Historical fiction is one of the most popular literary genres. When done well it brings history to life, teaching readers about important historical people and events while also evoking profound, relatable emotions through its characters. But how does the historical author balance history and fiction? In this craft essay, historian and author Colin Mustful carefully examines four Civil War narratives and identifies how each author incorporates important historical details into their novels without disrupting the fictional dream. Mustful, who is the author of several historical novels, identifies the elements that make a historical novel effective and engaging—he shows readers and writers alike how to write history through fiction.