Sunday, April 17, 2016

Researching and Writing Historical Fiction – Opening Doors to the Past with Cindy Vallar




Researching and Writing Historical Fiction – Opening Doors to the Past with Cindy Vallar

  • This 4-week online course begins May 16, 2016 and uses email and Yahoo Groups. 
  • The class is open to anyone wishing to participate. 
  •  The cost is $30.00 per person or, if you are a member of OCCRWA, $20.00 per person 
For more information and to register go to http://occrwa.org/classes/may-online-class/
About the Class:

One of the first books I remember reading was Marie McSwigan’s Snow Treasure, the story of how Norwegian children ferried gold bars on their sleds under the noses of the Nazis to a ship waiting to take the gold to America for safekeeping. That book was a childhood favorite, and from then on, I loved reading books set in times past. When I first decided to write a story, it had to be a historical novel. Back then I had no idea what that entailed, but luckily I became a librarian and acquired the skills I needed to research the stories I now write.

The purpose of this workshop is to share some tricks librarians know and a variety of resources writers of historical fiction need to craft stories that transport readers back in time. We will:

  • examine what historical fiction is and why research is important
  • explore fact versus fiction and incorporating real life into a fictional tale
  • discuss different kinds of resources and what types of information a historical novelist needs to write a convincing snapshot of the past
  • create the time and place so the reader finds herself/himself somewhere in the past, rather than the present
  • learn what can destroy that sense of time and place.
Workshop participants will examine the pros and cons of various issues related to the writing of historical fiction and its subgenres; knowing whether there’s too much or not enough historical detail in the story; and how to evaluate whether a resource contains quality information or just a lot of quantity. A variety of activities reinforce what’s covered in the class. At the end of the workshop, I provide a free edit of a chapter from participants’ manuscripts.

About the Instructor:

A retired librarian, Cindy Vallar writes feature articles and book reviews for the Historical Novel Society’s Historical Novels Review. She also pens the biannual “The Red Pencil” column where she profiles authors and compares a selection from their published historical novels with an early draft of those works. She is a freelance editor, the Editor of Pirates and Privateers, and a workshop presenter. She belongs to the Historical Novel Society and served on the Board of Directors for the fifth North American HNS Conference in 2013. She is the author of The Scottish Thistle, her debut historical novel about Scotland’s Rising of 1745, and “Odin’s Stone,” a romantic short story of how the Lord of the Isles settled the medieval feud between the MacKinnons and MacLeans on the Isle of Skye; and “Rumble the Dragon,” a historical fantasy about dragons and Vikings, which appears in the anthology A Tall Ship, a Star, and Plunder. She invites you to visit her award-winning web site, Thistles & Pirates (http://www.cindyvallar.com/), to learn more.


  • This 4-week online course begins May 16, 2016 and uses email and Yahoo Groups. 
  • The class is open to anyone wishing to participate. 
  •  The cost is $30.00 per person or, if you are a member of OCCRWA, $20.00 per person
For more information and to register go to http://occrwa.org/classes/may-online-class/

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