History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

The Pixar Formula

| August 20, 2018

At SpoCon, Frances Pauli and I teams up to run a writing workshop for teen writers. Frances did most of the work, arriving with some fantastic worksheets that let us put together an easy idea for a story right there! The worksheets were very close to the “Pixar formula”, which runs “Once upon a time […]

Questions for Beta Readers

| August 6, 2018

If you’ve finished a novel or other longer work and want to get outside opinions, you might turn to a beta reader. But what are you asking them to look at? This article presents fifteen questions for beta readers that will help you get the most of their comments! It also has some other tidbits […]

Reviving a Story

| 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 […]

Culture Building

| July 23, 2018

I 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 […]

Trying All the Things!

| July 16, 2018

I’m primarily a short fiction writer, though I delve into longer things now and again. But I’ve also dipped my toes into poetry and flash fiction–at first in a sort of accidental way, and eventually in a more intentional way. One of the tips that’s given to writers is to give your characters sufficient try-fail […]

Setting a Timer

| July 9, 2018

I’ve been getting a lot of writing done recently, and I can credit my word counts solely to one thing: half-hour writing sprints. I had a couple of free days over the weekend, so once I was up and settled in, I started writing whenever the clock hit the half hour mark, and stopped writing […]

Remembering to Celebrate

| July 2, 2018

Writing can be a difficult profession because a large portion of the job involves a lot of rejection. I’ve been submitting stories for publication for since 2010. It’s taken some time to build up a large stable of stories, but I’ve got more than 60 that reached the point where they could go out on […]

Telling a Story Another Way

| June 25, 2018

I recently learned about wooden maps of Greenland’s coastlines, made by the native inhabitants for storytelling rather than navigation. And while I’m pretty sure that most magazines wouldn’t let you submit woodworking as a short story, it does present an interesting lesson for writers nonetheless. Sometimes, the trick to telling a story isn’t to change […]

The Importance of Proofreading

| June 18, 2018

As I mentioned last week, we discovered that there were some errors in the version of┬áBrass and Glass 2 that had been published. It’s easy enough to fix the ebook, but there were a number of print copies that we had ordered for a couple of events that included the errors. We were in a […]

Story Types

| June 11, 2018

Because of weird gaps and other oddities in my schedule, I’ve been writing a lot more flash fiction. Flash is always an interesting exercise for me, because I have a tendency toward stories that are too big, rather than very small stories. So it’s a bit of a challenge for me sometimes. One of the […]