How to Write a Historical Narrative

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Telling the story of a historical time or event through a narrative allows you to convey information in a format which is more appealing to those who struggle with textbook-style learning. A historical narrative can be written through the eyes of a fictional character or even as the story of a real person from history who experienced the event. The key to a successful historical narrative is providing an engaging story without distorting facts.

  • Select the main character of your narrative, through whom the reader will experience the historical event. For example, if writing a narrative about the Civil War you may wish to write through the eyes of a Union soldier.

  • Research the pertinent historical information for your narrative, including important events and living conditions that may be represented in your story, and that will influence the way your character thinks and acts.

  • Narrow the scope of your story to the exact period or events you wish to cover. For example, you could write a series of fake journal entries for the soldier covering his life throughout the entire war, or you could elect to write a third-person story about the soldier going through a famous Civil War battle.

  • Outline your narrative story, with a beginning, middle and end, showing the key plot points.

  • Write your first draft. Try your best to stick to your research, using the outline as a guide.

  • Reread your story and check the historical details against your research to be sure that you have not taken any creative licenses which make your story historically inaccurate.

  • Revise your story to fix any historical inaccuracies you noted, as well as areas where you feel your narrative is weak. Repeat the process, rereading and revising until you are satisfied with your narrative.

References

  • Photo Credit Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images
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