My Process to Write Historical Fiction

My Process to Write Historical Fiction


I don’t know if this the proper way to write a historical novel–this is just how I do it. I start a box and dig through stuff Mother saved over her 89 years. When I run across a picture, a stack of letters, or any books, they all go in the box. All the while, I’m considering where each piece fits.

Next, I separate the items into piles. Communication in one pile. Pictures in another. Published articles and a list of family stories in other stacks. I have a pretty good idea by now what inciting incident goes first. I sit to write, listening for the character’s voices.

In writing Hard Times in the Heartland I kept a running list from the internet of world events and the time they occurred so the story wrapped around those dates.

The G.I.s weren’t allowed to divulge their location in any written communication in case it fell into the enemies’ hands. Censors read every word of every incoming and outgoing letter. If a G.I. violated the rule, the reference to a place was blacked out. To figure out where he was with each letter, I referred to a book about the 70th Division called The Trailblazer.

Before Dad left for the European Theater, he and Mom made a code in case he felt he could send a hidden message about his location. If he addressed the letter to me in the salutation with a dash after it, Mom looked at the last line of the letter, took the first letter of each word, and determined where he was on that date. You’ll have to read the book to find out the rest of the story. Click this link for your copy in e-reader or paperback.

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2 thoughts on “My Process to Write Historical Fiction

  1. Dear Sally,

    How fortunate you are to have such a resource. We are also fortunate in having the wealth of information we have on the internet. I’m looking forward to getting my signed copy of Hard Times…you’ve whetted my appetite in crit group. 😉 Best wishes.



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