Historical Fiction Writing

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Course Description

Writing historical fiction is quite simply writing a story that is set in the past. You will do your research to create a correct and realistic setting, based upon facts. Historical fiction can even include real people.

You are writing fiction, but it is so very important to do your homework so that you can pin down the mannerisms, costumes, conditions, vernacular and so on in order to make your novel realistic. In fact, historical fiction novels can take years to write due to the amount of ‘homework' (research), which you must do when writing one.

When you choose to write historical fiction, you are putting on two hats--you are both historian and storyteller. You are going to tell your readers both what happened at the time and what it felt like. Your characters will no longer be one-dimensional people we have read about in history; they will now be people whose thoughts and feelings we will be partial to.

In this course, we are going to explore the genre and all its offshoots. We'll discuss the various sub-genres, the types of characters and settings you may want to explore, character motivations, conflict, plot, plot mapping, editing, and pacing. We'll even cover agents, queries, and so much more. You will walk away from this course (at the end!) feeling as if you know exactly what you want to write and exactly how to write it. So join us today!

Course Requirements

This course will not require you to have previous experience in any particular area but you should have a high school reading level. No books will be required.

Course Topics


Historical Fiction

What is Historical Fiction?

Elements of Historical Fiction

Types of Historical Fiction




Screenplays, Young Adult and More…







Real or Make Believe?


What to Include

How to Research, The Lengthy Process

On (Write what you know), Library, Internet, Books

Should You Pay an Expert?

Historical Fiction and Fact

Plagiarism, Lies, and Wikipedia


Plot lines, Plot Maps


Sub-Plots and Motivation


Show, Don’t Tell

Wrapping it All Up




Course Materials

All course material will be provided in the lessons and netlinks. There are no required materials to purchase before taking the class.

Grading Policy

Each lesson will include a lesson review quiz along with an assignment. Students will successfully complete this course by mastering all learning outcomes with 70% or higher overall grade.

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define what historical fiction is.
  • Define the elements of historical fiction.
  • Describe mystery as a sub-genre of historical fiction.
  • Describe romance as a sub-genre of historical fiction.
  • Know classical historical fiction and more.
  • Identify characters, the who.
  • Identify setting, the where.
  • Determine if what you're writing should be real or make-believe.
  • Describe methods on how to do research.
  • Recognize who the experts are and how to get information from them in your writing process.
  • Determine historical fiction and fact.
  • Know plagiarism, lies, and Wikipedia issues.
  • Describe plotting techniques.
  • Describe what conflict is and how to build on it.
  • Describe subplots and motivation.
  • Identify the correct pacing for your story.
  • Describe showing, rather than telling techniques.
  • Describe the editing and re-editing processes.
  • Know what to do to find an agent or if you need one.
  • Develop a query letter, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Assessment Guide

Assessment Points
Lesson 1 Assignment: Historical Fiction Ideas10
Lesson 1 Exam5
Lesson 2 Assignment: Historically Realistic Characters20
Lesson 2 Exam5
Lesson 3 Assignment: Your Sub-Genre Details20
Lesson 3 Exam5
Lesson 4 Assignment: Historical Romance Writing15
Lesson 4 Exam5
Lesson 5 Assignment: Historical Fiction Writing Exercise15
Lesson 5 Exam5
Lesson 6 Assignment: Historical Character Writing Exercise20
Lesson 6 Exam4
Lesson 7 Assignment: Google!15
Lesson 7 Exam4
Lesson 8 Assignment: Real or Make Believe?15
Lesson 8 Exam4
Lesson 9 Assignment: Pre Writing Questions10
Lesson 9 Exam5
Lesson 10 Assignment: Your List10
Lesson 10 Exam4
Lesson 11 Assignment: The Process of Research5
Lesson 11 Exam5
Lesson 12 Assignment: Begin Your Research10
Lesson 12 Exam4
Lesson 13 Assignment: Adding Fictional Characters30
Lesson 13 Exam2
Lesson 14 Assignment: References10
Lesson 14 Exam5
Lesson 15 Assignment: Plotting20
Lesson 15 Exam5
Lesson 16 Assignment: Conflict15
Lesson 16 Exam5
Lesson 17 Assignment: Sub-Plots and Additional Characters15
Lesson 17 Exam5
Lesson 18 Assignment: Pacing15
Lesson 18 Exam5
Lesson 19 Assignment: Showing, Rather than Telling15
Lesson 19 Exam5
Lesson 20 Assignment: Editing15
Lesson 20 Exam5
Lesson 21 Assignment: Agent Research15
Lesson 21 Exam5
Lesson 22 Assignment: Writing Your Query15
Lesson 22 Exam5
The Final Assignment30
The Final Exam20
Total Points:483

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