Discover Top Historical Fiction Writing Prompts Today

Writing historical fiction offers the opportunity to explore different time periods and imagine alternative histories. Historical fiction prompts can inspire writers to delve into the past and create compelling stories. Here are some top historical fiction writing prompts to ignite your creativity.

Key Takeaways:

  • Historical fiction prompts provide inspiration for writers to explore the past and create captivating stories.
  • Writing historical fiction allows for the incorporation of textual details and references to real-world events, enhancing the reading experience.
  • Research and planning are essential for historical fiction, but the possibilities for storytelling are endless.
  • Explore different subgenres of historical fiction, such as romance, mystery, multi-period sagas, westerns, and alternate history/fantasy/sci-fi.
  • Vet your historical fiction novel idea to ensure historical accuracy and engaging storytelling.

The Joys of Writing Historical Fiction

Writing historical fiction is a delightful endeavor that allows you to immerse yourself in the past and explore different time periods through storytelling. One of the benefits of writing historical fiction is the opportunity to ask “what if” and imagine alternative histories. By blending factual elements with creative imagination, you can create captivating narratives that transport readers to different eras and offer a fresh perspective on historical events.

One of the joys of writing historical fiction is the extensive research and planning involved. From studying historical documents to understanding the social and cultural norms of a particular era, the process of delving into the past is intellectually stimulating and rewarding. By doing thorough research, you can bring authenticity to your storytelling and transport readers into the world you have created.

Furthermore, writing historical fiction allows you to incorporate textual details and references to real-world events. By grounding your story in historical context, you provide readers with an immersive reading experience. They will not only be entertained but also educated about different time periods and historical figures. This combination of storytelling and educational value makes historical fiction a beloved genre among readers of all ages.

Overall, the joys of writing historical fiction lie in the endless possibilities for storytelling, the opportunity to explore different time periods, and the chance to enlighten and entertain readers through the power of narrative. So, if you have a passion for history and a love for storytelling, writing historical fiction may be the perfect avenue for you to unleash your creativity and create compelling narratives that stand the test of time.

Historical Fiction Writing Prompts

If you’re looking for inspiration to kickstart your historical fiction writing, we’ve got you covered. Here are ten thought-provoking historical fiction writing prompts that will transport you to different time periods and ignite your creativity:

1. The Mysterious Manuscript

While exploring a forgotten attic, you stumble upon an ancient manuscript hidden beneath a pile of dusty artifacts. The manuscript tells a captivating story set during the French Revolution, revealing a secret that could change history. Write a historical fiction novel based on this intriguing discovery.

2. A Soldier’s Journey

Inspired by true events, tell the story of a young soldier who enlists in the American Civil War. As he experiences the horrors of battle, he forms an unlikely friendship with an enemy soldier. Explore themes of friendship, loyalty, and the human cost of war in your historical fiction narrative.

3. The Forbidden Romance

Set in ancient Egypt, create a tale of forbidden love between an Egyptian princess and a slave from a rival kingdom. Against the backdrop of political intrigue and ancient customs, their love defies societal expectations and threatens to spark a war. Explore the complexities of love, power, and sacrifice in your historical fiction story.

4. The Lost Expedition

Inspired by the legendary lost city of El Dorado, write a historical fiction novel about a group of explorers who embark on a perilous journey through the uncharted Amazon rainforest in search of wealth and glory. As they face treacherous obstacles and encounter indigenous tribes, delve into themes of greed, adventure, and the lure of the unknown.

5. A Tale of Rebellion

Transport readers to 18th-century France during the French Revolution. Create a gripping narrative following a young revolutionary who becomes entangled in a web of political intrigue and conspiracies. Explore the themes of justice, sacrifice, and the price of freedom in your historical fiction novel.

These historical fiction writing prompts are just a starting point to fuel your imagination. Whether you choose the path of mystery, romance, adventure, or rebellion, let these prompts inspire your storytelling and take your readers on a captivating journey through the annals of history.

Additional Resources for Writing Historical Fiction

When it comes to writing historical fiction, having access to reliable resources can greatly enhance your storytelling. Whether you’re looking for tips, courses, or guides, these resources can provide valuable insights and help you bring historical accuracy to your work. Here are some recommended resources to support your historical fiction writing journey:

1. Writing Historical Fiction Tips

If you’re new to writing historical fiction, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the genre’s unique challenges and techniques. Many experienced authors and writing experts share their tips and advice through blog articles, podcasts, or online forums. Look for resources that delve into topics such as historical research, character development, and incorporating authentic dialogue.

