Historical Inspiration

Anyone else inspired by history? How much of historical events do you change/keep? How do you use history to worldbuild? I have some events that inspire me, but I don’t want to be like writing history with the names changed, lol


I’ve written Historical Fantasy set in 1100 Denmark and East Anglia.

And now I’m very inspired by the history of Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland and how they were ruled by Denmark. So history is a very big part of my current WIPs :smile:

I’ve changed some things around though, but the cultures and some of the things happening have been directly inspired by those three north Atlantic countries. But then there’s also my own artistic freedom mixed in with it all.


That all sounds very cool!

In your WIPs, have you created a different world inspired by the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland, or are they set in those countries specifically?

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I’ve made up a new world. Or well, so far I’ve made up four countries. So to the north it’s all about Greenland and Iceland, a little further south it’s Faroe Islands and even further south yet, there’s more of a Scottish feel - but still with a Nordic twist. :smile:

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I’ve recently been inspired by some historical research I was doing about Morocco, and think it’ll be the basis of my next project (after my current WIP if I can ever finish it). But I think I’ll have to make up a new world because I want to combine inspiration from multiple countries.

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Do it! It’s really really fun, so I can highly recommend it. There’s also just a lot of freedom in making up your own world. Who’s to say you’ve done something wrong? No one. You made the world, you make the rules.


Hey! I use some historical events in my stories. I more use them to set the time period but they can also influence character decisions


I’m setting my story in Scotland so I’ll probably have to do a little research, but not too much since it also has some fantasy.

Faroe Islands sounds really interesting.

And I can totally vouch for Scotland! Been living here for about four years now :smile:


I wrote two. One about the American Civil War and another about WWI. I picked out what facts I thought were important and only added those. Like battles and dates. The in-betweens are about personal growth and love which is timeless.

I also wrote one about genealogy which was pretty fun. A girl learning she’s the descendant of the lost Romanov princess. At that point I don’t need but a few facts.

Love history. I will typically use more of an overview of historical events in my stories and kind of mix and match. For example one could use battle tactics from the Civil War and political intrigue from the French Revolution. Grabbing different pieces of history allows you to create an entirely new story.

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My story is mostly interlaced by historical events around 1030 and mythology so… a lot. Not many of them are addressed as a part of the main story but circumstances that the characters travel through.

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I have degrees in history/archaeology, so the idea of historical fiction gives me the heebyjeebies, it is very rarely done well. However I do use ancient or mediaeval lifeways and knowledge in my stories. My woodelves have a culture related to the ancient Jomon culture of Japan. My pseudo-mediaeval All Realm stories use accurate accounts of swordfighting techniques. Reality, or past reality, is used to ground the fantasy.


That’s what I want to do. I don’t want people to think I am writing or attempting to write about a real culture. But I am inspired by them

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This seems like a perfect thread to shove this article into:

I found this to be incredibly interesting. Especially the part where the shoe is cut to show off the men’s socks because that was sexy. Or the fact that these shoes got banned because they were just too ridiculous.

And this article here:

Between the historical account of what must have happened and the crazy legend that came out of it, it’s a great source of story ideas.

I also love this one podcast episode (for the life of me, I can’t remember if it was Stuff to Blow your Mind or Part Time Genius), where they went through historical jobs that don’t exist anymore and there were some in there that I really want to incorporate into my stories just because they’d add so much texture and are aspects of life that we never think about. Also, the king’s jester seems like a very useful job/character that I’d love to put in there somehow. Apparently they were known for being very critical of the monarchy and used their jokes as a platform to voice their opinions to the king, but also, their jokes sometimes got them executed. They were historical versions of Steven Colbert, basically.

Anyway, yes: history inspires me. It lights up that part of my brain that gets me thinking about "what if"s and "I wonder"s.

Scientific articles do the same thing for me. I am working very hard to build a story just to use the weird fact that flamingos produce a kind of cheese in their cheeks to feed their babies.

My series is set in 2 B.C-3 A.D and the setting is Romanized Gaul. Which means that the world build is historical (cities, social structures, culture conflict etc.). I have grown up with a lot of interest for the time periode and I do a lot of research, but the fantasy element is based on the druids and how they build themselves a future under Roman rule and that is where the magic comes in.

I categorize my stories as Historical fantasy, BUT on Wattpad have them listed as Historical fiction. I made this decision because most of the people who like the series, are interested in the time period, and they like the historical setting. However I have always doubted whether it was the right category, since the magic system is quite central to the plot.

My husband argued that he would pick up fantasy, but not historical fiction because he considers that ‘too factual’. My personal opinion is that I prefer fantasy too because historical fiction tends to be very grim. Fantasy can be too, but there is more playroom…

Do you guys have opinions on this? (and sorry for hopping into the conversation!)

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Way too much, it’s a cultural mix of all civilisations before 1200 AD.

OOOOH, what was your focus when earning your degrees? I’m assuming medieval history? I specialized in more twentieth century American history with a Cold War focus, but my Medieval Warfare class was one of the BEST classes I took. Jim Bradbury’s The Medieval Archer was just the best :ok_hand:

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Mediaeval Middle East and Europe. I may expand my story into the Middle East sometime, or maybe write another story including it.

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