Dina Friedman's Monthly Writing Advice

Vol. 1 # 9, March 2002 - The Muse vs. Demands of Research

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Dear Dina,

I want to write an historical novel. With my full-time day job, it will take me about a year just to do the research. But the main character keeps appearing in my dreams, begging me to write down her story NOW. What should I do?

No Time to Write if I Have to Go to the Library

Dear No Time,

If your character's begging for space, get her down now before she gets frustrated and takes off to find another muse. Mark anything you need to check for historical accuracy and get that done in your down time, or perhaps your second draft, but let those creative juices start flowing. I find it helpful to read just a little bit per day, which helps me imagine my characters in the historical period in which they live, perhaps saving some work in the long run. But details can always be changed later. Of course, learn enough history to make your general plot plausible, so you don't have to change absolutely everything on the second go-round.

Good luck, and I look forward to seeing your historical epic on the best seller list.

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Once again, lots of new stuff on the sites. Some highlights:

* Rabbi Arthur Waskow on planting trees in Israel for peace--an article I found deeply moving (Peace Page--which is now just the contents list and resources, with everything else hotlinked for quick loading)
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Dina Friedman, M.S.W., has worked with individuals and groups on issues for thirteen years. A published fiction writer, poet, playwright, and journalist and winner of several awards and honors, she coordinates academic writing workshops for Mount Holyoke College. She has taught rhetoric, English Comp, and creative writing at the University of Massachusetts, Holyoke Community College, and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

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