Make history happen
There’s nothing quite like historical settings to capture the imagination of readers. Australians are obsessed with history – and it seems like we can’t get enough of it. Whether you’re swinging in Sydney in the ’60s, cranking the backyard Hills Hoist in the post-war boom or describing the iconic period of the ANZACs, it’s vital that your story is authentic and accurate.
The internet is a great place for viewing your friends’ restaurant snaps or to find the cheapest hotel room. But for historical facts, it can’t tell you everything. So where can you go to ensure your story is a faithful depiction of the era in which it’s set? What venues were the places to be seen in 1968? How much did a tin of Taubmans cost in 1953? What did the uniforms look like in 1915?
Remember, it’s the details that will bring your story to life. And it’s the facts that will give your story credibility. Relying on Wikipedia (which wasn’t around in 1998, let alone 1788) simply isn’t going to cut it. In this course, you’ll discover what sources you need, where to go to research, and how to access government sources.
In this course, you'll learn how to:
- create vivid, believable worlds for your readers
- identify what you need to know and define your research objectives
- use research to enrich a story instead of letting the research control the story
- find the right sources of information and data for your story
- connect with other people interested in writing about history or historical fiction
- confirm whether a thunderstorm struck Sydney at 3pm on New Year’s Day 1901
- and MUCH more.
Writing Australian History will help you distinguish the grains of truth from the grains of salt in bringing tales from Australia’s past to life. And it will give you advice from one of Australia’s best historical novelists, Pamela Freeman. It’s not about knowing everything – it’s about knowing where to look.
Although the focus will be on Australian history, no country evolves in a vacuum, and you may need to explore elements from other countries (such as migration). Here, Pamela will cover some of the most useful sources and resources available to you in this area.
About your presenter
Writing Australian History is taught by Pamela Freeman, whose novel about Mary MacKillop, The Black Dress, won the NSW Premier’s History Prize, and whose new novel set in World War I, The Soldier’s Wife, will be published by Hachette Australia in May 2015 (her 30th book!). Her most recent non-fiction for children is Mary’s Australia, which looks at how Australia changed between 1842 and 1909.
Pamela’s background as a researcher (for ABC TV, among others) and her award-winning work as a fantasy novelist both contribute to her ability to write enthralling, successful historical fiction. Her publisher also uses her as an early reader of historical novels, because her general knowledge about all historical periods is impressive. She’s a guru.