Kate Bradley’s Top Tips for Writing Sagas

Kate Bradley

HarperFiction commissioning editor Kate Bradley’s has kindly given us some great tips for aspiring saga writers. Kate is about to publish the first book in a brand new saga series next week, called Churchill’s Angels, which we’re all very excited about!

Top Tips for Aspiring Saga Writers

  • Familiairise yourself with the genre, Sagas are the industry term for Historical Family Dramas.
  • Find the right era for you – successful Saga writer’s tend to stick to a particular historical period, such as either World War II or the late Victorian era.
  • Research who is selling well in this genre. The Sunday Times bestseller lists are a good start. Have a look and see which periods they are writing about.
  • Don’t go too far back in time, readers want to feel a connection with the period – an era that their mothers or grandmothers would be familiar with.
  • Regionality can be a big selling point – if you are from a big city such as Liverpool, Manchester or London, you’ll have a ready made legion of readers who want to read a dramatic story set in their home town.
  • Saga fans want their heroines to be put through the ringer, but remember that they are waiting for the big satisfying happy ending too.
  • The devil is in the detail – make sure that give an authentic feel to the way that the characters speak and what they wear.
  • Do your research – part of the appeal of Sagas is the the rich social history that gives the books their backdrop.
  • Your heroine must be a girl from a modest background – most Sagas are set in working class communities. Too posh and your readers won’t identify with her. Airs and graces have no place in a Saga!
  • Done be afraid to be gritty – reading about hardship in the old days is a reminder of how lucky we are now.

** If you are writing a family drama, what are your top tips?**

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