Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Sunday, July 03, 2011

On writing . . .

I'm digging into the research for Years of Stone. The saga continues as Mac, arrested for protesting evictions and transported by sailing ship to Tasmania from Scotland, confronts 19th Century Van Dieman's Land, Britain's dumping ground for criminals. Deidre follows him into an uncertain future.

Today I found that Tasmania has its own "Southern Lights", and I'm reading Ken McGoogan's Lady Franklin's Revenge, not a romance but nonfiction backstory on Sir John Franklin, famous Arctic explorer who served as Governor in Van Diemen's Land 1837-1843. McGoogan includes photos, maps, and rich detail of the life in Hobart Town of that time.

But as I balance between writing and researching, I'm also motivated by Dean Wesley Smith's advice: "Your job is to tell the story and make things up." My characters move the story forward. So finally, I'm writing. As Dean says, "If you carve out writing time, spend it on creating new words."

As many articles that I've read that give writers various kinds of advice, Dean's words resonate. Yes, sometimes a story needs to marinate. Yes, writers need to master all kinds of technical skills, not the least being a sense of "truthiness" in writing historical fiction. Even for those days when words don't come easily, I'm still making progress, and that feels good.


  1. Progress, visible or not, is a Good Thing.

  2. It's hard but also enjoyable while writing~

    karen millen