History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Fun for Friday: 365 Writing Prompts!

Posted By on August 3, 2018

A blank pageIt may be past the midpoint of the year, but that’s no reason why you can’t get started on writing every day. This list gives 365 writing prompts, so you could start at the beginning and work your way through, or you could start on the number corresponding to the day of the year (today is the 215th day of the year, according to my handy desk calendar), or you could just randomly generate a number between 1 and 365 to get started!

Not all of the ideas are necessarily related to speculative fiction, so if you’re a spec fic writer like me, you may have to stretch your brain a bit to get the ideas to work for that. But that might also be part of the fun!

Brass and Glass 3 is Drafted!

Posted By on August 2, 2018

My novel tracking paperOn Sunday, I typed THE END as I finished up the first draft of Brass and Glass 3. There’s still a long way for it to go before it’s ready for the world, but I’m excited to have it drafted!

For some fun statistics, the first draft wound up just shy of 50,000 words, which is fairly normal for me–I draft very tightly, and then find places where my thoughts didn’t make it onto the page in the second draft. I started working on this book on April 16, and I finished it on July 29, so roughly 3 1/2 months spent on this draft. I wrote more than half of this book during my lunch breaks, a teensy bit at my mom’s dining room table, and at least a chapter while flying over half of the United States.

The image with this post is my tracking sheet for the novel. Each chapter is broken into three scenes, and I fill in a box as I finish a scene. The ones that are highlighted with yellow are the ones I wrote on my lunch break. That solid-ish block of green near the middle was the end of June into the beginning of July, which means I wrote more than half of the book in one month.

Next up, I’m taking a short break, and then spending about a month and a half on revisions before it goes off to my editors at Razorgirl Press! Then, assuming all goes well, we’ll work through more edits and have it out in the spring of 2019!

If you want to get a head start, you can find book 1 here and book 2 here!

Review of Mirror Bound by Rhiannon Held

Posted By on August 1, 2018

My latest book review is up at Mad Scientist Journal today! If you like urban fantasy, but you’re tired of the usual tropes, check out Rhiannon Held’s Mirror Bound. And you can read my review here!

July 2018 Recap

Posted By on July 31, 2018

Stormageddon got himself INTO the bag, which is sort of the opposite of the cat’s out of the bag.

By the numbers:

Stories out at the beginning of the month: 33
Acceptances received: 0
Rejections received: 22
Stories withdrawn: 1
Resubmissions: 18
New Submissions: 2
Stories out at the end of the month: 31

The numbers for this month aren’t all that different from last month, aside from fewer new stories and acceptances. There were a couple of stories that I pulled out of circulation due to a lack of markets, which lowered the number of stories out at the end of the month. But I have a lot of things in progress!

I’ve been chugging along on Brass and Glass 3 all month (and I finished the first draft on Sunday, which I’ll talk about more later this week). I’ve written three flash fiction stories as part of contests in July. One of them, I’ve cleaned up and started on its rounds. The other two, I’m waiting for more feedback on. I also wrote a fourth flash fiction story (my other new sub for the month) outside of the contests. And I’ve finished the first drafts of two short stories, star and rain. Plus I’ve written a couple of reviews and worked on the Battling in All Her Finery read through. So basically, I finished EVERYTHING on my July to do list! Woo hoo! It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that!

Additionally, I went digging through my old “Pieces” folder, where I throw stories that I’ve backburnered. I found two stories in there that I started about 6 years ago and never finished that were in surprisingly good shape. I’ve long ago lost their outlines (if they ever had them), but I’ve decided where I want to go with them now, and have pulled them back into my to-do pile.

In August, I’m planning to:

  • Start editing Brass and Glass 3. That will run into September, too.
  • Write another contest flash story, the final one for one of the contests.
  • Edit two contest flash stories (both from that same contest).
  • Finish a long-abandoned story (cryo).
  • Revise star.
  • Write a Cobalt City story with Nate.
  • Write a book review or two.

Lots to do, but most of the month to do it in!


Reviving a Story

Posted By on July 30, 2018

Sometimes, stories can be like the undead.

Sometimes, you start writing a story and put it away for a while.

Sometimes, you come back to that story, and realize that what you wrote wasn’t that bad.

Sometimes, you want to start working on that story again, and realize that while it’s not that bad, you have no idea where you were going with it, and even better, didn’t include any notes about your intentions in the story. Or your email. Or the handful of notebooks that you might have written something in.

(Too specific? Maybe.)

I’ve had this happen to me recently–finding stories that I’d stopped working on long ago, but I’ve recently realized that I would like to finish. The bad news is my lack of notes. But the good news is that I can take the pieces and look at them in a new way, and finish the stories in ways that my current self loves, but that my past self would have never thought of.

If you’ve got a collection of unfinished stories (or novels, or poems, or whatever), give them a look every now and then. You might find a hidden gem there that’s just waiting to be revived!

