Category: Revising a Manuscript

Shop Talk: Uses of History in a Novel

I’ve been thinking about the various ways I use history in novels. In the Owen Archer novels, I (as Candace) make use of the history to create the motivation for the crime and the circumstances–political, cultural, local–that led to it and that create obstacles…

Shop Talk: change one thing

Wondering. Why couldn’t that scene be here? I couldn’t for the life of me remember why I’d placed it where I did. I experimented, bringing it forward in the manuscript, and wonder of wonders, it not only went a long way toward clarifying an…

Pondering: Warmth

Reading an interview with Ian McEwan in the NYT (the “By the Book” column for 6 Dec), I paused over the phrase “warm intelligence” (in regard to Shakespeare). Warm. I’m in the warmth seeking stage of revising this manuscript. A few of the historical…

FAQ: Does it get easier with each book?

The short answer is, NO. A longer, more elegant answer: I experience each book as an interior journey. In The Light Inside the Dark: Zen, Soul, and the Spiritual Life (HarperPerenial 1999), John Tarrant describes “…the interior journey [as] a spiral stair. We come…

Discovery, or Gently Unraveling Knots

I gently unravel the knots, patiently picking at glimpses of the women in the historical record, teasing out each event or mention, giving each some air, some space. And then I lay the freed thread next to the others, searching for the original pattern….