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Writing historical fiction

Guardian Masterclasses

Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 10:00 AM - Sunday, June 29, 2014 at 5:00 PM (BST)

Writing historical fiction

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Ticket Type Sales End Price * Fee Quantity
Writing historical fiction Ended £399.00 £0.00
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Event Details

Learn to use the past to inspire new stories, with award-winning novelist Katharine McMahon

Historical fact is the heart of great historical fiction. Led by award-winning novelist Katharine McMahon (The Rose of Sebastopol, The Alchemist's Daughter), this highly practical weekend course will teach you how to research an era to discover period detail which will give life to your story, not merely decorate it.

You'll also learn how to build plot, character and structure against a historical backdrop through a series of talks, discussions and exercises.
You will leave this masterclass with a plan for a piece of original historical fiction, plus handouts detailing all the key learning points.

Course description

The course will cover:

  • The historical spark. What inspires us – a delve into a selection of historical snippets (diaries, letters, news reports) to find a springboard for fiction
  • Making choices. Taking liberties with history – decisions about author voice types of historical fiction
  • Probing history. How to research beyond the historical footnote. What are we looking for as we delve deeper?
  • Authenticity. The parameters of great historical fiction
  • Character. Historical characters/fictional characters – creating a character who works within four dimensions
  • Plot within a plot. An historical event intertwined with a fictional event
  • The historical landscape. Bringing it all together – a blend of voice, plot, character, setting, historical context

You will leave this masterclass with a plan for a piece of original historical fiction, handouts with key learning points about plot, character and research, and an understanding of how to take your idea forward.

Tutor profile

Katharine McMahon is the author of eight novels of which the latest is Season of Light, set during the French Revolution. The Rose of Sebastopol (Weidenfeld & Nicholson), set during the Crimean War, was selected for Richard and Judy's British Book Awards and was an international bestseller. A previous novel, The Alchemist's Daughter, was a Waterstones Paperback of the Year. Her novels are published in the US and across Europe. She is currently working on a sequel to her novel The Crimson Rooms.

Katharine has taught creative writing in universities and for the Arvon Foundations and is a mentor on the Eastern Arts Council Escalator programme; she has appeared at festivals across the country and on 'Woman's Hour' for BBC Radio 4. She has written lyrics for Janie Dee, which were performed on 'Loose Ends' and at the National Theatre Studio. Since April 2010 Katharine has served on the Sentencing Council of England and Wales. She has extensive experience in training both in the field of writing, and within the criminal justice system.

Full course and returns information on the Masterclasses website

Have questions about Writing historical fiction? Contact Guardian Masterclasses

When & Where

The Guardian
Kings Place
90 York Way
N1 9GU London
United Kingdom

Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 10:00 AM - Sunday, June 29, 2014 at 5:00 PM (BST)

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Guardian Masterclasses

Welcome to Guardian masterclasses – a unique programme of learning embedded within one of the world's most forward-thinking media organisations.

Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.

Harnessing the expertise and specialisms within the organisation, our courses are led by first class and award winning guardian professionals whilst also drawing on the skills and expertise of other leading figures at the forefront of the creative and digital industries.

The programme is aimed at anyone interested in personal or professional development whether that be refining your skills, focusing your ambition or simply broadening your mind and gaining inspiration.

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Writing historical fiction
London Events Class Film & Media

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