History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

The Importance of Notes

| October 8, 2018

When I’m not writing, I’m often gaming. Some of our games are bi-weekly or monthly, but I also run games at a convention once a year. And as I’m prepping my games for this year’s convention, I’ve discovered a horrifying thing. I didn’t take notes. What’s worse, neither did my players. And this in a […]

Thinking Through Story Problems

| October 1, 2018

One of my co-workers brought in a puzzle. This has, of course, escalated, and now we have a STACK of puzzles in the office. I think we’re even doing a swap with one of our other locations, where we each send the other office the puzzles we’ve already done, so we both get lots of […]

Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone

| September 24, 2018

I write a lot of fantasy stories, a lot of stories about siblings, and a lot of stories about things that live in the water and want to kill you. That’s my comfort zone. With the various flash fiction contests I’ve been participating in, I’ve found myself writing WAY outside of my comfort zone. I’ve […]

Just Write

| September 17, 2018

I’ve spent the weekend working on a flash fiction story for a contest. The contest gives an assigned genre, location, and object, and when I read the ones I had been assigned, I groaned. It was a genre that I don’t write, read, or really enjoy. And that was a problem for me trying to […]

Degrees of Ideas

| September 10, 2018

How do you figure out whether your idea is a short story, a novel, or maybe neither? Sometimes, it’s really easy to figure out. Some ideas have a scope that you know from the get-go that it’s going to be something as long as a novel, or maybe even a series. But sometimes, you have […]

What Editors Want

| August 27, 2018

One of the panels I was on at SpoCon was about what editors want. We talked mostly about short fiction acquisition editors, since two of us on the panel were just that, but we also talked about other formats a little bit. The thing that I always come back to when talking about what short […]

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 […]