Showing posts from May, 2016

Family Trees, Random Old Timey Records, and Historical Fiction

Last week, I came across a post on another blog, The Second Sentence, about how genealogy can help a historical fiction writer. I haven't been particularly inspired to write anything based on my own genealogy, but I know people who have.

In reading ship manifests and censuses over the years, I've come across interesting things in the course of searching for various cousins and ancestors. For example, this weekend, I went back to the Talbot branch of my family to look at something. The Talbots are my grandmother's mother's family. They interest me because the Talbots were, as far as I know, the first of my Irish ancestors to set foot on American soil.

I found a Patrick Talbot born in Ireland in 1855 living on Staten Island in 1915. Hmm, I wondered. Could this be the same Patrick Talbot who is my 3rd great-uncle?

I noticed on a New York State Census of 1915 that there was a notation in the last column, something about 1914. Then I noticed that it said that Inmates in an I…

A Little Writing Help?

Do you ever hit one of those moments while writing and think, "Okay. I know where I'm going. But what's the next step to getting there?"

I have three POVs in my current WIP--Victoria is kind of the main one, but Ursula also gets herself in there and so does Beatrice, Victoria's younger cousin.

I  finished Chapter Nine like this (excerpt below the cut):

It's got a lot of tension--a lot of feels. So then where do I go with Chapter Ten? I began writing a Beatrice scene. Beatrice is 14, so she's at that age where she knows things but doesn't really know things, y'know?

So I'm like, does it give us a break from the high drama of Victoria's parts? Or does it just make the tension in the previous chapter fall flat? Is a tone shift too jarring?

 For some reason, I'm especially neurotic about the basic story structure with this story, so yeah, I'm writing chapter ten the way I started it, but something's nagging me about it.

Yes, I know…

The Koh-i-Noor Diamond: Britain in the Victorian Age

There I was, clicking away at chapter nine, when I came to a scene where Victoria learns that her cousin/ex-fiance Conrad is going to auction off some pieces of art and jewelry. The proceeds are going to be used to renovate a derelict part of their old England manor, all so Conrad's bride-to-be, the American heiress Ursula, will feel more at home.

It would be a sweet gesture (you won't catch me describing Conrad as "sweet" very often), if the jewelry didn't actually belong to Victoria's mother.

(This is what I was torturing Victoria with yesterday)

Victoria's Father had several magnificent items made for Mother in India. They weren't the Koh-i-Noor Diamond, but they were glittery and colorful, if her distant memory recalled correctly. Valuable, too. Mother had sent them with her to England for safekeeping. They'd been in the vault here for all that time.
If they were Mother's, then weren't those jewels really hers?

As we all learned in school…


This post is for IWSG's May posting. The Insecure Writer's Support Group was founded by ninja Alex J. Cavanagh and posts their writerly insecurities out into the world every first Wednesday of the month.

The climax. The turning point. The hinge. The whole point of the story.

For the longest time, I couldn't seem to make my stories get to a satisfying point. I could identify it in other stories, but in mine, they fell flat. Maybe it was because I'm not much of a plotter?

Nope. It's because I wasn't thinking of my stories in terms of conflict. I was just sort of writing, going "la-di-da, this is conflict." It wasn't, obviously, or else the dang story would've actually turned or hinged or whatever you want to call it.

Sometimes I still worry about my plotting abilities. Is the story actually building towards something? Will the pay-off be worth it?