Online Class: Historical Fiction Writing

In this course, we are going to explore historical fiction 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.

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  • 23
  • 47
    Exams &
  • 1,066
    have taken this course
  • 23
    average time
  • 2.3

Course Description

The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Timeless Historical Fiction

Discover the magic of intertwining past epochs with creative narratives through the enriching world of historical fiction writing. This isn't just about recounting stories of bygone eras; it's about creating an immersive experience. Delve deep into a meticulous blend of factual research and imaginative storytelling, bringing long-forgotten times back to life with vividness and authenticity.

In this comprehensive course, embrace the dual roles of historian and novelist. Learn to weave tales where characters leap from being mere footnotes in dusty tomes to vibrant personalities, complete with emotions, desires, and challenges. Dive deep into an intricate realm where every costume, speech, and setting becomes an authentic echo from the past.

From understanding the very foundation of historical fiction to mastering the art of breathing life into the narratives, this course covers the vast spectrum of this genre and its numerous facets.

Course Breakdown:

  • Lesson 1: Introduction to Historical Fiction - Journey to the Past
  • Lesson 2: Elements of Historical Fiction - Foundations of the Genre
  • Lesson 3-4: Delving into Sub-genres - Mysteries & Romances of Yore
  • Lesson 5: Classic Historical Fiction and Beyond - The Timeless Tales
  • Lesson 6-7: Crafting Characters & Evocative Settings - Bringing Stories to Life
  • Lesson 8: Fiction vs Reality - Striking the Perfect Balance
  • Lesson 9-11: Research Essentials - The Backbone of Authenticity
  • Lesson 12: Engaging with Experts - Gleaning Wisdom from Historians
  • Lesson 13: Historical Fiction vs. Historical Fact - Finding the Truth in Tales
  • Lesson 14: Ensuring Authenticity - Steering Clear of Plagiarism & Misinformation
  • Lesson 15-17: Crafting the Narrative - Plotting, Conflicts, and Subplots
  • Lesson 18-19: Writing Techniques - Perfecting Pacing & the Art of "Show, Don't Tell"
  • Lesson 20: Polishing Your Masterpiece - Editing & Re-editing
  • Lesson 21-22: Navigating the Publishing Maze - Agents & The Art of the Query Letter
  • Lesson 23: Wrapping Up - The Path Forward

As you traverse through each lesson, gain insights into the intricate elements that make a historical fiction piece stand out. Explore various sub-genres, dive deep into character motivations, map out captivating plots, refine your writing with editing masterclasses, and set forth confidently in the publishing realm.

By the end of this course, you won't merely understand historical fiction—you'll be adept at crafting tales that resonate with authenticity and timeless appeal. Enroll now, and embark on a journey that seamlessly marries the past with the present, creating narratives that future generations will cherish.

Course Motivation

  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.60 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(1,902 votes)

Lesson 1: What is Historical Fiction?

Historical fiction is writing that is fictional but in which elements from history play the main roles. Additional lesson topics: What Is Historical Fiction? 16 Total Points
  • Lesson discussions: Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete Assignment: Introduction
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Assignment: Historical Fiction Ideas
  • Assessment: Lesson 1 Exam

Lesson 2: Elements of Historical Fiction

Every genre of fiction has its own special elements. The elements of historical fiction are many and varied. 25 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment: Historically Realistic Characters
  • Assessment: Lesson 2 Exam

Lesson 3: Mystery as a Subgenre of Historical Fiction

Mystery and suspense can be really fun ways to tell your historical fiction story. 25 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Assignment: Your Sub-Genre Details
  • Assessment: Lesson 3 Exam

Lesson 4: Romance as a Subgenre of Historical Fiction

The historical romance is actually quite popular within the historical fiction subgenres, especially when you start to add in the gothic of the series. 20 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Assignment: Historical Romance Writing
  • Assessment: Lesson 4 Exam

Lesson 5: Classic Historical Fiction and More

You do not need to be an historian to write a good classic historical novel, just a good, thorough researcher. 20 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Assignment: Historical Fiction Writing Exercise
  • Assessment: Lesson 5 Exam

Lesson 6: Characters: The Who

Do your research. Remember that people in the past had different beliefs from ours today. Additional lesson topics: The Seven Rules for Writing Historical Fiction 24 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Assignment: Historical Character Writing Exercise
  • Assessment: Lesson 6 Exam

Lesson 7: Setting: The Where

Where you set your novel depends upon a variety of questions and answers. 19 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Assignment: Google!
  • Assessment: Lesson 7 Exam

Lesson 8: Real or Make-Believe?

