Going Down in History: Writing Historical Fiction
Historical fiction is a rich and popular genre, encompassing human experience across vast geographies, cultures and eras. History is one place where you can plunder true stories, rework them as you like and be safe from the repercussions. Or can you?
This writing workshop will explore how to write dramatic and powerful historical fiction. Through hands-on exercises, you will learn to bring the past to life and your ideas into written form. You’ll explore drawing on history as a rich source of stories; the perils, rewards and ethics of using real characters, events and settings; how ‘truth’ and fiction can mingle and enrich each other, and using language to create a sense of time and place.
- The basis of writing fiction (Exercise 1)
- What is historical fiction?
- Your favourite works of historical fiction
- Analysis of setting examples (in pairs and in group)
- The world of your novel (Exercise 2)
- Lunch break
- Analysis of language examples (in pairs and in group)
- Structure and point of view (Exercise 3)
- Using real characters and events
- What will you do after this workshop?
- Moving forward if you get stuck (Exercise 4)
- Distribution of resources /reading list
Expected Learning Outcomes
- Improve their writing styles through repeatable exercises;
- Understand how to analyse the use of language in historical fiction; and
- Have the skills to research historical fiction.
Pen and paper. Participants with a work in progress may bring a one-paragraph summary for reference.
About the tutor
Dr Jesse Blackadder is fascinated by adventurous women in history and forgotten and hidden stories. She has written nine novels for adults and children, including two major works of historical fiction. Her novels use history as their leaping-off point, entwining fact and fiction into compelling stories. She is the winner of the 2011 Antarctic Arts […]