History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Talking to Rubber Ducks

| July 6, 2020

Computer programmers have a practice called “rubber duck debugging,” in which they explain their code, line by line, to a rubber duck in order to find errors. While the idea of talking to a rubber duck might seem strange, it can also be a good tool for authors, when you’ve reached a point in a […]

Poetry: Rhyming

| June 29, 2020

When I first started writing poetry as an adult, meter was one of the hardest things for me to get my head around. After some practice, though, I’ve gotten better at it. Now the big stumper for me is rhyming, but I’m learning how to better use that in poetry as well. I’ve gotten some […]

Gamifying Your Writing

| June 22, 2020

Gamification is defined as “the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.” In addition to the marketing applications,¬†for some writers, gamifying writing tasks can be a great […]

That 2020 Day Planner

| June 15, 2020

There’s a meme talking about how the most useless purchase was a 2020 planner. I’ll admit, I have more than my fair share of things crossed out in my planner this year, and I’m not someone who makes a lot of social plans. My planner is also where I record what I’ve worked on or […]

Writing Play

| June 8, 2020

While writing practice is important to improving craft, writing play is also important to work into your routine. To me, the idea of writing play is that not every word that you commit to paper (virtual or otherwise) has to be publishable or even usable. Sometimes, it’s just important to write things that are fun–to […]

Guest Post: Gary Jonas on Mind Control

| May 25, 2020

Today, I’m hosting a guest post from author Gary Jonas, whose story “Bluebird Killing in the Dead of Night” appears in Psi-Wars. Mind control. Two words that suggest so much more. Back in the 1950s, the CIA started Project Bluebird, a program designed to develop mind control techniques by using drugs on unwitting subjects. Initially, […]

Writing Practice

| May 18, 2020

Whether you’ve been writing for decades or have only just started, writing practice is an important part of improving your writing. It can also be a great way to get unstuck, or to get your writing juices flowing. Most writing practice exercises have nothing to do with a specific writing project, at least not directly. […]

Music to Evoke a Sense of Time and Place

| May 11, 2020

Since I’m currently spending most of my workdays listening to my old iPod, I’m getting hit with a lot of nostalgia based on the songs. Any random song might send me back to my days in St. Louis as a teen, to my college dorm room, the variety of concerts I went to, or the […]

Poetry Forms: Nonet

| May 4, 2020

The nonet is a simple poetry form, in terms of the rules. It’s a nine line poem in which the first line has nine syllables. Each subsequent line has one less syllable, with the final line being only a single syllable. There are no rules about rhyming or any other bits of meter except for […]

Cool Alternate History Resource: Historic Cities

| April 20, 2020

If you’re writing alternate history, historical fiction, or even fantastical history, check out Historic Cities as a great source of historical maps. The primary page makes it look a little Eurocentric, but if you click through to the list of city names, you’ll see maps for non-European countries as well!