History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Unfixed Timelines: Veli tis Artemidos

Posted By on February 25, 2020

Cover art for Unfixed TimelinesWhen I was choosing stories to include in the first volume of Unfixed Timelines, “Veli tis Artemidos” was at the top of my list. Not only do I love this story, I also love the history behind it, because it’s just so WEIRD! A body so riddled with bullets that the person responsible for the death can’t be identified? Yep, that sounds like the Wild West, alright!

Adding a touch of magic, along with a blessing from Greek gods, somehow makes the actual events of what happened in Beer City seem a little more plausible. And while that sounds outrageous, if you read the details of the actual occurrence, you’ll likely find yourself wondering if my version of the tale does actually hold some water.

You can read “Veli tis Artemidos” and my abbreviated version of the real history in Unfixed Timelines!

My Revision Wall

Posted By on February 24, 2020

I’ve been working through revisions on a novel since the beginning of 2020, and I’m finally reaching the end of those. But I wanted to show off the tool that I’ve been using to help with those revisions–my Revision Wall. Some people use post-it notes to do something similar, but I needed a) more space to write, and b) something that would stick to our textured walls a little better.

My Revision Wall is the corner of our guest room/office, using a weird spot between the door and a weird little hallway nook (outside the guest room) to lay out my entire book, broken down my chapter (each sheet of paper) and scene (each column on the sheet). I had randomly wound up with some blue poster tack, so that was a great way to stick everything up without hurting the wall, and it means I can pull them all down when I’m done to start the next project.

To start my process, I looked at my original outline and compared it to the actual text, summarizing the major points of each scene in a column. As I worked through this, I also identified places where I needed to expand things, places to put in some new subplots, and notes on where various subplots and other things appeared. I color coded some of these (the highlighted bits you can see here and there). I also flagged chapters that were shorter than average, so I could consider adding some of the new subplots there to bulk them up a bit.

Then I could look at everything in a “big picture” sense and scribble notes on each sheet about the revisions I wanted to make. Like when a major character vanishes about 1/3 of the way into the book, or when a plot thread evaporates without being resolved. Both of those could then be scribbled onto the sheets for later chapters so I could keep that character around or wrap up that plot thread.

Then I took a photo of each of these sheets individually to refer to when I’m back at my computer. In that mode, I could see what I’d typed and what I’d handwritten, to give me a blueprint for how to revise the chapters.

The brief scene summaries are also a way to start writing a synopsis of the book, which I’ll talk about more later!

Fun for Friday: What Ifs

Posted By on February 21, 2020

Question marks in different colored bubblesFor this week’s fun, check out this list of “What If” Journal Prompts.

But now, apply them to fiction. More specifically, spin out some ideas of what a character might do if one of these What Ifs happened to them, and build a story from there!


Coming Attractions: Unfixed Timelines 2 and Coast to Coast Stars!

Posted By on February 20, 2020

Cover art for Unfixed TimelinesI’ve got a couple of short story collections that I’m working on to release this year!

The first will be a collection of short stories from Cobalt City and one of its sister cities, Cerulean City, California. The connection started when I established a new hero in Cobalt City, and then had her on a mall tour in Cerulean City. From there, I worked up the details of some of the heroes in Cerulean City and wrote a few stories about them. So this will be a collection of stories about super heroes (and super villains) and pop music. It’s tentatively titled Coast to Coast Stars (unless I come up with a better title).

The second collection will be a sequel to Unfixed Timelines called Unfixed Timelines 2. It will follow the same format as the first book, with essays explaining the real history that’s referenced in my short stories. This collection will also include at least one poem, because yes, I’ve written an alternate history poem!

Right now, Coast to Coast Stars is scheduled for July and Unfixed Timelines 2 is scheduled for September. I’ll talk more about each of them in the coming months!

What I’m Reading, Watching, and Listening To: Late February 2020 Edition

Posted By on February 19, 2020

Clip art of headphones, TV screen, and cat reading a sheet of paperReading: Books to review and a whole lot of flash fiction recently. Plus I’m editing Kensei 3 and then a short story collection!

Watching: Mostly Riverdale. Pretty much only Riverdale and K-pop videos.

Listening To: New albums from Pentagon (The Black Hall), Monsta X (All About Luv), and Moonbyul (of Mamamoo) (Dark Side of the Moon). It’s been a good time for new K-pop albums!

Heroes of Necessity: Army of Me

Posted By on February 18, 2020

Cover art for Heroes of NecessityThe stories in my collection, Heroes of Necessity, all revolve around women with unusual powers who become the heroes their situation requires. In “Army of Me,” an app Molly’s phone requests her assistance to combat a hacker. She’s able to enter the digital realm and manipulate code from within in order to help the app.

The original idea for the story came from an idea of a character who was a literal ghost in the machine, but I tweaked a few things for the story that resulted.

This story originally appeared in Untethered: A Magic iPhone Anthology, and it can also be read at Curious Fictions. Or you can check it out in Heroes of Necessity!

Sentence Structure for Compelling Prose

Posted By on February 17, 2020

Buffalo sentence diagrammedWriters are told to vary their sentence length to make their prose interesting, so that readers don’t fall into a rhythm or pattern with their reading. This article talks about the use of complex sentences to create compelling and emotional prose. There are a number of examples of famous writers who have done this, followed by a list of things to consider when you’re working with complex sentences. It’s a great read!

Fun for Friday: Things and Stuff in Pictures

Posted By on February 14, 2020

This week, it’s another bunch of somewhat random images to inspire your writing. First, we have a car driving through an area with some leafless trees, with high water on either side of a narrow road, and possibly overtaking the road. The second image is three long, narrow spools of thread, in pale green, white, and a darker blue. The final photo is a large number of birdhouses and other handcrafted items in a booth at a market.

Future Stories in the Brass and Glass World?

Posted By on February 13, 2020

I recently received a review on book three of my Brass and Glass trilogy in which the reader was hopeful that I would someday return to this world and write some more. While at the moment, I see Brass and Glass as a completed series, that doesn’t mean I’m against writing shorter fiction set in the same world, maybe including some or all of the same characters.

But I’m always curious to hear what other people would like to see in stories. There are a couple of things that get brought up throughout the series that some have said would make good or fun short stories (a handful of things from Athos and Svetlana’s shared past, in particular, which would be fun, but might not work great as stand-alone stories). Thus far, though, I haven’t come up with any ideas for stories that must be told, that could serve as a great way for new readers to get into the world of Brass and Glass. If you’ve got any thoughts on the subject, please let me know what you think I should write about!

TV Show Recommendation: Riverdale

Posted By on February 12, 2020

We are, as per the usual, way behind on almost every show there is out there. But Jeremy recently watched the first episode of Riverdale and thought I might like it. He was, unsurprisingly, right.

I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t come into comics through the superhero route. My first comics were Archie and Richie Rich. So seeing the characters from the former on the small screen is a real treat for me, especially when there are little things that they’ve worked into the show that are reminiscent of the comics, but modernized. It’s been fantastic thus far, and we’re steadily working through a few episodes whenever we have a few hours to spare!

If you like TV that is smart and funny, that also has a lot of heart, but can sometimes get dark, you will likely also love Riverdale. Jeremy said it’s like a mix of Twin Peaks without David Lynch and Veronica Mars. He’s 100 percent right!