Bringing History to Life

Hi Jim,

Congrats on the new Novel!

So I was wondering about historical characters. You mentioned that much of your work is historical fiction and I’m currently working on a story like that myself. I was wondering what difficulties you faced, if any, when you used a historical figure as a character in your writing?

Many thanks,

Hi Liam,

Great question, and honestly the answer may disappoint you. I honestly find it easier to write characters from history than to create new ones. This is especially true with people who lived in the 1700s-1800s as there is usually a lot of information available about them. Drawing upon historical documentation and then creating a character’s personality around those documents is not only fun, but very satisfying when you finish writing your character, then go back and read stories about their actual lives. If you did everything right, the character you created should be almost unrecognizable from the real person.

Problems arise from two locations that I can see;

  1. Living Family… this is where you have to be VERY careful. I cannot overstate this. In this case, you can’t just create a character based on documentation. A lot more research has to go into it to get the person’s personality right, this could include speaking to the family directly and obtaining their permission and written approval. This is especially true if it’s a main character.
  2. Lack of documentation. So here’s where the guess-work comes in. If this is a character that lived during the 1600s or prior, chances are a lot of the documentation has been lost. In these cases, I try to refrain from making them a main character, or just do the best I can based on the information available. A static character could be appropriate here.

Anyway, I hope this helps a little!


Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!



3 thoughts on “Bringing History to Life

  1. Steven Capps says:

    Hey there! Thanks for stopping by and liking one of my posts. I think it is super cool that you take reader questions and answer them as blog posts. What gave you the idea to start doing posts like this?

    Liked by 1 person

    • StCyril says:

      Thanks man, honestly the writing world is fraught with hurdles, problems, and heartbreak. Having navigated these waters in multiple directions. I figure if my knowledge can help others navigate the same waters more easily, then it was worth it.

      Liked by 1 person

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