365 Challenge: Day 231 – Historical (LIST: Fiction Genres )

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Historical: novel that takes place in the past (and I’m gonna leave it at that, you’ll see why later)


Sundays are LIST days and today is no different. For the next 5 Sundays, I will pick a favorite book genre and discuss all the reasons why I love it. We will kick off the week with ‘historical’ because I am most looking forward to reading one of those types of novels on my TBR shelf,  but I can’t seem to find time to get to it. I’m hoping this will push me over the edge, but we’ll get to which book that is in a little bit.

Historical fiction generally has a broad range of definitions, but there are also many people who are fierce loyalists as to the specific rules. Although we all agree the story must take place in the past, there are a few points potentially up for debate:

  • Is there an acceptable # of years that must have passed before the author can write about the time period?
    • Some think it is after an entire generation (about 20 to 25 years) has gone by.
    • Some believe if the novel takes place at least 50 years ago, it qualifies.
    • Some feel an entire lifetime (about 80 years) must have passed.
    • MY VIEW: I’m in the ’50’ year bucket as when I think of WWII stories, I consider those historical because they occurred before I was born. In order to be a lifetime, it would have to be before 1937 based on today’s date, which seems like it’s excluding a lot. A generation is too little; that’s just a slight adjustment in time periods.


  • Does it need to be about a real person?
    • Some think it absolutely must include a real person who lived and breathed during that period in history, but contain some fictional events and characters.
    • Others think as long as the setting is historical, the character can be fully made up and not be connected to any other reality.
    • MY VIEW: I do not think the main character needs to be a real person; however, I do prefer the novel include some real-life characters to help the setting feel more realistic. It could be as little as discussions about current leaders or famous people within the book; potentially meeting or interacting with made-up characters, but when it’s strictly fully fictional, I’m not as impressed or excited.
  • Can it cross genres?
    • Many people believe it must not broaden into other genres, e.g. mystery, fantasy or science-fiction. To be true historical, it has to be strictly general fiction.
    • Others are open-minded and refer to it as a historical “sci-fi” or “mystery” novel. Yikes, what do we call a young adult mystery with fantasy elements set in a historical period?
    • MY VIEW: I think we have to leave rooms for other genres, but as sub-genre categories. It all starts with the initial high-level category, then breaks down. I don’t think we all agree with the main categories either, which makes it harder. For instance, are Adult, Contemporary or General part of the first level of categorization, and are they ultimately the same thing?
      • So… I’d say, first I’d categorize a fiction book by it’s time period, either historical, contemporary or future.
      • Then I’d add in the age, either children’s, young adult or adult.
      • Then I’d get into things like fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, thriller, romance, etc.


Now that we know all the options [and if I’ve missed any key points, please feel free to share]… let’s chat about why I love historical fiction:

  • I’m a history buff, so I enjoy being transported back to a time period where I have some knowledge or information.
  • I live in the current century, which means sometimes I need something different to distract me from what’s going on around me. I’m not a huge futuristic type guy, and I get tired of ‘technology’ solving all our problems and issues (meaning things being done the old-fashioned way are often more interesting to me).
  • I love making up stories about people that might have been true and might have had some connection to reality. The research aspects of what’s real and not-real amaze and interest me.
  • Reading or seeing the settings from the words the author chooses help ignite my literary passions. When it’s a world I wasn’t part of, it’s even more fantastic.


What are my favorite reads?

What’s next on my list in this genre?


How about you? Any favorites or recommendations? Do you not like this genre? Time to share!


Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, often organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me. Past weeks included:

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived
  • Weeks 21 – 25: Jobs I’ve held
  • Weeks 26 – 30: Top 10 entertainment options
  • Week 31: How to follow or contact me across all social media platforms
  • Week 32: How to help an artist with promotion


About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks.


