blending fact and fiction, and the satisfaction of bringing the past to life.

I hope these prompts inspire you to create captivating stories that transport your readers to times and places far removed from their own. Remember, you are the time traveler, the guide. You have the power to illuminate the past in ways that textbooks can’t.

So, are you ready to set the coordinates on your time machine? Your historical fiction adventure awaits. Go forth and create, dear time travelers and history buffs!

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