What is the course about?
Historical fiction is writing that remakes the past, pulling from anecdote and archive details that ignite the imagination of writer and reader alike. On this course you'll learn how to begin work on a writing project that demands sensitivity to a particular time period, how to start the research journey and when to stop. You'll discuss how to fictionalise historical detail, and work on developing the elements of craft such as character and plotting within the context of a period piece through guided exercises. This course will also incorporate an element of workshop that will enable you to gain valuable constructive feedback on your work in progress.
The Tutor: Jonathan Barnes is the author of three novels. He writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement and the Literary Review and has contributed to the Arts pages of The Lancet. He is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Kingston University. He is also the author of several full-cast audio dramas from Big Finish Productions, featuring characters from Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein and Doctor Who.
City Lit reserves the right to change course tutors from those advertised in this outline. In line with our refund policy we are unable to grant a refund on the grounds of a change of tutor.
What will we cover?
- how to begin a short or long-form historical fiction project
- the research journey
- turning the historical record into fiction
- key craft elements such as character, plot, and especially setting within the context of historical fiction.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- brainstorm creative ideas productively
- turn historical fact into compelling fiction
- give and receive constructive critical feedback with confidence
- analyse excerpts of historical fiction for craft.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for those with some creative writing experience. You will need to be prepared to participate in class and to share your written work.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
- tutor-led presentations
- class discussion
- group activities
- individual writing exercises
You will be given optional homework set by your tutor.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There are no additional costs associated with this course. You will need to bring writing materials, and a laptop if you need one.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Lots! You can continue developing your writing project in one of our short story or novel writing courses, or if you're ready for the challenge you can apply to enrol on one of our Advanced critical workshops in fiction or multigenre. You might also wish to focus on honing a specific element of craft such as character or point of view in one of our craft focus courses. Check out our prospectus for current offerings.
All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details