Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.
I hope you're considering submitting a short story to a themed anthology because there are a lot of reasons why it's a good idea. When I jumped into Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime, I wanted to try out a different writing style and switch from my usual category. This was the perfect time.
In my story titled Heartless, I had a chance to play with a period piece and use the syntax, style, and slang of 1871. Of course, while I wanted the dialogue to sound as if it belonged in that era, I still wanted the story to appeal to the modern reader. In trying to do that, I learned a lot about how historical fiction writers manage.
The mansion I pictured for Heartless
I read a few pieces from that period to get the flavor and to contrast it with modern language. I also read some secondary pieces by writers I like. Then I relied a lot on my ear, trying to work the syntax into an approximation of 1871, but keep it readable in 2018.
Here's part of a scene with an explanation of what I did with the language.
“When did this report come in?” Scofield demanded.
“Last night, sir.”
The detective halted and faced the sergeant. “And nobody notified me.” [Incomplete sentences help break up any dialogue, but I think it's essential when writing period dialogue.]
“You were not,” the sergeant cleared his throat, “on duty, sir.” [I deliberately didn't contract "were not." Then I broke up this sentence with an action.]
“Blast it, Hawkins. ["Blast it" is actually from the 1600s, but it carried through several centuries with some slight modifications. I thought it worked here.] I made it clear to fetch [I felt this verb was better than get, or call.] me immediately when a new missing person report came in. Young girl. Kenwood area. What didn’t I make clear?”
When the sergeant didn’t answer, Scofield waved off the next angry words ready to spring ["Spring" was a little stilted, but I didn't think it didn't stood out much. And I followed with fragments.] from his lips. “Never mind. Too late. What do you have so far?”
The sergeant handed the papers over and stepped back, silent.
This will be my fourth themed anthology. With each one, I've learned something new about writing, so I'm kind of a cheerleader. I think readers will find this one has some excellent stories.
Welcome to another fabulous IWSG day! Thanks to the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh and his merry band of delightful minions and clones, we have a day where we can support and encourage each other as we travel this fascinating journey of publication.
Check out the list of other IWSG writers here and find some new friends to visit this month!
July's question: What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?
My writing goals have definitely changed over time. 1st Level Goal: Write for fun! (= 2 or 3 drafts) 2nd Level Goals: Meet other writers and learn things (= AgentQueryConnect.com, incredible crit buddies, and the realization that I knew nothing!!) 3rd Level Goals: Learn more things & write a draft that someone else might want to read (= learned the rudiments of editing, social media, & more drafts ... I can first draft forever!!!) 4th Level Goals: Learn more things, polish a story, & query (= sent out a few queries, some full requests, excellent feedback, learned more about pacing & conflict) 5th Level Goals: Learn more things, learn to plot (= so much angst over plotting!!!, several more drafts) 6th Level Goals: Learn more things, take some risks (= enter a #Pitchwars contest where I made awesome new friends & got excellent feedback, enter a IWSG contest and got a story chosen for the Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime anthology!) 7th Level Goals: Learn more things, take more risks, finish a good draft using an outline, write more short stories, get my stories ready to head out into the world, consider querying & self-publishing
And that's where I am today. Still learning, still growing, still risking, still thinking about publishing paths, and (most importantly) still having fun writing!
How about you? Have your goals evolved with time? Doesn't it feel great when you achieve a goal? (I know I'm still Happy Dancing over UNTIL RELEASE being out and about in the world!)