History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Fun for Friday: Creative Writing Prompts on Instagram!

Posted By on August 7, 2020

If you’re looking for some very cool creative writing prompts, check out Writing.Prompt.S on Instagram! I’ve spotted some of these prompts on Pinterest as well, and they’re always really intriguing ideas that seem to be right up the alley of a speculative fiction author. Sometimes, they are snippets of dialogue that create all kinds of interesting possibilities, and other times, they are a setup for a story simply in text. Either way, they’re a neat way to get inspiration if nothing is coming to you, or if you just want a good source for a daily prompt!

July 2020 Recap

Posted By on August 6, 2020

How am I supposed to work under these conditions?

By the numbers:
Stories out at the beginning of the month: 102
Acceptances received: 3
Rejections received: 43
Stories withdrawn: 1 (+2)
Resubmissions: 62
New Submissions: 1
Stories out at the end of the month: 114

Some reasonable numbers this month in terms of resubmissions! Also, this month was good for acceptances! I’ve signed the contracts for all of my acceptances, and one has already been published. “Memorandum from the Panel for the Identification of Consequentially Chosen Youth (PICCY)” is in the most recent issue of Page & Spine. I’ve also sold “Little T, Big T” to Hybrid Fiction, and “Nectar Shortage” to From the Farther Trees. I’ll let you know when those are available to read!

In July, I finished revising fae and have started that on the rounds (as my one new story this month), but I haven’t started revising dresses yet. I’ve written most of Marsh 3, but still have a bit to finish up on that (hopefully by the end of this week). I finished my UT2 essays, proofread those, and got them compiled for formatting and turning into an ebook. I’ve also got the cover art done, though I still need to finish the layout. For the July writing challenge, I managed to write 26 poems, and I also wrote a flash piece for an online contest that served double duty as my 27th piece for the July challenge. I wasn’t able to query any more agents for Briar, as the remaining ones on my list remained closed in July. And I’ve nearly completed the revisions to the Lady Huntsman novella.

I’ve also worked up the majority of the art for my children’s book, and I’ve picked up beagle wizard again to work on between month-long challenges.

In August, I need to:

  • Write two more flash pieces for the contest
  • Finish writing Marsh 3
  • Write wolf
  • Revise dresses
  • Revise the first flash piece from the contest
  • Revise some of the poems from the July challenge
  • Proofread the ebook for UT2
  • Finish the art for my children’s book and send that to layout
  • Finish revising Lady Huntsman, send it to layout, then proofread some of that
  • Write 8 chapters in beagle wizard

That’s a LOT. But it’s doable!

Reading, Watching, and Listening To, Early August 2020 Edition

Posted By on August 5, 2020

Clip art of headphones, TV screen, and cat reading a sheet of paperReading: I’ve still got more comics to read, and a small lull in between books I’m scheduled to review, so now I have to decide which series to tackle first, because most of my remaining pile is the sort of series that need to be read all in one go!

Watching: Mostly The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, but also The Umbrella Academy season 2!

Listening To: Not much new on this front. Occasionally Jeremy will load up YouTube through the Roku and stream K-pop that isn’t my usual go-to artists, but I haven’t really glommed on to any new groups through that. Maybe Everglow.

What If I’m a Merfolk? Out Today!

Posted By on August 4, 2020

My first collection comprising mostly poetry is out today! What If I’m a Merfolk? features 23 poems and 3 stories about being a merfolk or becoming a merfolk. The majority of the poems were written during Mermay this year, and I paired those up with a handful of other pieces of merfolk poetry and fiction I’ve written. Two of the stories are reprints, but the third one and all of the poems are new for this collection!

If you enjoy things about merfolk, check out What If I’m a Merfolk? It’s available in ebook only, and is $0.99!


Types of Editing: A Revision

Posted By on August 3, 2020

Red pen and edited manuscriptA while back, I talked about the types of editing as they apply to self-published work, but my post ended up leaving a few of the types of editing out. So I’m back, with another post about the different types of editing!

Acquisitions editing is the process of selecting works for publication. In the novel world, this is what editors at publishing houses do as they read manuscripts they’ve received and decide which ones their publishing house would like to acquire. In the short fiction and poetry world, this is also the task of an editor, who may have assistance to select the pieces that a magazine or anthology or website will publish. In general, this is not something that people can do for themselves, and it’s not something you would want to pay someone to do for you.

Developmental editing is looking at the overall structure, themes, and flow of a piece (novel or shorter) and ensuring that everything fits together nicely. It’s about getting rid of things that aren’t working as hoped, revising things to make them work better in the greater whole, and adding things that are needed to make everything work together. This is a “big picture” kind of editing that looks more at structure than at the “nit-picky” details that come in later stages of editing.

Line editing is about working with a piece at the sentence level to make sure that every sentence (and, in fact, every word) is doing its job well. This is about smoothing out writing at a more fine level of detail than developmental editing would cover, but it’s also looking at themes and flow. It can focus on getting dialogue from the various characters to be distinct and appropriate for each character. It can change up the way sentences flow from one to the next. It’s mostly about language, as distinct from grammar.

Copy editing is looking at the “nit-picky” details of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and consistency. This is what makes sure that your secondary characters don’t have one name at the beginning of a piece and a different name at the end (unless the story is about this name change). This is about making sure you haven’t accidentally used a homonym instead of the correct word, checking that your sentences are grammatically correct, and that all of the words are spelled correctly. This is the meat and potatoes of what I do as an editor in my day job (though I also do line editing and even a tiny bit of what could be called developmental editing for non-fiction).

Finally, proofreading is a lot like copy editing, only it relates to the actual “proof” copies of a (typically) printed work. This is where someone makes sure that all of the previous edits have been maintained throughout, and that nothing has been missed, omitted, or added. And since I know of one book that went to press without its first sentence, and my own original printing of Brass and Glass 2 that added several sections from book 1 to the text, it’s a VERY important step in the editing process.