2. Historical Fiction Courses

For a more structured learning experience, consider enrolling in a historical fiction writing course. Online platforms and universities often offer courses specifically tailored to historical fiction, taught by experienced authors or industry professionals. These courses can provide in-depth instruction on various aspects of historical fiction writing, including plot development, world-building, and crafting believable historical settings.

3. Historical Fiction Guides

A comprehensive guide dedicated to writing historical fiction can be an invaluable resource. Look for guides that cover a wide range of topics, such as historical research methods, historical accuracy, and storytelling techniques. These guides often include examples from well-known historical fiction novels and provide actionable advice to help you navigate the challenges of writing in this genre.

By utilizing these additional resources, you can take your historical fiction writing to the next level. From gaining valuable tips and insights to deepening your understanding of historical accuracy, these resources will support your creative journey and help you craft compelling stories set in the past.

60 Historical Fiction Writing Prompts

Are you ready to transport your readers to different time periods and immerse them in captivating historical stories? Look no further! Here, we have compiled a comprehensive list of 60 historical fiction writing prompts that will ignite your creativity and inspire you to craft compelling narratives.

  1. Explore the life of a young artisan during the Renaissance, navigating the complexities of art and ambition.
  2. Craft a narrative around a forbidden love affair between individuals from warring medieval kingdoms.
  3. Set a story in Ancient Egypt, unraveling the mysteries of a skilled architect constructing the Great Pyramid.
  4. Write about a young woman disguising herself as a soldier during the American Civil War to be with her beloved.
  5. Dive into the intrigues of the Byzantine Empire, following a protagonist entangled in palace politics.
  6. Explore the Silk Road and the adventures of a merchant forging connections between diverse cultures.
  7. Craft a tale around a healer in medieval Europe, combating superstitions during the Black Plague.
  8. Write about a displaced samurai adapting to the changing landscape of feudal Japan.
  9. Set a story during the Viking Age, focusing on a trader navigating both dangerous seas and political tensions.
  10. Explore the life of a suffragette in the early 20th century, fighting for women’s rights.
  11. Write about a navigator’s experiences during Christopher Columbus’s first voyage to the Americas.
  12. Set a story in Ancient Greece, depicting the challenges faced by a young athlete striving for Olympic glory.
  13. Dive into the court of Elizabeth I, exploring the intrigues and ambitions of a young courtier.
  14. Craft a narrative around a family’s struggles during the Dust Bowl era in the United States.
  15. Explore the adventures of a pirate in the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy.
  16. Write about a young artist navigating the vibrant art scene of Paris in the 1920s.
  17. Set a story in ancient China, following a scholar’s quest for knowledge during the Han Dynasty.
  18. Dive into the world of gladiators in ancient Rome, exploring the complexities of honor and survival.
  19. Explore the challenges faced by a Native American during the westward expansion of the United States.
  20. Write about a young girl’s experiences during the Salem witch trials, grappling with fear and hysteria.
  21. Craft a narrative around a detective solving crimes in Victorian London, inspired by Sherlock Holmes.
  22. Set a story in the court of Louis XIV, exploring the opulence and intrigues of Versailles.
  23. Write about a nurse’s experiences during World War I, navigating the horrors of the battlefield.
  24. Explore the life of a samurai caught in the turmoil of the Sengoku period in Japan.
  25. Dive into the world of ancient Mesopotamia, following a trader’s journey along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
  26. Craft a tale around a musician in Vienna during the classical era, inspired by the likes of Mozart and Beethoven.
  27. Set a story in the Roaring Twenties, capturing the glamour and excess of the Jazz Age.
  28. Write about a spy’s experiences during World War II, navigating deception and danger.
  29. Explore the hardships faced by pioneers on the Oregon Trail in the 19th century.
  30. Craft a narrative around a female gladiator in ancient Rome, challenging societal norms.
  31. Set a story during the French Revolution, depicting the struggles of a commoner caught in the turmoil.
  32. Write about a Native American’s journey during the Trail of Tears, facing displacement and adversity.
  33. Dive into the world of the samurai in the Edo period, exploring the code of bushido.
  34. Explore the life of a detective solving crimes in 1940s Los Angeles, capturing the noir atmosphere.
  35. Craft a tale around a young woman involved in the Suffragette movement in early 20th century Britain.
  36. Set a story in the bustling markets of the Hanseatic League, exploring trade and rivalry.
  37. Write about a nurse’s experiences during the Spanish Civil War, navigating political tensions.
  38. Explore the life of a young scholar in the Islamic Golden Age, contributing to advancements in science and philosophy.
  39. Dive into the court of Catherine the Great, depicting the intrigues and challenges faced by a young aristocrat.
  40. Craft a narrative around a conductor in East Berlin during the Cold War, navigating political tensions.
  41. Set a story in the ancient Indus Valley, exploring the mysteries of a sophisticated civilization.
  42. Write about a young woman disguising herself as a man to fight in the Napoleonic Wars.
  43. Explore the life of a silk weaver in medieval China, navigating the intricacies of the Silk Road.
  44. Dive into the world of espionage in Cold War-era Berlin, following a double agent’s struggles.
  45. Craft a tale around a family’s experiences during the Great Depression in the United States.
  46. Set a story during the Crusades, exploring the conflicts and alliances formed in the Holy Land.
  47. Write about a scientist’s discoveries during the Scientific Revolution, challenging conventional wisdom.
  48. Explore the life of a geisha in 19th century Japan, balancing tradition and personal aspirations.
  49. Craft a narrative around a detective solving crimes in Victorian New York, inspired by the city’s history.
  50. Set a story in the court of Akbar the Great, exploring the cultural richness of the Mughal Empire.
  51. Write about a young soldier’s experiences during the Korean War, grappling with the complexities of conflict.
  52. Explore the challenges faced by a female journalist during the suffrage movement in the United States.
  53. Dive into the world of the ancient Olmec civilization, unraveling the mysteries of their culture.
  54. Craft a tale around a young alchemist in medieval Europe, exploring the quest for knowledge.
  55. Set a story in the post-war reconstruction era, capturing the struggles and resilience of a community.
  56. Write about a navigator’s experiences during Ferdinand Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe.
  57. Explore the life of a female pirate in the Caribbean, challenging gender norms in the Golden Age of Piracy.
  58. Craft a narrative around a young artist in Renaissance Florence, navigating the complexities of creativity and patronage.
  59. Set a story in the aftermath of the Trojan War, exploring the challenges faced by survivors.
  60. Write about a detective solving crimes in ancient Babylon, navigating the city’s labyrinthine streets.

