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History and Creative Writing: A Magnificent Pairing

Pencil writing

Creative writing is a wonderful skill that takes years of development to perfect. It takes practice, passion, enthusiasm, but most of all, it takes imagination.

Kid reading Honest History ancient rome

As parents you might be thinking how you can help nurture your child’s creativity. Where can they get inspired to create magical and fictional stories? How can they develop their creative minds? It’s simple; all they need to do is go back to the past and explore the magical world of history. It's what we do at Honest History every time we write one our magazine issues

Children can use what they’ve learned from history and bring these ancient worlds to life through their writing. History can give them a foundation for developing plots, storylines and characters. All they need to do is add some magic!

Start by making a simple list that answers the below questions. Try to have them be as detailed as possible.

  • Plot Planning – What is your story about?
  • Characterization – Who is involved in the story and what is their role in the story?
  • Story Setting – Where is the story happening? When is it taking place?
  • Story problem and resolution – What is the main issue that arises and how does it get solved?

Is your child having writer's block? Are they having trouble getting the creative juices flowing? Help them out by suggesting one of the following:

  • Choose a figure in history and use it as your inspiration for the main character of your story. Or why not use them as your inspiration for your next hero or villain?
  • Choose a historical place such as the Colosseum for the setting of your story.
  • Choose a momentous occasion in time such as the moon landing and use that as the main plot.
  • Choose a particular period of history or an important year such as the Stone Age or 1945 and use that as the baseline for the story.
  • Choose a famous artifact such as a Roman chalice and turn it into a magical and fictional object.
  • Choose a painting in history to inspire your story theme such as The Death of General Wolfe by Benjamin West or the Mona Lisa by Leonardo di Vinci.

Kid reading Honest History spirit of the games

The more historical knowledge your child gains through reading history stories, visiting museums and watching historical based movies, the more advanced their story writing will become. They can add detail that really relates to the period of time they have set their story in. They can provide good character development based on a historical figure they previously studied. This knowledge will bring life to their story!

Here is a link to a list of the best children’s historical fiction books. These books can show your children that by using their love for history they can channel that passion and bring it to life through story writing.

Here are some ideas to get you started on using history to inspire your creative writing:

Figures in History

  • Cleopatra
  • Genghis Khan
  • King Henry VIII
  • George Washington
Historical Places
  • The Pyramids of Giza
  • The Colosseum and Forum
  • Stonehenge
  • Parthenon
  • The Great Wall of China
Momentous Occasion
  • Moon Landing
  • Indigenous Americans meet Christopher Columbus 
  • The Wright brothers fly
  • WWII is over
Periods in History
  • Ancient Greece
  • Viking Age
  • Middle Ages/Medieval Period
  • Space Age
Artifacts & Paintings
  • Crown - e.g. Koh-i-Noor
  • Headstone, Tombstones, Slates - e.g. Rosetta Stone
  • Masks - e.g. Agamemnon
  • Treasures - e.g. Sion Treasures
  • Painting by Emanuel Leutze - Washington Crossing the Delaware
  • Painting by Limbourg Brothers - Duke of Berry on a Journey