How can I tell if my work is Historical Fiction?
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Okay, I know that this may sound like a dumb question but I have to ask.

How can I tell if my work is Historical Fiction?

I normally write fantasy, sci-fi and contemporary stories so this is something new for me. I do have two story ideas that I define as Historical Fiction because of the fact that they take place during historical events (the American Revolution & Civil War) but I have other stories that deal with some aspect of history as well and I want to know what's the difference. 


Please help and try not to laugh at me - its weird because I read a lot of historical fiction but this is first time wanting to write stories from this genre. 

(Who am I kidding - I'm laughing at myself...)

  • Mercy,

    If its set in the past, its historical fiction in my book, but there are so many subgenres as well. I think even if an author thinks there work might be X, a publisher or librarian or Library of Congress may classify it as something else altogether. 


  • No question is foolish and when works are combined genres or cross genre, not easy to define it is a very valid question. How do I categorize and market? I have come across the same problem with my work. If there is a HISTORICAL ELEMENT you can absolutely market your work as HISTORICAL FICTION. That being said if it has other elements try to market there as well.

    Have we connected yet?

    I am an author who enjoys History and I cross-promote with authors of a wide variety of genres at 4covert2overt A Place in the Spotlight . Authors, Artists, Bloggers are invited for a DAY IN THE SPOTLIGHT.

    Most genres are welcome but this is not an adult blog, Artists are  also welcome as are tour stops; so if your book is touring contact me and I can gladly offer a stop.

    If you are interested on a Spotlight contact me at [email protected] .

    I hope we can cross-promote in many ways.

    If History is your thing I can also welcome you at THE BRIDGE OF DEATHS BLOG

    If you get a chance please check out Barnes and Noble or AMAZON It is a well-documented factual pre-World War II event with a twist of fiction and a touch of the metaphysical.

    Meet me on Facebook

    M.C.V. Egan


  • Karen - that sounds fascinating. I remember reading a book in the third grade (I think) called By The Great Horned Spoon. A similar story of a young boy and his family's butler traveling from Boston to the gold fields and their adventures once they arrived. For some reason, it's always stayed with me. That being the case, your story might well interest me too, completing it with the feminine side. What phase of the process is it in?



  • Thanks Mark,

    I looked up the Wikipedia, sidled on over to historical fantasy, and found that my Gold Rush California period is not  heavily populated with historical fantasy. That's ok, I'm more oriented now.

    My novel was inspired by my great-grandfather's diary of going around the Horn in 1852 headed for the Mother Lode. His diary stopped in San Franscisco. In my story he's female and picks up a few shamanic sidekicks on his way to the gold fields.The book explores how they dealt with the "tomboy and the whore" split within femininity in the 1800's.

  • Hey - don't feel bad, I had the same question when I started to put together the query letter for my novel. You'll find lots of references on the Internet, but I tend to go to Wikipedia (as I did for some of my research). Check out their entry on historical fiction, and good luck with your work.