Historical fiction presents a story set in the past, often during a significant time period. In historical fiction, the time period is an important part of the setting and often of the story itself.
Historical fiction may include fictional characters, well-known historical figures or a mixture of the two. Authors of historical fiction usually pay close attention to the details of their stories (settings, clothing, dialogue, etc.) to ensure that they fit the time periods in which the narratives take place.
In some historical fiction, famous events appear from points of view not recorded in history, showing historical figures dealing with actual events while depicting them in a way that is not recorded in history. Other times, the historical event or time period complements a story's narrative, forming a framework and background for the characters' lives. Sometimes, historical fiction can be for the most part true, but the names of people and places have been in some way altered.
As this is fiction, artistic license is permitted in regard to presentation and subject matter, so long as it does not deviate in significant ways from established history. If events should deviate significantly, the story may then fall into the genre of alternate history, which is known for speculating on what could have happened if a significant historical event had gone differently. On a similar note, events occurring in historical fiction must adhere to the laws of physics. Stories that extend into the magical or fantastic are often considered historical fantasy.