Tolstoy: How history differs, for historians and for artists

From “A Few Words Apropos of the Book War and Peace” (1868) (5) The divergence between my description of historical events and the accounts of historians. It is not accidental, Continue ReadingTolstoy: How history differs, for historians and for artists

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Getting the details right: Peterloo

One of the reasons I chose to write about the Manchester protest later called Peterloo in An Untitled Lady was that there were quite a few good sources on the Continue ReadingGetting the details right: Peterloo

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Winning

To distract myself while my Big Historical is out being reamed at the developmental editor’s shop, I took on a Camp NaNoWriMo challenge in July: 50,000 new words in one month. And won! This word Continue ReadingWinning

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On Writing: Killing the Biggest Darling

“Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it – whole-heartedly – and delete it before sending your manuscripts to press. Murder your darlings”— Sir Continue ReadingOn Writing: Killing the Biggest Darling

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Why I Put a Melee in a Romantic Novel

Why would a romance-loving writer like me set a story in the middle of a melee? My latest novel, An Untitled Lady, includes events around 16 August 1819 in Manchester, Continue ReadingWhy I Put a Melee in a Romantic Novel

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New plan in motion

So, I spent the long holiday weekend in the editing cave — 34 hours of butt-in-the-chair since Friday evening. And now I have sharper story, characters, conflicts, and a timeline Continue ReadingNew plan in motion

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Back to the Behemoth

An Untitled Lady, 3.0. This version is 575 printed pages; around 120,000 words. Let the editing begin!

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Casting Characters

One of the characters in my novel A NOTE OF SCANDAL is a dwarf. You might be forgiven for thinking I was inspired by Tyrion Lannister in George RR Martin’s Continue ReadingCasting Characters

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How I wrote the story

OK, so my very scientific method of writing is to gather lots of unrelated material and tumble it about in my head for years or decades. Eventually, a semi-coherent storyline Continue ReadingHow I wrote the story

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Thanks, Jean Craighead George

I discovered yesterday that the author of one of my favorite books in childhood had been a reporter for the very paper I read every day, The Washington Post. Sadly, Continue ReadingThanks, Jean Craighead George

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