These are just a few examples from our extensive list of historical fiction writing prompts. From ancient civilizations to more recent events, this collection offers a diverse range of time periods, places, and situations to spark your imagination. Take a journey through history and let these prompts inspire your next historical fiction masterpiece!

Common Tropes in Historical Fiction

Historical fiction is a genre that often incorporates common narrative elements or tropes. These tropes can add depth and familiarity to the storytelling, allowing readers to engage with the historical setting and characters. Here are some of the most common tropes found in historical fiction:

1. Characters with Modern Values

Oftentimes, historical fiction features characters who possess modern values and beliefs, even though they are living in a different time period. This allows readers to connect with the characters on a more personal level and provides an opportunity to explore how individuals from the past may have navigated societal norms and expectations.

2. Extensive Research

Historical fiction authors typically conduct extensive research to ensure accuracy and authenticity in their storytelling. This includes researching the time period, historical events, and cultural norms to create a rich and immersive reading experience. The attention to detail in historical fiction is what sets it apart from other genres.

3. Storylines Centered Around Historical Events or Real People

Another common trope in historical fiction is the incorporation of historical events or real people into the narrative. Whether it’s a fictional character witnessing a significant historical event or a story centered around a well-known historical figure, these elements add depth and context to the story, making it more relatable and impactful.

In conclusion, historical fiction is a genre that embraces common tropes to create engaging and immersive storytelling experiences. Characters with modern values, extensive research, and storylines centered around historical events or real people all contribute to the richness of the genre. When writing historical fiction, striking a balance between historical accuracy and captivating storytelling is key to creating a compelling narrative.

Historical Romance Prompts

If you’re looking for inspiration to craft a romantic historical fiction story, these historical romance prompts will spark your creativity. Whether set in a grand ballroom or on the high seas, these prompts offer a range of scenarios and time periods for you to explore.

1. Forbidden Love in Ancient Rome

Set against the backdrop of the Roman Empire, explore the passionate and dangerous romance between a Roman senator’s daughter and a slave from a rival kingdom. Will they defy societal expectations and find a way to be together, or will their love be torn apart by political forces?

2. Star-Crossed Lovers During the Renaissance

Transport readers to the art and intrigue of the Renaissance, where a young painter falls in love with a noblewoman who is already promised to another. Can they overcome the barriers of class and societal expectations to be together, or will their love remain a secret forever?

3. Love in the Midst of World War II

Explore the challenges and sacrifices of love during one of the most tumultuous periods in history. Set your story against the backdrop of World War II, where a courageous nurse and a wounded soldier find solace and companionship amidst the chaos of war. Will their love endure the hardships and uncertainties of battle?