Fun for Friday: August Writing Prompts

Posted By on July 27, 2018

August Writing Prompts

August is just around the corner, so it’s time for the August writing prompts! This month, we’re back to having some prompts based on the letters in the word August, some based on August holidays, some based on summertime things, and some toward the end getting into the next thing on the agenda, back to school time! (I’m sure I hear parents cheering and students moaning.)

As always, feel free to interpret the words in the way you like. I’ve tossed in some fun ones for that this month!

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!

Text version of the prompts:

  1. Gust
  2. Blistering
  3. Dive
  4. Mustard
  5. Sisters
  6. Picnic
  7. Frisbee
  8. Poppy
  9. Tags
  10. Dog
  11. Ice Cream
  12. Outdoors
  13. Melon
  14. Reverence
  15. Trunks
  16. Stag
  17. Stifling
  18. Surf
  19. Gladiolus
  20. Lemonade
  21. Ease
  22. Fierce
  23. Tug
  24. Sail
  25. Voyage
  26. Water
  27. Notebook
  28. Pencil
  29. Peridot
  30. Kindergarten
  31. Back

Spocon is just a couple of weeks away!

Posted By on July 26, 2018

Spocon logoIn a couple of weeks, we’ll head out to Spokane for SpoCon! I’ve got a couple of updates to my schedule, which you can find below!

Friday, August 10, 3:00 p.m. (Evergreen) – The Magical Menagerie: Come and talk about some of the most awesome (and possibly bizarre) creatures from legend and myth.

Friday, August 10, 4:00 p.m. (Conference Office) – Reading: TBD, but probably I’ll read from Brass and Glass 2

Saturday, August 11, 11:00 a.m. (Parkside I) – Flash Fiction: the Genre: How do you define flash fiction–strictly by word count, or is there more to it? Our panelists reveal the ins and outs of this relatively new literary form.

Saturday, August 11, 2:00 p.m. (Evergreen) – Create Stories Live: A workshop for teen writers looking to spread their wings.

Saturday, August 11, 3:00 p.m. (Parkside II) – What Editors Want: From the first submission to an ongoing partnership, how can writers stay on good terms with their editors? What are some of the biggest turn-offs for an editor?

Saturday, August 11, 5:00 p.m. (Parkside II) – Short Fiction in SF: SF is one of the last remaining genres where authors can sell short fiction. Although stories might not get the attention novels do, it is a demanding form on its own. Our panelists discuss why short fiction is worth writing–and reading!

SpoCon is at the downtown Spokane Doubletree, August 10-12, 2018!

Music Recommendation: “Helpless” by The Regrettes

Posted By on July 25, 2018

My sister got me hooked on the Hamilton original cast recording the last time I was in St. Louis. I then played most of it for Jeremy while we were driving around in California. He returned the favor by finding me this delightful pop-punk cover of “Helpless.” Enjoy!

Scenes from a Quiet Apocalypse

Posted By on July 24, 2018

Cover art for Scenes from a Quiet ApocalypseThis time last year, I was writing what became Scenes from a Quiet Apocalypse as part of the Zoetic Press Write Like You’re Alive challenge. I’m taking this year off from the challenge, as I’m doing different challenges instead.

However, if you’re a fan of Scenes from a Quiet Apocalypse and wish you could have more, did you know that I have a poem related to this novella in the 2017 Write Like You’re Alive anthology? And it’s FREE!

I’ve also got another poem related to this novella that I’ve been shopping around to various markets. If you know of any good ones who want a weird little piece of poetry, let me know!

Culture Building

Posted By on July 23, 2018

The Cultural IcebergI came across this graphic (rendered at larger than my normal graphic size here to make it more legible) related to the aspects of culture that are easy and difficult to see. It was originally posted by a music teacher talking about multicultural classrooms. But on Twitter, Fonda Lee pointed out how useful it could be to writers in her tweet here.

If you’re working on a project that involves a culture, whether real or fictitious, this graphic shows you the myriad things that you should learn about for depicting a real culture, or think about for a fictional culture. Getting the details right about a real world culture is respectful and helps represent that culture accurately. Figuring out these sorts of details for a fictional culture makes the culture feel realistic and fully formed, rather than just pulling from an existing culture. This isn’t to say that you can’t have a fictional culture inspired by a real-world culture, but you can have a more realistic fictional culture when it’s got solid reasons behind the culture.

Here’s a transcription of the graphic:

Title: The Cultural Iceberg

Easy to see:

  • Language
  • Folklore
  • Fine arts
  • Dress
  • Literature
  • Holidays and Festivals
  • Food

Difficult to see:

  • Beliefs and assumptions
  • Family roles
  • Self-concept
  • Relation to authority
  • Core values
  • Biases
  • Body language
  • Manners
  • Concept of cleanliness
  • Interpretations
  • Beauty ideals
  • Family values
  • Attitude toward school
  • Gender roles
  • Approaches to health and medicine
  • Humor
  • Rules of conduct
  • Notions of modesty
  • Concept of justice
  • Pride
  • Competitiveness
  • Attitude toward the environment
  • Expectations
  • Childrearing practices
  • Work ethic
  • Thought patterns
  • Gestures
  • Personal space
  • Aesthetics