1 Sunday, July 17, 10am-4pm  Berkeley
$95 members/$110 others  


Historical fiction can transport you into worlds that are incredibly fun to write. Do you want to reintroduce a little-known hero/​heroine into popular culture? Would you like to tell the sweeping saga of your own family’s struggle in America? Is there an event from long ago that seems hauntingly relevant today? Any story that is more than 50 years in the past is considered historical fiction, so sometimes one’s own childhood tale can be the source of inspiration.

“Historical fiction has its own unique demands, though,” says instructor Jess Wells. “You can’t just throw a tapestry over the flat screen TV in your scene and call it historical. There are real differences between modern life and life in the past, which require real differences in your writing. And that, to me, is the greatest thing about it.”
In this lively, one-day workshop, we will:

  • Identify where each of you is in the process of your project, whether you’re just starting off or have already developed your plot
  • Discuss how to research and when to stop researching
  • Discuss how settings can help your plot
  • Consider how to tell the story of famous people from a fresh angle
  • Identify ways in which historical stories illuminate modern truths

Jess Wells is the author of thirteen volumes of work, including the novel A Slender Tether on the early years of Christine de Pizan, a pioneering thinker of the 14th century French court; and the novel The Mandrake Broom, dramatizing the fight to save medical knowledge during the witch-burning times in Europe (1465-1540). Wells is the winner of a San Francisco Art Commission Grant for Literature and a four-time finalist for the national Lambda Literary Award. Her work is included in dozens of anthologies and literary journals.

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