Monday, March 5, 2018

The Newbie's Guide To Writing Historical Fiction

Stephanie Morrill is the creator of and the author of several young adult novels, including the historical mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street (Blink/HarperCollins). Despite loving cloche hats and drop-waist dresses, Stephanie would have been a terrible flapper because she can’t do the Charleston and looks awful with bobbed hair. She and her near-constant ponytail live in Kansas City with her husband and three kids. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, Instagram, and sign up for free books on her author website.

Once I've written two to three chapters, I have more of a feel for who my characters are and how the story should unfold. This is when I set aside what I've written, open a Word doc, and begin my synopsis.

Over the course of my 10 years of writing professionally, I have gone from haaaaaaating synopses to now rejoicing when it's time to write one. I wrote two blog posts about my process for them last year, so I won't repeat that, I'll just link to them:

And then Shan wrote a post about how she uses her synopsis as an outline. That's a good one too.

As a historical writer, once I see my synopsis, I have an even better idea of what kind of research I may need to do ahead of time.

For example, for Within These Lines, I knew a character would be shipping out with the navy and getting taken prisoner, so I needed to research possibilities for that in order to build my timeline correctly. I also knew that my climax surrounded a historical event in the concentration camp, so I spent time researching that as well.

More research topics always crop up as I get into the first draft, but the synopsis helps me to take care of a few ahead of time.

Lastly, if you write historical or historically-inspired fiction, I have written an ebook that I'm giving away for free to those who are email subscribers!

When I decided to write historical fiction, I was lucky enough to have a seasoned historical fiction author as my best friend. I wrote this ebook to help guide those who don't have that advantage! If you're not already signed up to receive my author emails, you can do that here and grab your copy.

Happy writing!


  1. I'll have to remember to download this later on :D

    1. Let me know i you need help as someone who is already subscribed!

  2. I just subscribed! Thank you for this wonderful resource, Mrs. Morrill!

  3. Thank you so much for the ebooks. I look forward to reach each.

  4. Stephanie, I'm pretty sure I am already subscribed to your newsletter. Can I still get a copy of this ebook?

    1. Of course! If you still have the last email I sent out, there's a link in it. If you don't, email me and I'll make sure to get it to you. (Stephanie(at)