Writing Mini-Lessons: Traveling Back, Historical Fiction

Below is a series of statements about readers and writers, along with tables for planning or charting the historical fiction genre.

Readers make connections between the main problem in a story and the setting so that they can see how the time in history affected the characters.

Main Problem


How Setting Affects Characters






Writers consider the types of problems people faced during a certain time in history so that they can develop a problem in their story.

Brainstorm a list of problems people faced during the historical time period for your historical fiction setting. Consider geography, transportation, food sources, political climate, physical climate, social class, income, family structure, and the like.


Writers create a narrator in historical fiction so that they can tell the story from one point of view.


Character Traits

Point of View






Writers identify their audience so that they can determine what kind of background knowledge they need to include in their historical fiction story.


Background Knowledge of Historic Period






Readers notice key words that identify specific times in history so that they can draw conclusions about what life was like.

Brainstorm a list of vocabulary, key words that illustrate what life was like in that time. For example, during the time of the American Revolution, some key words might be as follows: musket, patriot, loyalist, minutemen, tankard, lobsterback, redcoat, taxation, colony, etc.


Writers double check that events in their historical fiction stories are accurate so that their writing can be believed by their readers.

Record the research you might need to do, where you might find that information, and how you will check the accuracy of the facts.  When doing research, be sure to keep a list of where you found information.  Do not simply write “Google.”  Google is a search engine not site providing detailed information about history.

Necessary Research


Fact Checking Strategies






Writers add elements of culture to the setting, characters, and events in a historical fiction so that readers can have a deep understanding of that culture.

Specific Elements of Culture


Social Organization


Customs and Traditions




Language (sayings/vocabulary)


Arts and Literature


Forms of Government


Economic Systems



Readers/writers determine which information is factual and which is fictional in historical fiction.

Factual Components

Fictional Elements