These historical romance prompts are just the beginning. Use them as inspiration to craft your own unique love story set in the past. From medieval castles to Victorian parlors, the possibilities for historical romance storytelling are endless.

Historical Fiction Mysteries

Historical fiction mysteries combine the intrigue of crime-solving with the rich backdrop of the past. These captivating stories transport readers to different time periods, where they can witness the unraveling of thrilling mysteries and the pursuit of justice. If you’re looking to dive into the world of historical crime fiction, here are some ideas and story starters to ignite your imagination:

Murder in Ancient Rome

Set during the height of the Roman Empire, this historical mystery follows a seasoned detective as they investigate a series of gruesome murders in the heart of Rome. As the detective delves deeper into the case, they uncover a web of political intrigue, sinister cults, and hidden motives that could have far-reaching consequences.

The Secret of the Stolen Painting

In this historical detective story, set in the vibrant art scene of Renaissance Italy, a renowned painter’s masterpiece is stolen on the eve of its public unveiling. As an up-and-coming detective, it is your task to navigate through the rivalries, scandals, and secrets of the art world to recover the stolen painting and expose the truth.

The Enigma of the Lost Manuscript

Transport yourself to Victorian England, where an enigmatic manuscript has gone missing from a prestigious library. As a brilliant detective, you must sift through the clues, confront hidden societies, and decode cryptic messages to uncover the truth behind the lost manuscript and the secrets it holds.

These historical fiction mystery prompts are just the beginning. Feel free to adapt and expand upon them based on your own interests and the specific time periods you find intriguing. By blending historical accuracy with thrilling storytelling, you can create a compelling world filled with suspense, intrigue, and unforgettable characters.

Multi-Period Sagas

If you’re looking to embark on an epic storytelling journey that spans multiple generations and time periods, multi-period saga prompts are the perfect starting point. These prompts provide you with the opportunity to explore the complexities of family dynamics, societal changes, and the interconnections between characters across different eras. With each new generation, you can delve deeper into the lives and struggles of your characters, creating a rich tapestry of historical fiction.

Generational Historical Fiction Ideas

  • Follow a family’s rise to power and influence over several centuries, exploring the ramifications of their actions across different historical periods.
  • Chronicle the lives of three generations of women in a matriarchal family, each facing unique challenges and defying societal expectations.
  • Trace the journey of a prominent family through the shifting landscapes of colonialism, revolution, and post-war reconstruction.

Family Saga Story Starters

  • An ancestral heirloom resurfaces, sparking a series of interconnected events that reverberate through the family’s history.
  • A long-lost letter discovered in an attic reveals a family secret, prompting a young descendant to uncover the truth behind their ancestors’ choices.
  • A protagonist discovers a hidden diary that details the untold stories of their ancestors, driving them to unravel the mysteries of their family’s past.

With multi-period saga prompts, you have the opportunity to craft a sweeping narrative that spans centuries, exploring how the actions and decisions of one generation impact the next. Dive into the intricate web of family bonds, societal shifts, and historical events, and let your creativity flow as you bring these captivating stories to life.

Western Fiction

Transport yourself to the rugged landscapes and lawless frontiers of the American West with these captivating western fiction prompts. Whether you’re drawn to stories of cowboys on cattle drives or outlaws on the run, the wild west offers endless possibilities for thrilling action and compelling characters.

1. The Lone Gunslinger

Follow the footsteps of a mysterious gunslinger as they navigate the lawless towns and harsh landscapes of the Wild West. Will they seek redemption, take down a notorious outlaw, or find solace in the depths of a whiskey bottle?

2. The Treasure Hunt

Embark on a high-stakes treasure hunt across the untamed frontier. As a group of unlikely allies, you must overcome treacherous obstacles, face rival gangs, and unmask a traitor within your own ranks.

3. The Rancher’s Revenge

Step into the boots of a determined rancher seeking vengeance against a ruthless cattle baron who destroyed their family. Will justice prevail as you navigate a web of corruption, confront hired guns, and rally allies to your cause?

From thrilling shootouts to heart-wrenching tales of love and loss, these western fiction prompts will ignite your imagination and transport you to a bygone era. So saddle up, grab your hat, and let the wild west inspire your next cowboy historical fiction adventure.

Alternate History, Fantasy, and Sci-Fi Historical Fiction

Alternate history, fantasy, and sci-fi historical fiction prompts offer an exciting blend of imagination and historical context. These prompts allow you to explore alternative realities, fantastical elements, and futuristic technologies within the framework of historical events. By integrating these genres, you can create unique narratives that captivate readers with their creativity and thought-provoking ideas.

