Posts Tagged ‘History’

Research & Writer’s Block

February 5th, 2016 • by Karen A. Chase • 1 Comment
Writers block means going back to the books. (Public Domain Image: Ivan Kramskoy. Reading woman.)

Writers block means going back to the books. (Public Domain Image: Ivan Kramskoy. Reading woman.)

Writers often dread the idea of becoming stuck, and Writer’s Digest (WD) has a great post this week about 5 Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block.

I’ll admit that I’m not a big believer in writer’s block as this staring-at-a-blank-page, drink-in-hand, woe-to-the-tortured-Hemingway-like-writer syndrome. Much like the WD article author, Molly Cochran, I think the reasons for why writers might stall are pretty straightforward. And Molly’s tips are a great help for overcoming those problems.

But I will add to her list a sixth reason, and it’s primarily for all the historical novelists out there. Lack of preparation or research.

I write what I call “Factual Fiction,” whereby my plot, story and characters are not loosely set in history but intrinsically tied to real events, people and places. So if I am having difficulty with my plot, or what my characters are doing or saying, it’s because I simply don’t know enough about the event, person or place with which they must interact.

To overcome those moments when words come to a screeching halt, I read (or sometimes reread) about an event. I take out pictures of the locations I’m featuring, or I read second-hand accounts or bios about the person they’re speaking to. Once, I had to request a historian’s dissertation from a California university to overcome a lack of information.

Usually within an hour, or in that one case a couple weeks, I’m humming along with ideas again. No more writer’s block. Then my only problem becomes whether or not I’ve blocked off enough time to write.

How Time Flies

January 15th, 2016 • by Karen A. Chase • No Comments

Hello again. Dipping back into my blog after a hiatus and after a new year begins, it’s clear to me how time can zoom by. You’re doing one thing (editing, in my case) and thinking, “After this, then I’ll get to that.”

This thinking is not mine alone, as witnessed on a holiday with my in-laws in New Jersey. Now in their mid-90s, my partner’s parents have been in the same house since 1959. Although some appliances or worn out chairs have been replaced, much of it has stayed true to the 60s. In part, because life was happening. Be it the morning newspaper or six kids, and thirteen grandchildren. They were so busy with this, that that (updating the house) just wasn’t the priority. And maybe it’s lovely it wasn’t.

While I’ll have more details on this excursion in my upcoming Will Travel For Words column over at ShelfPleasure, for now, enjoy these few snapshots of a circa 1960s house, and be thankful it hasn’t changed, so you can go back there, too.

Lafayette’s Hermoine Close Up

June 11th, 2015 • by Karen A. Chase • No Comments

Every now and then a little bit of history sails right into our lives. This last week, the Hermione landed in Yorktown, VA. The Hermione (pronounced Her-me-own) is a full-scale replica of a ship Lafayette sailed from France to America to fight with us during the Revolution.

While I’ll have more about my tour of the ship later this month in my Will Travel With Words Column on, for now enjoy this gallery of images: The Hermione Up Close.

The Hermione is currently sailing up the east coast to land in New York July 4th. To find out where the Hermoine will be, visit the Hermione2015 Website or for amazing photos visit their awesome Facebook page.