Writing historical fiction

Course Dates: 02/06/20 - 07/07/20
Time: 19:40 - 21:40
Location: International House

Is there a historical event, or maybe even in a period in time that you think is rich in great stories? Ever wondered how writers like Hillary Mantel, Phillipa Gregory and C.J. Sansom do it? Dig into the past for inspiration on this course and learn how to create historical fiction that speaks vividly to its period and to a contemporary readership.


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.

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
- workshop

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.


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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

Good teaching and structure, with a teacher who gives crisp and insightful commentary.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 29/06/2019)

Book your place

Course Code: HW606

Tue, eve, 02 Jun - 07 Jul '20

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Full fee: £59.00
Senior fee: £59.00
Concession: £24.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Any questions? writing@citylit.ac.uk
or call 020 7492 2717

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.