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Essential Elements of Historical Fiction

A six-week live, interactive workshop taught by Aimie K. Runyan, author of Across the Winding River and Daughters of the Night Sky. 

April 16, 23, 30. May 7, 14, & 21  2024
8 p.m. - 10 p.m. Eastern (5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Pacific)

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How popular is historical fiction? Last year, three of the five novels nominated for the National Book Award were historical novels. As Esquire magazine said, “Historical fiction is suddenly everywhere. It’s on the bestseller list, in college classrooms, and probably on the lap of the woman sitting next to you on the train.”


From intimate stories set against the backdrop of war to sweeping sagas of ancient times, historical fiction allows you as a writer to inhabit another era through compelling characters and imaginative plots.


Now you can learn the essential elements of historical fiction through a six-week workshop. This deep dive into the genre is perfect for the beginning to intermediate writer looking for a better understanding of what makes historical fiction work.

In this course, you will...

  • gain a better understanding of the current trends and conventions in historical fiction and learn how to develop a compelling and saleable premise.

  • utilize best practices for research and learn to organize and outline your work effectively.

  • develop complex and intriguing characters and examine the fine line between fact and fiction and when it should be crossed.


In addition to lecture and analysis of the leading novels in the genre, you’ll complete targeted activities in class and be asked to bring samples of your own work.


This is a highly interactive course, so bring your ideas and questions for a rich experience of practical steps and inspiration as you create your historical novel!

Here’s how the class will unfold.

Week One: What is Historical Fiction? Developing a Workable Historical Premise

  • The nuances of the genre, current market trends, and the state of the industry.

  • Choosing a compelling and saleable topic for a historical novel.

Week Two: Research Methods and Best Practices

  • How to use various methods, old and new, for research—and how best to use them in a novel.

Week Three: Outlining and Organization for Historical Novels

  • How to set up a novel for success before you start to write.

Week Four: Historical Characterization

  • Creating characters that are historically accurate, yet compelling for 21st-century readers.

Week Five: Writing an Atmospheric Historical Novel 

  • How to write for all the senses in a historical context.

Week Six: Crafting Fiction in Historical Fiction

  • How to skillfully blend fact and fiction in the historical genre.


Aimie K. Runyan is a multi-published and bestselling author of historical and contemporary fiction. She has been nominated for a Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Writer of the Year Award, a Historical Novel Society’s Editor’s Choice selection, and a four-time finalist for the Colorado Book Awards.

She is an adjunct instructor for the Drexel University MFA in Creative Writing program and endeavors to be active in the literary community in Colorado and beyond. She lives in the Rocky Mountains with her wonderful husband, two (usually) adorable children, two (always) adorable cats, and a dragon.

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Registration fee: $249 for twelve hours of instruction


April 16, 23, 30. May 7, 14, 21, 2024

8 to 10 PM Eastern (5 to 7 PM Pacific)

Please note: Our classes are designed specifically for live participation, so your attendance is important. If you need to miss a class for any reason, per request you’ll receive a passcode-protected link to watch the recordings after the course is over.

A Peek at Our Past Virtual Classes



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