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46 thoughts on “365 Challenge: Day 231 – Historical (LIST: Fiction Genres )

    Tea and Tales1 said:
    October 29, 2017 at 4:09 PM

    All Kate Morton!


    mistysbookspace said:
    October 29, 2017 at 4:35 PM

    I’ve never been big on reading historical fiction. The only books I can think of that I have read that had to do with history is Between Shades of Gray and Salt to the Sea by Rita Sepetys and I couldn’t tell you if they were accurate or not because I’m not a big history buff. I can say that I enjoyed reading them and I didn’t get bored from them.

    Liked by 2 people

    rugby843 said:
    October 29, 2017 at 4:41 PM

    Any Ken Follett books appeal to me I watch Outlander but am going to read the third one in the series to catch up on what the TV show missed.

    Liked by 2 people

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      October 29, 2017 at 5:01 PM

      I haven’t seen the show yet. I read the first book and plan to read the second one next month. Keep me posted on what you think!

      Liked by 1 person

    tahenryauthoress said:
    October 29, 2017 at 5:37 PM

    I write in this category. LOL. So of course I like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Yoly said:
    October 29, 2017 at 5:43 PM

    I agree with you on reading books based on some true events or true people. I feel more connected.

    Liked by 2 people

    BrizzleLass said:
    October 29, 2017 at 5:58 PM

    Love the Outlander books although I’ve only read the first two, bit then I did only discover them last year! I am funny about historical fiction I prefer it with a fantasy or paranormal element but I occasionally will read historical romance but only when I’m confident the author will write the women the way I like, because I really hate whimsical women.

    Liked by 2 people

    AJ said:
    October 29, 2017 at 6:07 PM

    I love historical fiction but had never given the rules much thought. I think I’ll just continue to enjoy them;). Kate Morton is a favourite of mine!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    wakinguponthewrongsideof50 said:
    October 29, 2017 at 8:21 PM

    Great informative post, as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    Book Club Mom said:
    October 29, 2017 at 8:23 PM

    I love historical fiction because I think it’s a great way to learn more about a different time period. I think the genres can overlap, especially with historical fiction and mystery or suspense. And I guess romance fits right into the category too. I’ve enjoyed reading some of the historical fiction books my kids have read for school and think it makes learning more interesting for kids.

    Liked by 3 people

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      October 29, 2017 at 8:24 PM

      Excellent point. So glad you contributed. 🙂 thx.


      Atwood Cutting said:
      October 30, 2017 at 11:23 AM

      Hello. I am so happy that you enjoy “…reading some of the historical fiction books my kids have read for school and think it makes learning more interesting for kids.” I was writing you a long email, but lost it when I tried to insert a visual about my historical fiction saga about bush living in Alaska forty years ago. I will try to reconnect with you when I return from my exercise class, as I think you’ll be interested. sleepingmoosesaga.com

      Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        October 30, 2017 at 2:35 PM

        We shall connect. I am writing the first author alert for Jordan this week, so we are getting closer to looking at yours!

        Liked by 1 person

    Ann Marie Bryant said:
    October 29, 2017 at 11:00 PM

    i enjoy historical fiction!

    Liked by 1 person

    Lalitha Raghavan said:
    October 30, 2017 at 12:25 AM

    I like Historical Fiction (HF) a lot as a genre. Some of my favorite books I have read also weave other genres into them:
    Gone with the wind, To Kill a Mockingbird (HF, Drama/Romance), The Alienist (HF, Crime/Thriller), Bridge on the Drina (HF), The Name of the Rose (does it qualify as HF?, Crime/Thriller), A Tale of Two Cities (HF, Drama) are the ones that come immediately to my mind. There are of course plenty on WWII, but I like a bit more of the little written about eras in history.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      October 30, 2017 at 8:16 AM

      Those are some great examples. I do like these classics, too. For some reason, I didn’t list any of them… like To Kill a Mockingbird!


    Kiersten said:
    October 30, 2017 at 9:24 AM

    I really like historical fiction. I’m particularly a fan on the Tudor period and Renaissance era. It’s funny, I’m actually not big on history in general (I’ve always gotten bored with the way history was taught to me), but historical fiction makes it more presentable and engrossing.

