Posts Tagged ‘writing’


August 8th, 2014 • by Karen A. Chase • 4 Comments
Photo by RogerMcLassus

Photo by RogerMcLassus

As I go forth into a writing career, I have decided to change up my blog a bit. Until now, it has been about Design, Photography and Writing–the three things I did somewhat equally with my time. Now, with my head either on the page, in a book, or in a library, Compositions will become about Writing, Reading and Research.

In the world of a writer these elements gather to create a composition. Readers and writers bring their own thoughts and expression to how stories are made, and research delves into how history shapes those perceptions. Here at Compositions I’ll share stories, writing tips and thoughts, and historic adventures. All at or around 250 words per post.

So as I begin again, let’s start with words. I recently watched this Ted Talk on What Makes a Word “Real”? It speaks to how/why words are added to our English language dictionaries and how our view of words has changed. Boy has it.

“Troll” was hanging out under bridges, warts and all. Now it means to “surf” the internet. Surf, not stream. “Streaming.” To have shows running on your computer while you eat Spam. Or delete spam. I say this with abandon. Although “abandon” in the 14th century meant to subdue. I’d say it sounds awful that so much has changed, but “awful” in the 13th century meant “inspiring wonder.”

What words have changed meaning for you? If you could add one word to the dictionary, what would it be?

Let That Banner Wave!

August 1st, 2014 • by Karen A. Chase • 9 Comments


I have an agent!

About eight weeks ago I promised I would fly the Canadian flag and replace it with the US flag when I found an agent. I can scarcely believe it’s happened so quickly, but last week the joyous news came in. A call. Early morning. Area code 212. New York.

“Hi, this is Rebecca Gradinger with Fletcher and Company.” My ears thrummed. Once my composure returned I found Rebecca saying things all writers hope for. “I was reading it on the subway… I only got to page 100… I just had to call…”

However, it was not her praises that made me say yes. She was professional and warm. Thoughtful and engaging. She knows this business well, but she is also known for being nice. I said yes, because I feel like she is going to be someone to count on. With Rebecca and her assistant Jennifer in my corner, the next rounds are going to be less of a fight. More of a joy.

She’ll be here to help with editing, finding a publisher and more. Rebecca best describes the role of an agent in this post from Poets and Writers.

So, I have another enthusiastic partner in the building of my literary career. That’s only right for I did not get here alone. Freelance editors. Early readers. Researchers and historians. Other authors. Even finding Rebecca came with help. I was introduced by another historical fiction author, Kathleen Grissom (a Canadian). Rebecca (also Canadian) has been her trusted agent.

Isn’t that ironic? After six years writing about the American Revolution, among those helping me find a publisher are two other Canadians. So here is promise to them.

I will fly this American flag until we find a publisher, at which time that Canadian flag will go back out.

For now, let these stars and stripes wave! Carrying Independence and I have an agent.

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Stay tuned for more posts about what comes next. How does a writer work with an agent? What is the process toward publication? I hope you’ll follow along. Sign up for the blog (in the right-hand column) and the tales will come right into your email.

A Dickens of an Agent Search

July 18th, 2014 • by Karen A. Chase • 2 Comments



I have decided that querying agents is a lot like reading Dickens.

First, you must enter the process knowing it is going to take some time. Our book club read David Copperfield last year. 1019 pages! I hope I have the patience of my friend who read that whole thing on her iphone.

Second, there are pages and pages of characters. And you don’t get to know much about them in the beginning. I query agents based on what I can find in Google searches and in websites like QueryTracker and AgentQuery. I have to be prudent and savvy. A couple of weeks ago I chose poorly. The rejection from the agent’s assistant said readers already know “what really happened to the Constitution.” Yeah… uhm… my book is about the Declaration.

Third, Dicken’s dialogue is polite, even when things are going poorly. So are my rejection emails. “We wish you luck with finding a home for this intriguing work.” That’s so nice, but it leaves me feeling like Oliver Twist. “Please, Sir, I want some more.”

Lastly, (and I hope this is true), a darn good ending is coming. I read Great Expectations many years ago, slogging through that thing for weeks. The ending left me stunned. The anticipation, and the unexpected ending with one person showing great character, made me rethink and appreciate all the writing that had come before.

So on I will go. Happily. I will revel in this moment. For this is the best of times. It is the worst of times.