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As a genre that balances fiction and historical fact, world-building in historical fiction can be challenging. Authors must make the settings compelling and believable.

Nothing beats an immersive world in making readers fully absorbed in a story.

World-building draws people into the fictional space. When it’s well-crafted, it helps the story avoid falling flat by offering characters the adventures and growth they need to make the narrative effective. It allows readers to be one with the story, feeling like they’re experiencing it. World-building makes the entire journey more realistic and evocative of readers’ emotions and imagination. Hence, it not only makes them more intrigued by how the story plays out but also more invested in it.

Before authors start putting words and conflicts together, they must first create the world in which their story takes place. This world is the foundation for every action and relationship their characters make.

But what happens when they have to build their worlds from existing settings?

Fiction Based in Society’s Real Story

Historical fiction is a rising genre that reveals facts with a decent amount of fantasy scribbled around. It has attracted the literary leading light because of its significance to society while maintaining an entertainment value for readers. At its best, historical fiction exposes how the past shapes and implicates the present – it’s the best way to examine history.

An excellent example of these stories would be one from Wilma Forester. Her book The Adventures of Nagel is a historical fiction about Babylonia that captures the reality of the time then. While fictional at some points, the story is historically authentic at its core. It follows characters interacting with actual settings and a genuine glimpse into the period’s culture.

It’s in the name.

Historical fiction

Although it contains a fraction of fantasy, it is still based on history. Thus, it’s imperative that authors honor reality and truly examine how the period looks, feels, and behaves in relation to humanity. As these stories look back into society’s reality, they require accuracy and attention to detail. These ensure immersive storytelling that doesn’t spoil history but enhances its narratives.

World Building in Historical Fiction

To successfully write historical fiction, authors pay close attention to these three elements:

  • the world’s infrastructure
  • the political and cultural structures
  • the characters and environment

From these alone, one can tell the consequential influence of world-building in historical fiction. Everything about the story depends on how well the authors present the settings. The world’s authenticity can influence the story’s flow and how engrossing it can be for readers.

Choose the Time Period

Before building a world in historical fiction, authors must have a solid idea of which era they’re attempting to capture. This includes looking into the period’s nuances. Authors must ensure they’re portraying the time correctly, especially when certain details may be easily mistaken for periods.

What about the time do they want to focus on?

Authors must come up with a specific theme to build on and focus on. For instance, they can dig deeper into family conflicts or specific societal issues that were burdensome during that period. When researching and ensuring authenticity, authors can look into different records. They don’t only have to focus on figures existing during that period but also practices and its overall culture.

Develop a Geographical Location

Regarding world-building in historical fiction, the general imagery of the location isn’t everything there is. Authors don’t only have to plan the landscape or what common buildings may look like. They also have to organize the area’s climate, people’s lifestyles, and iconic existing landscapes.

This element will also test how well authors have researched the period. It’s not enough to look at how it’s presented today—after all, things change. Instead, they have to dig deeper into records.

Create Believable Characters

World-building in historical fiction doesn’t only involve the creation of infrastructures but also the people inhabiting it. This isn’t just about creating interesting main characters but the extras that populate it. Characters and settings go hand-in-hand when creating historical fiction. After all, authors don’t only have to match what the place looks like back then. However, they must also ensure that people act appropriately during those times.

If you’re interested in reading compelling historical fiction, Wilma Forester’s The Adventure of Nagel is the book for you. Grad a copy now!