Historical Fiction Writing

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  • 23
  • 47
    Exams &
  • 771
    have taken this course
  • 23
    average time
  • 2.3

Course Description

Writing historical fiction is quite simply writing a story that is set in the past. You will do 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) required.

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.

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  • 6 Months to Complete
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  • Accredited CEUs
  • Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

    Course Lessons

    Average Lesson Rating:
    4.6 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
    "Extraordinarily Helpful"
    (1,798 votes)

    Lesson 1: What is Historical Fiction?

    Historical fiction is writing that is fictional but in which elements from history play the main roles. 16 Total Points
    • Review Article: What Is Historical Fiction?
    • Take Survey: Reasons for Taking this Course
    • Complete Assignment: Introduction
    • Complete: Lesson 1 Assignment: Historical Fiction Ideas
    • Complete: 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
    • Complete: 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
    • Complete: 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
    • Complete: 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
    • Complete: Lesson 5 Exam

    Lesson 6: Characters: The Who

    Do your research. Remember that people in the past had different beliefs from ours today. 24 Total Points
    • Review Article: The Seven Rules for Writing Historical Fiction
    • Complete: Lesson 6 Assignment: Historical Character Writing Exercise
    • Complete: 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!
    • Complete: 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?
    • Complete: 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
    • Complete: 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
    • Complete: 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
    • Complete: 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
    • Complete: 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
    • Complete: 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
    • Complete: 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. 25 Total Points
    • Review Article: Plot Map
    • Complete: Lesson 15 Assignment: Plotting
    • Complete: 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
    • Complete: 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
    • Complete: 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
    • Complete: 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
    • Complete: 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. 20 Total Points
    • Review Article: The Adverb is Not Your Friend: Stephen King
    • Complete: Lesson 20 Assignment: Editing
    • Complete: 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
    • Complete: 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. 20 Total Points
    • Review 2 Articles: How to Write a Query Letter; Sample Query Letters and Templates
    • Complete: Lesson 22 Assignment: Writing Your Query
    • Complete: 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. 50 Total Points
    • Review Article: Random House: What I Look For in a Rough Draft
    • Take Poll: What is your opinion of this course?
    • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
    • Complete: The Final Assignment
    • Complete: 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, and
    • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

    Additional Course Information

    Online CEU Certificate
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    Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
    Course Title: Historical Fiction Writing
    Course Number: 9770560
    Course Requirements: View Course Requirements
    Lessons Rating: 4.6 / 5 Stars (1,798 votes)
    Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
    Course Type: General Education (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
    Instructor: Dana Kristan
    Syllabus: View Syllabus
    Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
    Course Fee: $65.00 (no CEU Certification) || with Online CEU Certification: $90.00

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    Student Testimonials

    • "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.

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