Once Upon a Time… Our Historical Fiction Summer Camps

“Once upon a time, it was now…” 

Thus begins the preface of a book I’ve had in my possession for many years. I met its author at a holiday author fair at the Indiana Historical Society the same year I published my very first book, a historical fiction novel entitled Going over Home. James Alexander Thom, a renowned historical fiction author also from my home state of Indiana, graciously listened while I told him how his works had inspired my own writing. He even accepted a copy of Going over Home, to my delight read it, and then ever so kindly sent me a signed copy of his book, The Art of Craft of Writing Historical Fiction. Inside he wrote, “to Katie, a fellow Time Traveler, with best wishes, from J. Thom.

I have treasured this book so much that its covers and pages are now a bit frayed. But this book has guided my own writing, and now it will guide the new class I am offering this summer, my four sections of Historical Fiction Summer Camps. I am excited to pass on Mr. Thom’s sage advice to young people who are aspiring authors as I once was. 

In addition to using this book as a guide for these camps, I am also basing much of them on what I learned from a course through Coursera and the University of Virginia: Plagues, Witches, and War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction, which covers the history, breadth, and depth of this incredible genre and some of its best writers. 

What Will We Learn in the Summer Camps?

These online camps, which begin in mid-June, one section for younger students and one for and older, will serve as an introduction to what historical fiction is, and how we can learn to become writers of it. In our six weeks together, we will cover what constitutes historical fiction, however wide, yet narrow, its definition is, and we will learn the skills of how to begin writing in the genre ourselves. Students will not come out of these camps with an entire story written, however, they will emerge from our time together with a tool belt full that will equip them to start writing their very own historical fiction stories. 

We will learn how to find and use good sources – we gotta know history to write good historical fiction! – and we will have plenty of opportunities throughout the camps to put our newly learned skills into practice. Based on the J. Thom’s book and the University of Virginia course, as well as my years of experience writing and reading historical fiction, together we will explore how we might create and develop characters and stories creatively within a solid historical perspective. 

Each week students will be given writing prompts and exercises to practice throughout the week, as well as excerpts of historical fiction to read and analyze to help them learn and experience good quality historical fiction. Students will also be given opportunities to share their writing with each other, both in class and within a shared and monitored Google classroom. They will emerge from our time together ready to put all that they’ve learned to good use! 

Once Upon a Time… 

…it was now. 

Are you ready to join us?? 

Our Historical Fiction Summer Camps are now enrolling! Repeat students and additional siblings both receive discounts, so be sure to contact me (Katie) for those coupon codes before enrolling if you fall into either one of these categories. 

Have more questions? I am always open to them… contact me here

If you are all set and ready to enroll, please head on over to our Class Listings page and find the right section for you. Once you’re in, you’ll receive a confirmation e-mail, and then you are good to go! Access to the classes, which are held in a password-protected Zoom room, will be sent to you just prior to the day of our first meeting. You will also soon receive a welcome packet download introducing you more to the Write Back When community and its founder and teacher, Katie Andrews Potter, as well as some fun writing prompts to prepare your student for camp!  

Published Authors!

And what’s next? This is the super exciting part. Any student who goes through our camps will then be able to join our 3-week intensive BONUS camp in August, where we put our newly-learned skills to use and write a complete historical fiction short story. Every single student will then be able to become published authors by contributing their story to a published anthology! Yes, Write Back When young writers will become published authors. 

Okay, so let’s pop on over to enroll!! I’m so looking forward to seeing everyone in our camps, and can’t wait to write back when together! 


2 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time… Our Historical Fiction Summer Camps

  1. Katie,

    While I don’t qualify to take your class, I’d love to be the fly on the wall to learn how to improve my own writings. Do you have a price for someone to not participate in the class but to watch your videos later? If so, I’d be interested.

    Joann Wasson

    1. Joann, thank you so much for your interest! While I wouldn’t be able to share videos of actual classes due to student privacy, I would be more than happy to start work on a self-paced course of the same subject matter, which would include video instruction… and possibly live training for adults. Could you share a little more about what you are interested in learning? I’ve been considering creating such a course already, so your feedback would help in its development. Please feel free to email me as well. The best email to use is katie@writebackwhen.com. Thanks! 🙂


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