Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: The Long Road Home

Hello, blogsphere! It's been a long time, hasn't it, especially since the last Teaser Tuesday? This semester (and my 18 credits of DOOM) has really been kicking my butt - I've not been writing much, I haven't been blogging (obviously), I haven't been reading other people's blogs (my apologies), et cetera, et cetera. I'm home on Thanksgiving Break, though, so I get a little bit of a reprieve - and you get a teaser! - before I head back into the madness that is college.

This is the opening of my new project, which I am currently working on for my historical fiction class. I'm going to continue with it after this semester is over, though. When I finally forced myself to start writing this, words just started flying from my fingertips, and I was reminded that I do really like writing after all. It was a great feeling.

The story is set in rural Ireland, the spring after the worst winter of the Great Famine. Because I like being cruel to my characters. Also, Maire is pronounced like MY-rah. Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How to Write Historical Fiction - Tips from Anna Solomon

On Thursday, Anna Solomon, author of THE LITTLE BRIDE, came to my historical fiction class. It was a really fun experience, as it isn't all that often (if ever) that you read a book in class and then get to ask the author questions about it. She had a lot of helpful things to say on the topic of writing historical fiction, so I thought I would share some of her tips with you in case you guys ever want to delve into the world of historical fiction - or are there now!

1. Just because something is set in the past doesn't mean that the tone has to be super-formal. I thought this was a really good point to make, as a lot of people do often see history as a little bit stuffy, but in reality, even though etiquette rules were different, people were still people - not everyone is always formal all the time. Your writing will be much more enjoyable for the reader - and much more fun for you too! - if you let yourself loosen up about it a little.

2. Fiction written during the time period can be really helpful. Obviously, this is easier for some time periods than others, but it is a good way to put yourself in the mindset of people who really lived during the time period you've chosen to work with.

3. In terms of detail, consider how you might say the same thing in a modern setting and how much detail you'd need to get your point across, and use the same amount of detail for your historical work. For instance, if you're saying "he walked down the street," do you really need to tell us about every cobblestone or gaslamp? Unless your character trips over the cobblestones, probably not.

4. Social histories, contemporary newspapers, and contemporary journals are excellent ways to learn more about everyday life in your time period. Again, this is easier to find for some places and times than others, but it's still a good thing to be looking for.

Anna Solomon's visit was really exciting, and she had a lot of informative and helpful things to say. It was great meeting her, and I can't wait to apply some of her research techniques to my next project.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

In Which a Rambling Apology is Issued*

I'm sorry, blog! I've been neglecting you terribly, haven't I? Things have just been so crazy here... yes, I know that's hardly any excuse. I'm aware that it makes me a terrible person to be neglecting my blog, my readers, and my own writing all at once, there's no need to shout about it. Look, could you see things from my perspective for a second? You know that old joke about college, the one that goes "good grades, sleep, a social life: pick two." Well, for me, it's more like "good grades, sleep, a social life, writing: you still only get to pick two."

Yeah, I know we do movie nights most weekends. It requires a lot more cerebral energy to write something than it does to watch a movie. Especially the ridiculous movies we tend to watch. I mean, the Avalon High adaptation? That requires no thought whatever to watch.** I'm working on it, okay? I'm using my historical fiction final project as an excuse to work on my own writing. It'll turn out all right in the end, you'll see.

... yes, I know I'm not Mrs. Potts. Quiet you.

I'm trying, okay? Hopefully things will be a little bit calmer for a while and I can pay more attention to you. I'm sorry. Blame the homework. Hopefully my lovely readers will have some suggestions for topics they'd like me to talk about and would find helpful***, as my brain is so fried I can't come up with anything beyond ludicrous made-up dialogues between me and my blog.

No, I'm not insulting you. Sorry, blog. I'll be quiet now. And maybe take a nap?

* This blog post brought to you by sleep deprivation and a heavy dose of Bad Blogger's Guilt.
**Other than the thought that goes "this is NOT like the book!!!"
*** I'm serious about this. What things would be helpful to you? I wish to be helpful! Tell me how!