A Village

Originally posted on Sharon Overend:
Every once in awhile, I think I should, must, no other option available, quit writing. It isn’t that I don’t want to write, it’s that I think I can’t write well enough, basically that I suck. On my really dark days, I worry I’m like one of those contestants on a reality talent show who thinks they’re the next Adele only to be told they’re delusional and shouldn’t leave their day job Recently, I had one of those days after having submitted my latest work-in-progress to my critique group. When word came down—go back, it’s…

The benefits of a critique group

Recently, friend and fellow author, Sharon Overend, was invited on CBC Radio One to talk about the CBC’s short story contest and her current writing group. Sharon is one of the best short story writers I know. Her stories grab you at the opening and will not let go until the very end. Her short fiction has won awards, made it into literary journals and has even been nominated for the prestigious Journey Prize. But instead of focusing on the CBC annual contest, their conversation turned to the value of a writing group. Writing groups can take different forms. They…

An Ode to Mary Stewart

On my 16th birthday, my best friends pooled their funds and gave me a couple of books, one being Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave. This book was my first introduction to Mary Stewart, and it sparked a lifelong admiration for her work. If I had to pick one author who inspired me the most as a writer, without hesitation it would be Mary Stewart. Over the years, I collected the rest of her stories, including the remaining books of her Merlin/Arthurian series, by haunting second hand book stores and combing through yard sale bins. I have them all, including a rare…

Historical Perspective and the Modern Audience

Writing historical fiction requires balancing the historical sensibilities (speech, culture, customs) for the modern reader. Today, I’m a guest on Mary Tod’s award winning blog, A Writer of History, where I discuss how to do it and why it’s important. Click here for the article. If you’re interested in getting an insight into all aspects of historical fiction, I highly recommend Mary’s blog. There are many fascinating articles.

Because it happened: How not to write historical fiction

When I started writing the first dirty draft of Traitor’s Knot, I was so focused on the details of the events, that I often neglected the human reaction to the drama. It’s understandable given that there is so much pressure to get the historical facts nailed. Historical fiction writers have the advantage of knowing what happened to their subjects, but sometimes that knowledge blunts the suspense. This doesn’t seem to be a problem for other genres, with perhaps the exception of memoire. Science fiction and fantasy–your imagination defines what or what doesn’t happen. Contemporary or romance, ditto. Thrillers? You guys are…