Another thing that could be included as a form of editing is sensitivity reading, though in general, a sensitivity reader is making broad stroke suggestions with perhaps a few more detailed suggestions about word choices or use. Some sensitivity readers could offer editing suggestions, but for the most part, they may not. However, they provide an extremely valuable service in the publishing world, as they can assist authors present marginalized characters in an accurate and respectful way.

Next week, I’ll talk a bit more about the types of editing from this list that you can do yourself!


Fun for Friday: August 2020 Writing Prompts

Posted By on July 31, 2020

August Macke’s “Promenade” (1913)

Even though time feels somewhat meaningless, with all of the days running into one another, only differentiated by weekends, another month has passed. July is wrapping up today, which means it’s time for the August 2020 prompts!

This month, the words are generally random, with a few seasonal words tossed in for good measure. I’m also including a painting by artist August Macke as an additional or alternative prompt in case you need some additional inspiration for your writing. Whether you’re writing poems, stories, or integrating these words into a novel or other larger project, there will be all sorts of interesting combinations!

Check back on the last Friday of each month (or occasionally the first day of a new month, when that falls on a Friday) for my History That Never Was writing prompts!

Day Word 1 Word 2 Word 3
1 Goal Eight Universe
2 Grateful Mustard Sibling
3 ATM Leader Caterpillar
4 Memory Dragon Sunset
5 Tact Athlete Miss
6 Photo Car Restaurant
7 Lighthouse Tap Shy
8 Enough Excited Animal
9 Chip Negative Town
10 Masterpiece Purple Value
11 Cannibals Path Morals
12 Brat Stop Fifty
13 Loved Buff Stranger
14 Latte Summertime Admire
15 Self-help Forgive Idea
16 Time Both Important
17 Oil Scare Change
18 Apocalypse Charity Elementary
19 Week Kind Family
20 Date Visit Confident
21 Key Treat Weather
22 Money Community Toward
23 Tab Season Unique
24 Tumbler Peace Work
25 Wooden Cruel Achieve
26 Okay Self Happy
27 Park Best Shoes
28 School Vampires Ruminate
29 Chicken Hope Weakness
30 Bash Personality Act
31 Like Cookie Appearance

Coast to Coast Stars: Comeback Tour

Posted By on July 30, 2020

The first story I wrote for the collection that eventually became Coast to Coast Stars was “Comeback Tour.” This seems like an odd place to start, since the title implies a backstory that I hadn’t written.

And then there were the leggings. The leggings were a thrift store find that made me think of a super hero. When I polled my friends to see if they would work for a cosplay, one of them suggested coming up with an original character and cosplaying her.

Between that and a plan with some of the other Cobalt City writers and I wanting to write Cobalt City stories involving music, Gray Dawn was born. She’d been a pop star in her late teens and early twenties, then went missing for a while, and then came back to her hometown to deal with some unfinished business with her former record label. Amanda Cherry concocted her nemesis and the CEO of said record label, Ruby Killingsworth, and wrote Rites and Desires based on that character.

“Comeback Tour” was the first Gray Dawn story I wrote, even though chronologically, it’s one of the later stories in Coast to Coast Stars. But even though I started with her as a 40-something woman finally becoming a super hero, it helped to inform the unwritten backstory and led to “Happily Never After,” the other Gray Dawn story in this collection!

Review of High Noon on Phobos by Jude K. Justice

Posted By on July 29, 2020

High Noon on Phobos, the debut novella from space western author Jude K. Justice, is a rollicking adventure of twists and turns that will appeal to fans of the western genre and fans of science fiction.

Blaise McGregor (who went by Blaze McGregor as a gunfighter) is a retired gunfighter, waiting for his ship to be repaired. But when a kid shows up in the bar he’s drinking in to hire him for a job, Blaise can hardly say no, especially when he finds out whose kid it is. From there, he’s off to Phobos, a moon with cattle ranchers and their vile counterparts, cattle rustlers. What awaits him there isn’t half as simple as the kid made it out to be.

High Noon on Phobos is a fun read, even when the protagonist is in a heap of trouble (an event that happens quite frequently). If you enjoyed the Firefly series, you’ll find similar humorous dialogue and one problem after another that often plagued the crew of Serenity.

The author provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for review consideration.

Female Protagonists in Volatile Figments

Posted By on July 28, 2020

Cover art for Volatile FigmentsThe six stories in Volatile Figments all have female protagonists, but other than that, they have little in common. There are a couple of high school students, a couple of college students, an ageless child, and an adult.

Some of the women have dealt with the supernatural before, though most of them are encountering it for the first time in these stories. And not all of the stories end well for their protagonist’s first exposure to strange and unusual creatures and events.

If you enjoy short stories with a darker bent, check out Volatile Figments, with six urban fantasy short stories that lean slightly toward the darker side of things without quite reaching horror in most cases. It’s available in ebook only!

Poetry Resources

Posted By on July 27, 2020

When you’re new to the world of poetry, there are a ton of forms of poetry that people talk about, either extolling the virtues of a specific form, or talking about how much they hate another specific form. But even if you’ve read a lot of poetry before you start writing it, a lot of those forms, and the rules behind them, aren’t immediately recognizable.

My go-to source for information on poetry forms is Writer’s Digest’s List of 100 Poetic Forms for poets. There are  forms that aren’t listed here, but it’s a good, broad swath of many forms of poetry, with short summaries of the rules (or lack thereof) and typically an example of that form of poetry (and often additional examples in the comments). I have found one or two forms here that have some unwritten rules that are not included, but in general, if you find a form here and do a little more searching online for that form, you may be able to tease out some of those unwritten rules.