The setting needs to be so vibrant that the readers feel they are there. 19 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 8 Assignment: Real or Make Believe?
  • Assessment: Lesson 8 Exam

Lesson 9: Research: What to Include

Writing historical fiction generally takes longer to write than any other genre because of the extensive amount of research one must do. 15 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Assignment: Pre Writing Questions
  • Assessment: Lesson 9 Exam

Lesson 10: How to Do Research

You need details in order to make the book realistic and to make the reader feel as if they have fallen back in time. 14 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 10 Assignment: Your List
  • Assessment: Lesson 10 Exam

Lesson 11: Hands-On Research (Writing What You Know, or Rather, What You Don't Know)

There are a lot of great sources out there that will help you in your research. 10 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 11 Assignment: The Process of Research
  • Assessment: Lesson 11 Exam

Lesson 12: The Experts

You should first do your own research. This way you can find out what you have available to you, look at it, organize your information, and then see what might be missing. 14 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 12 Assignment: Begin Your Research
  • Assessment: Lesson 12 Exam

Lesson 13: Historical Fiction and Fact

Writing historical fiction really is an art form, since historical fiction is made up of both truths and, well, half-truths or make-believe. 32 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 13 Assignment: Adding Fictional Characters
  • Assessment: Lesson 13 Exam

Lesson 14: Plagiarism, Lies, and Wikipedia

Either use a references section, a bibliography, or even an afterword to encompass all your research materials. 15 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 14 Assignment: References
  • Assessment: Lesson 14 Exam

Lesson 15: Plotting: Plot Lines and Plot Maps

Your plot is your tool to show rather than tell your reader about all the events that take place in your story as they unfold. Additional lesson topics: Plot Map 25 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 15 Assignment: Plotting
  • Assessment: Lesson 15 Exam

Lesson 16: Conflict

A story that has a conflict has a beginning, middle, and end. 20 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 16 Assignment: Conflict
  • Assessment: Lesson 16 Exam

Lesson 17: Subplots and Motivation

If the motivations are not believable, there is no reason for your reader to keep reading. 20 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 17 Assignment: Sub-Plots and Additional Characters
  • Assessment: Lesson 17 Exam

Lesson 18: Pacing

The novel's pacing comprises constant changes. Something is always happening and that is why we read. 20 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 18 Assignment: Pacing
  • Assessment: Lesson 18 Exam

Lesson 19: Showing, Rather than Telling

Showing your reader something instead of simply telling them is the basis of creative writing. 20 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 19 Assignment: Showing, Rather than Telling
  • Assessment: Lesson 19 Exam

Lesson 20: Editing and Re-editing

Editing is a tedious, time-consuming process that is generally not thought to be very much fun. However, it is a necessary piece of the puzzle. Additional lesson topics: The Adverb is Not Your Friend: Stephen King 20 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 20 Assignment: Editing
  • Assessment: Lesson 20 Exam

Lesson 21: Agents

Today, publishers are busier than ever and they do not have the additional staff available to read unsolicited manuscripts, so they rely on agents to do that. 20 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 21 Assignment: Agent Research
  • Assessment: Lesson 21 Exam

Lesson 22: The Query Letter

A query letter is your introduction to an agent or if you choose to forgo an agent, to a publisher. Additional lesson topics: How to Write a Query Letter; Sample Query Letters and Templates 20 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 22 Assignment: Writing Your Query
  • Assessment: Lesson 22 Exam

Lesson 23: Final Words

This lesson will sum up all the others, touching on all the important aspects to keep them at the forefront of your memory. Additional lesson topics: Random House: What I Look For in a Rough Draft 50 Total Points
  • Lesson discussions: What is your opinion of this course?; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course); Course Comments
  • Complete: The Final Assignment
  • Assessment: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

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.
  • Summarize 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.
  • Summarize 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.
  • Summarize what to do to find an agent or if you need one.
  • Develop a query letter.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

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  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
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Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Historical Fiction Writing
Course Number: 9770560
Lessons Rating: 4.60 / 5 Stars (1,902 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Last Updated: 2024
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 2.3 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $120.00 U.S. dollars

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Student Testimonials

  • "This was a wonderful course with a great deal of information. I have always wanted to write my own historical fiction, I may never do it, but I feel I have the correct tools to try now!" -- Jana E.
  • "I enjoyed being able to read work submitted by other students. It helped me understand how others were presenting their stories." -- Nancy C.
  • "The work at my own pace is the absolute best! At times, I couldn't decide weather to write and take another lesson! Each topic was very engaging and some of them were pretty difficult." -- Angela H.
  • "This was another great class with such a great instructor. If I have any problems she is extremely willing to help." -- Donna N.
  • "The instructor was warm, friendly, and encouraging. The information is vital to those hoping to see their writing published was presented in an open, generous and encouraging way." -- Barbara P.
  • "Everything was great!" -- Cathy K.