History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Atmospheric Sensory Detail vs. Sensory Detail for Plot

| April 19, 2021

A lot of writing advice suggests that you need to load your writing with sensory details. However, other advice suggest that the only sensory details you include should be the ones with direct bearing on the plot. This article suggests a much more balanced approach–including enough sensory detail to establish the atmosphere, but also using […]

Book Recommendation: Wired for Story by Lisa Cron

| April 14, 2021

Wired for Story by Lisa Cron is a fantastic book for writers who want to work more on their writing craft. Using facts about how readers’ brains work, Cron explains how you can use and defy expectations in ways that will satisfy your readers. At the same time, she gives excellent insight into why some […]

Fictional Maps

| April 12, 2021

My current work in progress involves a couple of different maps of the same place, one including significantly more detail than the other. I’ve got the map pictured in my head, but that’s the only place it exists right now. This is a weird thing that I seem to do when I’m writing something that […]

Trying Unusual Habits to Get the Words Flowing

| April 5, 2021

When you’re having trouble writing, do you have weird habits that are sure to get the words flowing? If you haven’t come up with any, check out this list of 9 Weird Habits that Famous Writers Formed. Some of them are a little bit out there, but maybe even those will give you an alternative […]

My Writing Must-Haves

| March 22, 2021

What’s on your writing must-have list? Here’s mine: My laptop. Can’t get very far without it. Because I don’t really take it anywhere aside from the spare bedroom, I have a device that lifts the screen up to eye level when it’s on a table, but that also renders the keyboard difficult to use, so […]

A Year at Home

| March 15, 2021

Roughly a year ago, the company I work for made the call for all of its employees to work from home, as a result of the increasing spread of COVID-19. We thought it would be a short stint of work from home, but for us, it’s been a year, and there’s no clear sign of […]

Writing Monsters While Avoiding Ableism

| March 8, 2021

There are a lot of tropes associated with monsters, and a huge number of these tropes are racist and ableist caricatures used as shorthand to suggest that non-white people and people with disabilities are inherently inferior, if not downright evil. This article from Mythcreants, “Ridding Your Monsters of Ableism,” gives examples of how monster tropes […]

The Timing from Idea to Book

| March 1, 2021

How long does it take between when an author gets an idea for a novel and when it comes out? That depends on a number of factors, including the author and their publication process. But the short answer is “longer than you’d think.” Between Facebook memories and archived emails, I’ve determined that the novel I […]

Revising Short Fiction: On Screen or On Paper?

| February 22, 2021

I learned how to edit my papers for high school and college by printing out drafts, reading through them, and marking them up with red ink (or whatever funky colored pens I had). But that was in the halcyon days of dot matrix printers, which, in the household I grew up, at least, had a […]

Tips on Speculative Detective Fiction

| February 15, 2021

Many people like to read mystery stories or detective fiction, but if you’ve never tried your hand at writing it, it can be a challenging genre to tackle, especially when you add speculative fiction elements. Here, author Tyler Hayes breaks down some of the pitfalls and advice for writing speculative detective fiction. It’s a fantastic […]