Theme in Historical Fiction by Lucille Turner

I know some of the Gettysburg Writers Brigade members write historical fiction. Here are one writer’s view on theme that should give us food for thought.

A Writer of History

Lucille Turner has been on the blog before talking about Mona Lisa – 500 Years of Mystery, The Fall of Constantinople, and most recently offering insights on Research in Historical Fiction. Today she talks about theme in historical fiction. Welcome back, Lucille.

Theme in Historical Fiction by Lucille Turner

Writing is a very subjective activity. A writer becomes immersed in the fictional world he or she creates for the time it takes to finish the book, be it a few months or a few years. But however dedicated a writer you are, one of the greatest challenges you face is how to communicate the core of what your book is really about to the reader, because not every reader emerges from the same book with the same understanding of it. This can be frustrating; it can mean negative reviews, or even no reviews at all. Sometimes…

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The obscure word of the week is flagitious

Here is your word for the day. See if you can use it at tonight’s meeting of the Gettysburg Writers Brigade.

Matthew Wright

look_it_up_T httpwww.clipartpal.comclipart_pdeducationdictionary_10586.htmlThere are over a million individual words in English. Most of them are quite obscure and deserve better attention than they get. This week’s is flagitious.

It means criminally evil, a word deriving from Middle English and thence Latin, ‘flagitium (‘a shameful crime’).

Your challenge? Write a sentence (or two) in the comments using this word.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2017

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Top Tips for Marketing Your Book

Here’s a video of a presentation Book Expo Indie Author Fringe, an online author conference that showcases the best self-publishing advice and education for authors. Even if you aren’t an independent author, you still need to know how to market your book. More and more, traditional publishers are placing the marketing burden for their books on the authors. Marketing is something you need to learn or at the very least, understand if you want your book to succeed in today’s crowded market. 

Click on the photo for the link to YouTube or follow this link.


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Why become a better self editor?

It never fails. No matter how many people see your book before it is published, once it is released, you’ll get comments from people saying that it needed to be better edited.

If the people making the comments can list specific issues, take a look at them and make changes if necessary. I usually don’t worry unless multiple people talk about a book’s editing.

I also do read-throughs of my books every four or five years just in the process of updating things such as a new cover, updating the ebook, or something else that has brought the book back to my attention.

As an independent author, you need to learn to be a better self-editor. I say better because it is something that you never stop learning to do. You can always be better.

I know I’m always looking at how to better edit myself. I’m reading Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. It’s not revealing any surprises to me, but it is reinforcing things that I know. My hope is that the more I reinforce how to self-edit and do it, the more it will become part of writing habits.

Just because I self-edit doesn’t mean that I won’t have other readers and editors review the manuscript, it just means that (hopefully) I will be sending them a cleaner, more polished book.

To get you started on your self-editing journey, here’s a link to an article that will give you some tips.


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Hone your skills at the York Writers Conference

Here’s a chance to hone either your writing or marketing skills in an intensive one-day workshop. The York Book Expo is holding a workshop on Saturday, October 28. It will be at the Hampton Inn at 1550 Mt. Zion Road in York.

The early bird discount (through July 28) is only $75 for X session and snacks running 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Writing track includes sessions on: Character Development, Creating “Premise”, Anchor the Setting, Dialogue that Sizzles, From 1st to 2nd Draft, and Traditional or Indie Publilshing. You’ll get help from seasoned authors Demi Stevens, Michelle Mioff-Haring, Harvey Freedenburg, and Heather Heyford.

The Marketing track includes sessions on: Building Your Tribe, Automate Your Social Media, Author Marketing Platform, Facebook & Amazon Ads, Approaching Book Stores, and Book Reviews. You’ll get help from seasoned authors Demi Stevens, Don Helin, Catherine Jordan, Kim Briggs, Lori Myers, and Ann Stewart.

If you have any questions, e-mail or call at 717-781-4972.

I’m planning on taking the marketing track to pick up some tips to keep my marketing efforts moving in the right direction. See you there!

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10 of the Best Children’s Novels Everyone Should Read

Great choices, and sad to say, I haven’t read them all … yet.

Interesting Literature

The best children’s books

What are the top ten greatest children’s novels ever written? This is going to prove a contentious list, but below we’ve compiled what we think are ten of the best works of children’s fiction in all of English literature. We’ve had to make some (regrettable) omissions, but we think these are all classic books which children of around the ages of 5-11 would especially enjoy (though, being classics, they’re for ‘children of all ages’). They span from the 1860s until the 1990s. We’ll offer some interesting background trivia about each book as we go.

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Along with Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll was the master of Victorian nonsense literature, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is his best-known book. First published in 1865, the story originated in a boat trip that took place in Oxford on 4 July 1862, on which…

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Forget about becoming a great writer

notes-514998_640In his book, On Writing, Stephen King talks about four different types of writers: Great, Good, Competent, and Bad. He also makes the argument that a Bad writer can’t move up to competent, and a Good writer can’t become great. His term is fuhgeddiboudit. Great writers, such as Shakespeare and Faulkner, seem to be born with the divine gift of creating magic from words.

That seems discouraging. Writers should aspire for greatness. If you don’t want to be at the top of your game, why write?

King does feel that Competent writers can with diligence and effort become Good writers. That was his silver lining.

I see an even larger silver lining. If we accept his premise that Good writers can’t be Great writers because Great writers are born that way, there’s still a lot that can be done.

First, how will you discover the greatness within you unless you write? Even Shakespeare had to learn to spell, Faulkner had to practice grammar. So don’t use the excuse that you will never be a Great writer as a reason not to write. Exercise the belief that you will be a great writer, and it just may come true.

Next, even if it doesn’t happen, working at the craft of writing to make it so will definitely improve your writing. King believes that Competent writers can become Good writers. More than that, there just isn’t one type of Good writer. There are lots of different levels within that broad category. Think of it as military rank. There are officers and enlisted men, but within each of those categories, there are varying ranks.

You can move from a Competent writer to a Good writer as King says, but you can also move from a barely Good writer to a very Good writer. You may never reach the level of Great writer, but continually working to develop and hone your skills will allow you to nestle just beneath the level of Great writer.

We should all seek to be the Avis of writers. We’re no. 2, but we try harder.





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