Bestselling author Melanie Benjamin doesn’t have a magical ratio for the balance of fact and fiction in historical novels, she’s sorry to say.
However, she can share four lessons from her historical-fiction writing experience:
1. Decide on the subject, which is the most challenging part of all.
2. Once the subject has been decided, determine which facts to use.
3. Once those facts have been decided upon, use them as a road map or markers.
4. Remember that you have some responsibility to history.
Benjamin — author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue, The Aviator’s Wife, and The Girls in the Picture — explains further in a column on Writer’s Digest.