I have just signed up for a one-day session in London that I discovered in the Events section of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook website: How to Write Historical Fiction & Get Published.
Workshops will be led by three successful writers of historical fiction: Anthony Riches, who writes about the Romans; S D Sykes, who writes murder mystery novels set in 14th century plague-ravaged England; and Louisa Young, who wrote the emotive My Dear I Wanted to Tell You, about WWI soldiers with life-changing facial injuries.
Although there is no focus on my current interest (the eighteenth century) there should be much to learn from a two-hour writing workshop with the author of my choice about the specific challenges of writing about the past. There will also be interactive panel discussions with commissioning editors and literary agents who are (allegedly!) currently seeking debut authors, plus a networking drinks reception. There will also be a keynote speech by Suzannah Dunn, who has sold a quarter of a million historical novels in the UK alone and has a great website (susannahdunn.net/news/) on which she talks (along with much else, all fascinating) about how the expression ‘short shrift’ probably came from ‘shriven’.
Everybody seems to be offering writing courses and workshops these days. Do they help? Not always easy to know, but I am attracted to the timing of this one (early July) which should coincide with the completion of my current novel and provide an incentive to meet my self-imposed deadline. It will also introduce me to other writers (always a bonus) and even (deep breaths) to an agent or two.
I never planned to be a historical novelist and am bemused at finding myself writing about the past. Maybe this day in London will light a lamp in my darkness.