Tag Archives: history

Details can make or break a story

Have you ever watched a movie where someone missed an obvious mistake? Maybe you saw a Roman soldier wearing a wristwatch in some sand and sandal epic, or there were high tension power lines on the horizon of a Civil … Continue reading

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Historical tidbits revisited

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 to the left, you’ll see a larger version. … Continue reading

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Okay, so where does this fit in?

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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Historical fiction, or hysterical?

I’ve been approached to teach a new class: How To Write Historical Fiction. Flattered at first, and confident about teaching in general, I agreed to give the idea serious thought. How hard could it be? After all, I co-wrote a … Continue reading

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The Curse of Backstory

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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Saving your family’s words of wisdom

I touched on this topic a couple years back, but it bears repeating, especially for those working on a memoir. For many of us, there are precious words of wisdom tucked away in our memories. Odd and typically quirky, these folksy … Continue reading

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Damn the skeletons! Open the closet.

One might be tempted to think that only readers find surprises in a memoir. But if the writer incorporates some genealogical research, he or she is just as likely to stumble onto little-known, if not completely forgotten, family lore. I’d be … Continue reading

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