Exploring the “So What?” and “Why Now?” with Historical Context

Wednesday, October 26th, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm Eastern

Level Fundamentals

An awareness of historical context can help you enrich your narrative and reach a broader and more diverse audience.



Additional Information

You’ve crafted a great story, but when you workshop or pitch it, readers dismiss it as “another terminal illness story” or “another ethnic food story.” You’ve delved into the sensory what and the emotional why of your story. But have you thought about how your story’s historical context makes it unique?

This webinar will explore how writers convey the historical context of their stories, from concrete details to the values and priorities appearing within the narrative fabric. We will also learn how, through common historical trends, a given story can relate to other stories whose connections might not be obvious.

At the end of the program, you will receive a series of writing prompts to help you practice widening your historical frame to reveal underlying historical currents and ancillary stories that might not have appeared before. These prompts will also help you consider the historical frame in which you are writing now as a way to answer the “so what?” question for agents, editors, and other readers.

In this webinar, you will:

  • LEARN how historical context can provide your story with a broader answer to “so what?” and “why now?” Through examples, see how historical perspectives create different textures for stories with similar topics.
  • REFLECT on how stories can intersect with broader historical trends such as industrialization and decolonization, and how these trends relate to the time depicted in the story, as well as the time in which you’re writing.
  • GAIN TOOLS for understanding how your story may connect to other stories. At the end of the program, you will receive writing prompts that have you stretch both back and laterally to touch people and places you might not have considered before.

This webinar is ideal for early career memoir writers and other creative nonfiction writers who are interested in placing their stories in dialogue with other global stories to reach a broader and more diverse audience. It may also interest writers who are curious about historical research beyond genealogy.

All registrants receive a recording.

Closed captioning will be available.

Course Presenter

Course Registration


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Please Note

It is not uncommon for classes to fill up before the end of early registration, particularly in the last few days before the deadline. If you know for certain that you wish to take a particular class, we recommend registering early. If you'd like to be added to a waitlist for a sold-out class, please email our director of education, Sharla Yates, at [email protected].

Hear from our Students

Creative Nonfiction’s online writing classes have helped more than 3,000 writers tell their stories better.

Read Success Stories


I enjoyed reading other peoples work and getting feedback about my own work– the handouts/video links and class lessons were also very informative and relevantly paced to the give structural guidelines.

Catherine O’Neill