Popular Posts from 2015

2015 was a banner year for articles on historical fiction that struck a chord with followers of A Writer of History. I hope you enjoy reading or rereading some of these.

In 2015 Inside Historical Fiction became a new focus for A Writer of History. With this topic I and others looked under the covers of historical fiction to illuminate those attributes that make it different from contemporary fiction. If you’d like to explore this topic, use the search term ‘inside historical fiction’.

Author T.K. Thorne offered an analogy between painting and writing with some excellent words of advice that appealed to many readers.

7 Elements of Historical Fiction is a perennial favourite. It explores how character, dialogue, setting, theme, plot, conflict, and world building – the basic elements of any story – are challenged for historical fiction.

During 2015, I also explored social reading beginning with 10 thoughts on the subject. Social reading refers to the conversations readers have with one another, with writers and with bloggers in the changing dynamic of reading.

Are you an author? If so, have you considered the concept of market segments for your novels? This post illustrates the concept based on market segments I created for one of my novels.

Beyond entertainment, what is the purpose of historical fiction?

I asked readers whether they prefer their historical fiction centred on famous figures or fictional characters? Two subsequent articles explore this topic further: Historical fiction Without the Famous and Historical Fiction Without the Famous part 2.

In 2015, I conducted my third reader survey. The results were a popular read.

In 2015, I asked readers to list their favourite historical fiction titles for the first time. Lots of great novels in this list.

Noah Lukeman is the author of The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile. Noah knows a thing of two about finding top-notch manuscripts to represent. And he presents his advice simply and succinctly, using lots of examples to illustrate his points.

Favourite historical fiction authors from three different surveys are presented in this post.

Two articles on historical research written by Leah Klocek attracted a lot of interest from authors .. part one and part two

Happy reading. I hope you find many of these interesting.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION  FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

 

Update on Social Reading

Many months ago, I promised to return to the topic of social reading. So today, I’ve looked around the Internet for ideas on what’s new or new takes on the subject.

Michael Harris gives us The Rise of Social Reading: Goodbye to Virginia Woolf’s Solitary, Egoless Reader. A few bits stood out for me.

Apparently, Woolf wrote to a friend suggesting that “the state of reading consists in the complete elimination of the ego.” And York University’s Raymond Mar has studied the effect of reading using MRI scans, concluding that “When we read, we rehearse the lives of others. We are, in other words, exercising our empathy.” Contrast that to much of today’s reading on mobile devices with their “steady streams of interruption” such that “reading on a digital device shifts someone’s focus toward concrete details and away from abstract inferences and higher-level interpretations.”

Suggesting that social reading is going mainstream in the teaching community, TLC – part of the City University of New York – offered a course on the subject titled Social Reading and Writing with Online Annotation Tools. The course looks at social annotation tools enabling students and instructors to “to move away from reading and writing as one-dimensional, solitary activities by instead sharing observations, questions, and (multimedia) contextual information in the margins of an online text.” What will that mean for the next generation of readers?

Mark Watkins, a tech entrepreneur, has created a new app called Bookship. According to Justine Hofherr, a writer for BuiltInBoston, the “social reading app is like a virtual book club where people can invite their friends, family and coworkers via email to start reading together … share thoughts, quotes, photos and links related to whichever title they’ve selected over Bookship’s chat platform.”

If you want to dig a little deeper into the concept of social reading, Karen of Booker Talk explores the concept in more detail in her article Is Social Reading the Future? She concentrates of what academics mean when they use the phrase social reading – “deeply immersive group–based collaborative process that happens on-line” – and explains that this involves “a synchronous reading where people are reading and commenting on the same text simultaneously.”

Of course, other tools are emerging. For example, Annotation Studio is “a suite of collaborative web-based annotation tools currently under development at MIT.” Lacuna is “an open-source, online learning tool based on Drupal [whatever that might be!] and designed to create new possibilities for reading and learning collaboratively.”

And how about this … a book on the topic! Social Reading: Platforms, Applications, Clouds and Tags by four professors at the University of Salamanca.

By now means an exhaustive look but hopefully a few tidbits for those who are interested. One big question looms – what will this mean for authors?

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

Looking ahead to 2017

blog-focus-2017At the beginning of 2015 – two years ago and yet it seems like the blink of an eye – I decided to concentrate on two themes: Inside Historical Fiction and Social Reading. This was the introduction to Inside Historical Fiction:

“January is always a dangerous time. And no, I don’t mean the ice and snow that comes from living in Canada. January is dangerous because it’s my planning time; the time when I think strategically about where I’m heading and how I’m going to get there. The time when I think boldly to conceive outrageous goals. After all, why have a goal if it is easily attainable? … What I plan to do is look under the covers of historical fiction to illuminate those attributes that make it different from contemporary fiction. For writers, I hope the topic will enrich your writing process. For readers, I hope you will find insights to enhance your reading experience.”

And the introduction to social reading:

“It’s time to switch from ‘inside historical fiction‘ to ‘social reading‘, the second of two themes A Writer of History is exploring this year [2015]. Why am I interested? Because I want to be part of the conversation readers have with one another, with writers and with bloggers, and I want to embrace, not resist, the change that’s happening in the world of content creation.”

A few months ago, readers of A Writer of History encouraged me to continue the social reading theme, so that’s one objective for 2017. A second objective is to shift the conversation from ‘inside historical fiction’ to ‘successful historical fiction’. I plan to reach out to bloggers and readers for this second topic, going beyond the surveys I’ve done to deeper conversations. For good measure, I’ll attempt some analysis (perhaps you can help?) based on reading and examining historical novels that are resonating well with readers.

I will also post more WWI letters written by Alexander Henry Tod to honour those who fought.

What other goals do I have for 2017? So glad you asked. Beyond the blog, I will soon submit a second novel to Lake Union Publishing with the hope that they will be as excited about it as I am and then plan this novel’s sequel. And finally, if the moon and the stars align – in other words, if I have enough time – I’ll attempt another reader survey.

Lots of objectives … better get busy. As always, I welcome your input.

PS … a few links on social reading from previous posts

10 Thoughts on Social Reading

Two Versions of Social Reading

Insights from the Social Reading Landscape

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union on August 16, 2016. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.