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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)

Voice and Dialogue in Historical Fiction

No Longer Enrolling

  • $130.00 Non-Member
  • $110.00 Member

Class Description

Any writer of historical fiction faces a conundrum. Trying to reproduce the way people actually spoke in a given historical period is not only inadvisable, it’s impossible. On the other hand, putting modern diction into the mouths of ostensibly historical characters is a sure way to lose your readers from the start. So what’s the answer? To create your own version of historical dialogue, one that is as true as possible to the period without sacrificing believability or the unique capacity of dialogue to portray character and move a story forward. But how does one go about doing that? This hands-on, craft-based workshop will feature instructive passages from some of the best contemporary historical novels to derive answers to that question, and it will allow aspiring and experienced historical fiction writers to hone one of the trickiest and most important weapons in their storytelling arsenal. We’ll focus not only on dialogue but on the narrative voice in general as we discover how to capture the language of a period without falling prey to absurdity or stiltedness.

Part of GrubStreet's Elements of Craft series, dedicated to exploring craft issues on a deeper level. For more on this series' offerings, click here.

Scholarships Format/Location

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting!

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!