Writing a historical non-fiction book is an enormous undertaking. You have to relate the true story in an engaging manner because of which writers of non-fiction novels often spend a significant amount of time researching their subject matter and figuring out an engaging manner to convey the information.
To help you with the phenomenal task, here are a few tips that will enable you to put together compelling and popular non-fiction books. Let’s get writing!
What Is a Historical Non-fiction Book
When we consider historical non-fiction, it is a broad category that encompasses all sorts of non-fiction writings that present real-life historical events. A few of the non-fiction categories, for example, literary non-fiction, creative non-fiction, or narrative non-fiction, overlap with it, and so many popular non-fiction books can be divided into two or more of these genres.
You will find a vast array of incidents and subjects that fall under the historical non-fiction category that also includes biographies. As a non-fiction writer, it is your job to get yourself acquainted with works of non-fiction and research subjects that might interest you.
Tips for Writing Historical Nonfiction
Below are some of the best writing tips to help you with the daunting task of writing historical non-fiction.
Carry Out a Thorough Research
The research comes first when writing about real events from history. They have to make sure that a large amount of time is spent telling the stories in a convincing, accurate, and factual manner. It is important that non-fiction authors get a background in history and are well-versed in research methods. In case you are not acquainted well with the time period you have chosen to write about, the research process will be longer and more arduous.
Have a Clear Point of View
You need to have your own perspective for your book. It will help you in focusing and narrowing down the scope of your book. Although your perspective can change over the course of the book, you need to have a clear idea of who or what your book is centered around.
Outline a Narrative Arc
As with any piece of writing, you need to have a detailed outline of your story and an overall arc before you dive into the writing process. Having a creative historical narrative is important even for the driest academic account of historical events. You don’t necessarily need to have a three-step or three-act structure, but having a subject matter to view your story shapes the book.
Pick Compelling Characters
If you wish to see your work appear in prominent magazines, you must research popular figures from history. More known subjects garner more attention than people lesser-known ones. Include elements from other genres as well. Many of the non-fiction books make use of narrative or stylistic techniques from sci-fi or thrillers.
Keep Character Development in Mind
Don’t ignore character development even when writing about the actual events. Characters in non-fiction are living, breathing historical figures. Therefore, it is your job to provide factual details that make your characters come alive, forming an image in the minds of the book readers. Popular non-fiction books not only recount history in chronological order but also focus on people influencing significant events, exploring their traits and desires that make them more human.
Focus On a Single Event
Narrow down your focus to a specific event that occurred during the period. It helps you, especially if you are new to the historical non-fiction genre.
Mention Relevance of the Historical Events in the Modern Times
Historical events increase curiosity in modern readers. You have to thus describe the history, all the while drawing implicit and explicit links to the events and problems of today’s world. You can start with shorter pieces if you are writing for the first time before making the jump to full-length books.