• L.E. Mearman

Episode 7 - Balancing History & Fiction in Historical Fiction

Do you want to write a story based in a historical period with (at least a few) real historical characters? While the idea is great, how do you make sure you honor the history while still writing a great fictional story?

Learn how to balance history and fiction in your historical fiction in this episode of Authoring Advice with L.E. Mearman.



In this episode, I share some of the skills I learned in my college days and as a professional writer, teacher, and librarian to help you write balanced historical fiction.


In today's episode, we will discuss:


  • How far is too far when using (or not using) research?

  • Why balance the real and the fake?

  • The "Identify, Lie, Apply" Method

  • It's impossible to please every reader

  • The value "Author's Notes"








"What is the responsibility of the historical novelist? How much license can we take in our depiction of people who actually lived and events that truly happened? What do we owe our readers--and the long-dead men and women we write about?" - Sharon Kay Penman

Episode Highlights


1:00 - How Far is Too Far?

3:11 - How to Balance the Real and the Fake

5:30 - The Identify, Lie, Apply Method

8:55 - The Results Will Not Please Everyone

15:00 - Authors Notes


"When describing the setting, don’t focus just on the sights, sounds, and smells, but how the character interacts with them. This can reveal a lot about both the character and setting." - L.E. Mearman

Sources & Sundries



"For me, writing historical fiction is all about finding a balance between reading, traveling, looking, imagining, and dreaming." - Anthony Doerr

How do you find a balance between the real and the make-believe? Please share in the comments section below.


You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest @AuthoringAdvice.

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