GET STARTED IN HISTORICAL FICTION: WORKSHOP SERIES

Introducing the series…

Get started in historical fiction is a series of online workshops designed to help you start writing historical fiction. There are three workshops in total, each covering a different aspect of getting started in historical fiction. You can pick and choose which workshops you want to take, or you can take all three!

Each workshop lasts six weeks and consists of a series of assignments, all of which are assessed by a tutor. As you tackle the assignments and receive expert feedback, you’ll move closer to achieving the objective of each workshop. All assignments are accompanied by a help sheet with useful tips. You’ll be able to ask your tutor questions as you go along, and you’ll get final feedback at the end. As the workshops are online, you will participate remotely.

Below, you’ll find details on each workshop. Please note: the current round of workshops began on 4 November 2019 and will end on 4 May 2020. The booking deadlines for all workshops have now passed. If you would like to participate in these workshops in the future, you can join our email list or check this page regularly for announcements on forthcoming rounds.

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Workshop one: Get started

What is it?

Workshop one focuses on building the fundamental skills you need to start writing historical fiction, including creating a historical setting while balancing history vs. story, writing historical dialogue, creating tension, using ‘show’ and ‘tell’, and more. At the end, you’ll have some of the most critical skills you need to start writing historical fiction.

Who is it for?

This workshop is ideal for people who want to start writing historical fiction and are looking for a structured way to build the necessary skills. You may not have written anything yet and are looking for a way to get started. You may have started already but aren’t sure whether you’re getting it right. Either way, this workshop aims to help you start writing with confidence.

Schedule

Week one: Bringing historical settings to life

Your first assignment will be to use a real historical source as inspiration for creating a fictional setting. You’ll learn to immerse the reader in your writing by creating an authentic sense of every-day life while balancing history with story.

Week two: Writing historical dialogue

In assignment two, we’ll show you how to rewrite modern-sounding and overly stilted dialogue to make it more natural and appropriate to your chosen historical era, while still being intelligible to the modern reader. This is a crucial skill for any historical fiction writer.

Week three: Internal thought

Assignment three focuses on internal thought. You’ll learn how to format it and how to use it to enhance the reader’s understanding of your characters.

Week four: Show and tell

In your fourth assignment, you’ll use a combination of ‘show’ and ‘tell’ to depict a character’s feelings. You’ll learn how to do both and how to strike the right balance between them.

Week five: Using viewpoint

Assignment five introduces you to different viewpoints and shows you how they can be used to build tension. Your task will be to rewrite a scene from an alternative viewpoint, using the features of that viewpoint to your advantage.

Week six: Drivers of plot – creating conflict, mystery, and suspense

For assignment six, you’ll learn to use three of the key drivers of plot – conflict, mystery, and suspense. Your task will be to create an engaging scene using all three.

Booking

The deadline for booking this workshop has now passed.

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Workshop two: Outline your novel

What is it?

Workshop two guides you through the process of creating a detailed outline for your historical novel, including plot, setting, theme, characters, and chapters. Your tutor will provide feedback and assistance every step of the way. At the end, the objective is for you to have a complete novel outline.

Who is it for?

This workshop is for people who have an idea for a historical novel and are ready to turn it into an actionable plan. Whether this is your first attempt at an outline, or whether you’ve already started one and are looking to revise it in a structured way with feedback, this workshop is for you.

Schedule

Week one: Summarise your plot

In your first assignment, you’ll outline your plot in stages, starting with a big-picture, one sentence summary and finishing with a more detailed full page summary.

Week two: Outline your setting and themes

For assignment two, you’ll outline the key aspects of your setting, including locations and relevant historical background. You will also outline your themes.

Week three: Profile your main characters

Assignment three focuses on your main characters. Using our character profile template, you’ll profile your three main characters or all of your point of view characters, depending on your narrative structure.

Week four: Profile your secondary characters

Assignment four focuses on secondary characters. Using our character profile template, you’ll profile your key secondary characters.

Week five: Summarise your chapters

In assignment five, you’ll turn your plot outline into a provisional list of chapters, creating short summaries for each.

Week six: Complete your outline

In assignment six, you’ll bring all the different parts of your novel outline together, edit and revise them, and submit the finished version for final feedback.

Booking

The deadline for booking this workshop has now passed.

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Workshop three: Write your first chapter

What is it?

Workshop three guides you through the process of writing the first chapter of your historical novel. Your tutor will provide feedback and assistance every step of the way. At the end, the objective is for you to have a complete first chapter.

Who is it for?

This workshop is for people who want to start writing the first chapter of their historical novel. Taking that first step can feel daunting, but this workshop will walk you through it and provide you with the support and feedback you need.

Schedule

Week one: Plan your first chapter

For assignment one, you’ll plan your first chapter, using our checklist to ensure it contains the key elements necessary to hook your reader.

Week two: Write your opening lines

For your second assignment, you’ll write your opening lines. You’ll learn how to grab your reader’s attention by starting your story the right way.

Week three: Write your first draft

For assignment three, you’ll have two weeks to write an initial first draft of your first chapter. You may or may not reach the end, but the aim is to produce a draft that you can receive feedback on and then revise and complete.

Week five: Revise and complete your draft

For your fourth assignment, you’ll have two weeks to revise and complete your draft. You’ll then submit it for final feedback from your tutor.

Booking

The deadline for booking this workshop has now passed.