I spent two decades growing my craft as a journalist. I worked to get better details and verbs into stories, and pushed sources for better quotes to make a story sing. Gobbledygook was verboten.
I realized last week how much my novel writing is growing. I was thrilled to be tagged in a game that has you post on Facebook seven lines from page 7 or page 77 of your work-in-progress. I was pleasantly surprised by how much stronger my writing was on page 77 than page 7.
For both my day job and my fictional writing, I believe paying close attention to successful writers is essential.
I am a voracious reader, especially historical fiction, except now I read a book for pleasure and to deconstruction it for ideas. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I am particularly inspired by Elizabeth Chadwick, whose A Place Beyond Courage I just devoured. I am enthralled by how she mixes modern language and “old-sounding” words that evoke medieval England. I need to work on my transitions between dialogue and reading master authors helps me learn.
I draw particular inspiration from Chadwick’s To Defy A King and Anne Easter Smith’s Queen by Right. Both open with feisty young girls who grow to become remarkable women while overcoming loss and adversity. Both are models for my Anne of York.