FICT 38 W — The Past Is Never Past: Writing History-Based Fiction
In this hands-on course, you will plot and begin writing a historical novel of your own. Our approach will be systematic. First, we will look at what constitutes great work, examining books as varied as Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient and Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress to see how they successfully handle plot, theme, place, and characterization. We will discuss what makes these novels work and why they remain so pressingly relevant to our time. We will employ research and plotting techniques to simultaneously begin writing the first chapter of our novel. Finally, we will share our chapters in workshop to get feedback on what works and what doesn’t. By the end of the course, you will have completed a chapter of ten to twenty-five pages and have a foundation for the longer work.
This course is appropriate both for those who are just
getting started and those who have been working on an
idea that they want to bring to life.
Although the time commitment for an online writing course is dependent upon one’s degree of participation, students should plan on investing four to six hours per week in order to gain substantial benefit from the course.
Deborah Johnson, AuthorDeborah Johnson’s latest novel is The Secret of Magic, which received the 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. Her previous novel, The Air Between Us, received the Mississippi Library Association Award for Fiction. She has been a translator and an editor, a broadcaster at Vatican Radio, and director of the Colom Foundation in Columbus, Mississippi.
Textbooks for this course:
(Required) Walter Mosley, Devil in a Blue Dress (ISBN 978-0743451796)
(Required) Elizabeth George, Write Away (ISBN 978-0006050447)