60-Minute Masterclasses are expert ebooks giving you snappy, practical advice on creative writing, journalism and entrepreneurship.

Critical Writing

Writing Historical Fiction:
A 60-Minute Masterclass

Katharine McMahon


Well-researched fact is the heart of great historical fiction. Properly used, period detail which will give life to your story, transporting the reader back to a time where your historical characters fill the page.

In this 60-Minute Masterclass, award-winning novelist Katharine McMahon addresses all the pleasures and pitfalls of writing in another era, from how to build plot, character and structure against a historical backdrop, to weaving real events and people into fictional plots. You’ll learn about the importance of authenticity in your prose – and how to transgress it without compromising your writing – and new ways of finding inspiration in real historical materials and artefacts. From mining social niceties for period detail to ensuring your dialogue sounds realistic without distracting your readers, it’s the ultimate way to look forward to the past.

‘Writing Historical Fiction’ covers:

+ Using historical snippets – including diaries, letters and news reports – to find a springboard for fiction
+ Taking liberties with history – decisions about author voice types of historical fiction
+ How to research
+ Creating a character who works within four dimensions
+ Intertwining historical events and people with fictional plotlines and characters
+ Bringing it all together – blending voice, plot, character, setting and historical context

60-Minute Masterclasses are expert ebooks that help you do more with your creative writing, journalism and entrepreneurship. Locking on to the stuff that you actually need to know, each title is a precise, practical pointer on the matters that matter most.


About the Author

Katherine McMahon is the author of eight novels. Her international bestseller, The Rose of Sebastopol, set during the Crimean War, was selected for Richard and Judy’s British Book Awards, and previous novel The Alchemist’s Daughter was a Waterstones Paperback of the Year. Katharine has taught creative writing in universities and for the Arvon Foundations and is a mentor on the Eastern Arts Council Escalator programme. Her latest novel, The Woman in the Picture, is available from the Guardian Bookshop.