Online Class: Historical Fiction Writing

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  • 23
  • 47
    Exams &
  • 331
    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.

  • 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:
4.6 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(1,855 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)
  • 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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Course Title: Historical Fiction Writing
Course Number: 9770560
Course Requirements: View Course Requirements
Lessons Rating: 4.6 / 5 Stars (1,855 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
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: $90.00 U.S. dollars

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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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