Tag Archives: history

Why we watch the Olympics (Encore)

Some version of the Olympics are staged every two years (unless a pandemic gets in the way). And I use the word “staged” in all its many shades of meaning. Just why do so many of us drop everything and … Continue reading

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The Curse of Backstory (Encore)

Of all the story-writing sins committed by beginning writers, by far the worst consists of dumping a trailer-load of backstory on the unsuspecting reader. Fortunately, this error becomes clear almost immediately, at least to the reader. As an editor, this practice … Continue reading

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Historical tidbits revisited (Encore)

Q: What, exactly, is a historical tidbit, and if not used as a plot point, what good is it? A: It’s merely a history writer’s gold. If you click on the illustration above, you’ll see a larger version. Wikipedia says … Continue reading

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Okay, so where does this fit in? (Encore)

Imagine you’re going to write some historical fiction. It could be a short story; it could be a novel, or it could be something in between. You’ve got a great idea: wrap the story around a compelling but little-known smidgen of … Continue reading

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I’ll have a “MAC memoir” (Encore)

Okay, it’s not what you’re thinking. I’m not talking about a manuscript and some rabbit food on a sesame seed bun. What I’m referring to are the basic building blocks of any good story, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. The acronym for this magic formula … Continue reading

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Highs and lows (Encore)

Slow and steady may win some contests, but if that’s how your story moves along, you might as well take up something else, like gastropod racing. If, on the other hand, you’d like to write stuff that folks might actually want … Continue reading

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My memoir–my memories (Encore)

Two eye-witnesses, two conflicting stories. Happens all the time. Right? Having watched endless courtroom dramas, either live or via Hollywood, we’ve all heard that witnesses often interpret what they’ve seen in different ways. Defense attorneys love it when witnesses can’t … Continue reading

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Williamsburg woes, part deux…. (Encore)

It turns out I’m not done with the whole Colonial Williamsburg thing. In fact, I recall staying awake nights fretting about newly discovered details (new for me, anyway) concerning life in the 18th century as I worked on my Revolutionary … Continue reading

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How much is enough? (Encore)

I’m reminded of those uber-annoying commercials featuring lip-twisting matrons agonizing over the proper number of prunes needed to ensure regularity. Bleah! What caused me to dredge up such a memory? A trip to Colonial Williamsburg, of all places. With my … Continue reading

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Progress? (Encore)

I’m having trouble writing an exercise for one of my classes. The students need an example of really dreadful writing. It needs to be so bad that it borders on the horrific. We’re not talking scary here; we’re talking poorly … Continue reading

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