Stuff I’ve Figured Out Along The Way

on April 18, 2018

Every so often I repeat this post–one of my favorite pieces on writerly advice. First posted in April, 2013. This is one of those blog posts that usually gets an appalling title like “Advice to Young Writers”. We’ll call it something more modest—like “Stuff I’ve Figured Out Along the Way”. These are bits and pieces…

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Method and process, part 2

on February 28, 2018

So last week I nattered on about process and today we’re wrapping up. I talked about my giant mind maps for outlining and how I use those maps to explore shadowy areas of the plot that I need to clarify. They are never pretty and there’s no proper organization with certain colors marking out specific…

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Method and process, part 1

on February 22, 2018

Lately I have had several people ask about my outlining process, so I thought I’d jot a quick post about it. First, the caveat: Anything I say about process is what works for me. NEVER assume it will work–or should work–for you. Process is highly idiosyncratic; ask a hundred writers how they write, get a…

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Happy Bastille Day, my dears–and we have a chat!

on July 14, 2016

It’s Bastille Day in the middle of the Tour de France, so time to wave the tricoleur! (And as much as I enjoy my royal ancestors, I had a little shiver of history-lover delight when I saw the birth record for my 5th-great-grandfather who was born in Alsace-Lorraine during the French Revolution to “Citizeness” Meuret…)…

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Wrapping up Twitter questions

on July 7, 2016

Today we’ve got a twofer! I’m answering the last two Twitter questions. First up, Christina had a query about imposter syndrome vs. historical fiction: Do you ever feel like you’ve captured the time period? Capturing the time period is impossible, so I don’t aim to. The difficulty is that, while familiar, the past is a…

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References for Kate

on July 5, 2016

Via Twitter, Kate asked: What are your go-to references for historical accuracy in fashion, politics, social interaction, etc? Most readers and writers are familiar with the obvious sources, so I’m going to list a few that might not immediately come to mind: *Instagram. I’ve only been Instagramming for about a year, but I’ve found a…

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A question about process

on June 30, 2016

Dawn from Twitter asked: Of all your published works, which was the most challenging to write? It’s a strange thing, but every few books I get one that just won’t cooperate. I feel like I’m fighting it from day one. I have to push through and struggle and use every bit of willpower to put…

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Questions? We’ve got ’em!

on June 22, 2016

This week I buckled down to writing Veronica #3 in earnest and have written two chapters in two days. (YAY!) It’s been such a good start that I completely forgot to write a post yesterday. So, belatedly, here you go: Last week I thought I’d ask Twitter if they had questions–just general process type stuff….

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Do you hear what I hear?

on March 4, 2016

I’m frequently asked about process, and one of the questions that crops up most often is whether I listen to music. I know there are writers who don’t–and, stranger still, writers who can go out in public and write with ambient noise swirling around them. I’m the opposite. I need a peaceful atmosphere with the…

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Searching for research

on February 24, 2016

Today I’m doing a request post. Writer pal Alyssa asked the following about my research methods: “Do you read through first, take notes as you go along? Are you looking for specific things before you start (like filling out a questionnaire)? Or is it more like you’re trying to get into a mindset of time…

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