Start Writing Historical Fiction

12-week online writing course

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Historical fiction is one of the most popular literary forms and one of the most varied. A historical novel can be a war-story, a romance, a whodunit, a tense socio-political drama, a quest or a pursuit. It can be a tightly focussed personal confession. It can be a wide-angled portrait of an era, with scores of characters (think of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall). It can bring the past to life in vivid detail. It can be a medium through which we view our own society with extra clarity.

If you are setting out to write historical fiction you will want the tools any novelist needs. This course will help you with the essentials – narrative structure, characterisation, setting, timing, point of view and voice.

At every point it will also ask you to consider the special challenges and opportunities historical fiction presents. You will be thinking about period-appropriate language, about the beliefs and values of people of the past, about the natural world and how humans’ relations with it have changed.

You will be reading extracts from a wide range of historical fiction and learning from authors’ techniques. You will be doing writing exercises designed to stimulate your imagination and sharpen your awareness of how writers achieve their effects. You will be submitting your own historical fiction for sympathetic and detailed feedback from the course tutor.

Dates and times


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