    Side note: I loooooved The Forgotten Garden and the first few Outlander books. It might be time for me to re-read them again soon.

    Liked by 2 people

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      October 30, 2017 at 9:29 AM

      I think it is time to re-read… have you read other Kate Morton?

      I also like the Philippa Gregory ones, but I forgot to include those

      Liked by 1 person

        Kiersten said:
        October 30, 2017 at 9:58 AM

        I read a few of Kate Morton’s books and enjoyed all of them. Philippa Gregory and Anne Easter Smith have some amazing historical fiction. Gregory was probably the one who got me hooked on historical fiction back when I was in college. I need to read her latest book.

        Liked by 1 person

    E. Michael Helms, writer said:
    October 30, 2017 at 10:32 AM

    I enjoy historical fiction very much. Love to get “lost” in times past, experiencing life and its rewards and hardships as it was then (whenever “then” was). I particularly enjoy the Civil War period. I wrote a Civil War/Reconstruction-era family saga a few years ago. The story was based on a real family and true events near where I grew up in the Florida Panhandle. It was rather lengthy, so the publisher decided to publish it as “Book One & Book Two.” I argued, but lost. I believe their decision hurt sales. To me, it’s the best work I’ve ever done as a writer. It sounds almost like a cliche, but two brothers fought on opposite sides of the war, and it took years for the family’s scars to heal.
    As for what “constitutes” historical timewise, that’s a matter of opinion as you mentioned. As for the “fifty years” you brought up (referencing WWII), it’s now been fifty years since I arrived in Vietnam as an 18-19 year old Marine. That’s well over THREE lifetime’s ago (age-wise) from when I first stepped foot “In-country.” Hard to believe. I dedicated my first published book to my best two friends/comrades, both of whom didn’t make it back. I wrote:
    “I have died your deaths a thousands times as I have grown old, yet you remain forever young in my memory.”
    I didn’t mean to get carried away here. But I suppose “my war” is now part of history. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      October 30, 2017 at 2:35 PM

      I’m sorry the publisher didn’t listen to you and the losses you suffered with friends in the war. We are indebted to you.

      As for your novel, it sounds very interesting. I still need to pick one to read as part of your Author Alert in a few weeks…

      Liked by 1 person

      Atwood Cutting said:
      November 1, 2017 at 11:28 AM

      I can relate to E. Michael Helms, who feels that stories of the Vietnam “conflict” can be appropriately relegated to the realms of historical fiction. My own husband served in the infantry in Vietnam, and then migrated to Alaska where we met, married and homesteaded in the 1970s. That pre-silicon chip era is a time that will not be repeated, (unless the survivalists are proven right, and we all have to start over again.) My own family saga (“Sleeping Moose Saga”) gives readers a glimpse into a recent past that “old timers” will reminisce about, and youth will never know, unless they read about it in descriptions called Historical fiction.

      Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        November 1, 2017 at 1:06 PM

        It sounds like that’s the one I need to read of all your works. Thanks for sharing. I just finished the first author alert last night, and it goes live Friday. I will be in touch to work on yours. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    scr4pl80 said:
    October 30, 2017 at 11:36 AM

    Yes to historical fiction. I loved reading the books by John Jakes that chronicled the Kent Family. I think I started reading them just after high school and the title of the first one was “The Bastard.” I was coming from 8 years of Catholic grammar school and the title was risque for me. I may have to re-read them. Good post, Jay.

    Liked by 1 person

    Cozynookbks said:
    October 30, 2017 at 9:41 PM

    Yes!! I love historical fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

    Rae Longest said:
    November 4, 2017 at 10:45 AM

    I read historically-based novels often, but what is funny is what you young whippersnappers call historical fiction, I lived through! Ha! I can tell you how accurate the novel/biography/historical novel is because, I was there!

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      November 4, 2017 at 3:59 PM

      I still think you should write the next big ‘historical’ one. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        Rae Longest said:
        November 4, 2017 at 8:25 PM

        I am not a writer and do not have the dedication it would take to write a novel. Blogs are enough for me.

        Liked by 1 person

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