Alternate History Prompts

With alternate history prompts, you have the opportunity to reimagine pivotal moments in history and explore how the world might have been different if certain events had unfolded in alternative ways. Delve into the possibilities of a world where ancient civilizations never fell, or where famous battles had different outcomes. Challenge conventional historical narratives and ignite your readers’ imagination with these thought-provoking prompts.

Fantasy Historical Fiction Ideas

Transport your readers to fantastical realms within historical settings with fantasy historical fiction prompts. Introduce magical elements, mythical creatures, and epic quests into historical events to create a unique blend of reality and imagination. From knights battling dragons during the Middle Ages to sorcerers wielding ancient magic in Renaissance Europe, these prompts provide endless inspiration for weaving enchanting tales.

Sci-Fi Historical Fiction Story Starters

Combining science fiction with historical fiction allows you to explore how futuristic technologies and scientific advancements would impact historical periods. Imagine a world where steampunk airships roam the skies during the Industrial Revolution, or where time-traveling agents manipulate key moments in history. These sci-fi historical fiction story starters will push the boundaries of your creativity and transport readers to fascinating realms of possibility.

Historical Action/Adventure Prompts

Ready to embark on an exhilarating historical fiction adventure? Look no further! These action-packed prompts are guaranteed to ignite your imagination and transport readers to enthralling moments in history. Whether you want to craft a daring quest during the Crusades or a heart-pounding exploration of uncharted territories, these thrilling historical fiction ideas will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

1. Journey to Ancient Rome

Step into the sandals of a courageous gladiator fighting for freedom in the grand arenas of ancient Rome. Will your protagonist rise to become a legendary champion or seek a daring escape from their captors? Explore the intricate political intrigue and blood-soaked battles of this captivating civilization.

2. High Seas Adventure

Set sail on a treacherous voyage as a swashbuckling pirate or a valiant sailor. Encounter ruthless buccaneers, fierce sea monsters, and the untamed power of the ocean. Navigate through treacherous waters and embark on a quest for hidden treasures that will reshape history forever.

3. The Wild West Showdown

Transport readers to the lawless landscapes of the American Wild West, where outlaws and lawmen clash in epic gunfights and showdowns. Tell the story of a fearless gunslinger seeking justice or a notorious bandit plotting their next heist. The dust and tumbleweeds hold untold secrets just waiting to be unraveled.

With these adventurous historical story starters, you have the power to transport readers to thrilling moments in the past. Let your imagination run wild and craft a captivating historical action/adventure novel that will leave readers begging for more.

Vetting Your Historical Fiction Novel Idea

Before diving into your historical fiction novel, it’s crucial to vet your idea and ensure its feasibility and historical accuracy. The research you conduct will be the foundation of your story, so it’s essential to validate your historical fiction story concept and maintain authenticity throughout your writing process.

Researching Historical Accuracy

Research is key when writing historical fiction. Start by immersing yourself in the time period you plan to write about. Read books, articles, and primary sources that provide insights into the historical context and events of that era. It’s essential to understand the social, political, and cultural aspects of the time to portray an accurate and believable setting. Take notes on specific details such as clothing, daily life, technological advancements, and significant historical events that shaped the period.

Validating Historical Fiction Story Concepts

Once you have a solid understanding of the historical background, it’s time to validate your story concept. Consider if your idea aligns with the historical facts and if it’s realistic within the given time period. Take into account the societal norms, customs, and limitations of the era to ensure your characters and plot are believable. If necessary, consult experts or historians who specialize in the time period to gain additional insights and validate your story’s premise.

Striking a Balance: Historical Accuracy and Engaging Storytelling

While historical accuracy is crucial, it’s equally important to strike a balance with engaging storytelling. Remember that you are writing fiction, and your primary goal is to captivate readers with a compelling narrative. Use historical details as a backdrop to enhance the story rather than overwhelming it. Blend fictional characters and events seamlessly into the historical setting, creating a cohesive and immersive reading experience for your audience.


Historical fiction writing prompts offer a springboard for writers to explore the past, create captivating characters, and tell compelling stories. Whether you choose to delve into romance, mystery, multi-period sagas, westerns, or other subgenres, the possibilities for historical fiction storytelling are endless. Use these prompts as inspiration to unleash your creativity and embark on a historical fiction writing adventure.

Historical fiction allows you to transport readers to different time periods, bringing history to life through engaging narratives. Through extensive research and attention to detail, you can immerse your readers in rich, vivid settings and provide them with a deeper understanding of the past.

So, grab your pen and paper or sit down at your keyboard. Let these historical fiction writing prompts guide you on a journey through time, where you can craft your own unique tales and captivate readers with your storytelling skills. Happy writing!

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