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How historical do you want your historical fic?

Martin Gill

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2015
This gets to what I'm now wrestling with. I finished my story, its out with readers for feedback, but a some point I need to start thinking about query letters, etc. My question is how to classify it and who to approach? Its rooted in history, with real-world locations. I blend Norse and Finnish myth with genuine history. I use a couple of historical characters - all of whom are very poorly documented anyway, so I take massive liberties. There's a mythical character, but she's human. There's magic, or is there? There's divination, sacrifice, one of the characters has a vision (which could be drug induced), one of the characters falls under the influence of a witch - because he believes she's a witch. I've tried to portray a world people of the C8th would have believed in.

So I don't think its historical fiction, but its not pure fantasy. Is "historical fantasy" a thing? Would that help when pitching an agent?


Well-Known Member
Feb 25, 2015
Historical fantasy is a thing. Your best approach is probably to look for comparable works by well-known authors to compare your work to. From the sounds of it, Bernard Cornwell's Warlord series is a good comparable.


Science fiction fantasy
Oct 18, 2017
What bothers me in any historical portrayal be it an attempt at fiction or a documentary is an obvious agenda. For example, portraying of a certain historically prominent character which has been generally accepted as belonging to one race suddenly appearing as a totally different one. This was done in a documentary of Attila the Hun where he was portrayed as a Northern European. Another documentary has the Caribbean Native American Tainos portrayed as sub-Saharan Africans. Or having the historical figure displaying overt sexual preferences and subsuming all other aspects of his or her life around that piquant point.

Once such agendas become more than obvious, I find it extremely difficult to pay attention to the rest of the film and find myself asking what exact evidence do the filmmakers have to support that portrayal. In short, if a controversial issue is to be included, then a respect for the audience's intelligence would demand that the evidence for that portrayal be included as well instead of serving it up as if it were some sacred untouchable indisputable fact.