Skip to content

Posts by Blake Smith

The Evening Ramble

I’ve recently undergone a tiny bit of upheaval in my life, a.k.a. The Great Move, and I’m still adjusting. In the process, I’ve discovered/rediscovered/mulled over something interesting: I like tangible results. I like being able to see the results of my work at the end of the day, and when I can’t, I lose productivity in all areas of life. And, weirdly, writing doesn’t count. Or at the very least, it doesn’t count as much as other tasks like mucking stalls. Even washing dishes by hand gives a more tangible result, something that I can look at and say, “That looked like X and now, because of my effort, it looks like Y.”
Read more

Fiction Marches On

I read a lot of historical fiction. I’m sure that’s no surprise to most of the people on this blog. I also read older fiction, because a lot of the stuff published in the last few decades doesn’t grab me, especially stories in modern settings.

A trip through my library leads to a lot of weird trains of thought that jump back and forth in time. You see, the meaning of ‘contemporary novel’ changes over time, and what was a modern setting fifty years ago looks incredibly dated to us. How many mysteries have you read where the mystery could have been immediately solved by a quick Bing search or cell phone call?
Read more

Point A to Point B, Via Q, 3, and $

The Great Move still hasn’t happened, but it’s on schedule at the moment, and continues to give me post fodder. Part of The Great Move includes The Road Trip, you see, and planning that has made me think about distance. Driving nearly two thousand miles from one door to the other tends to focus one’s mind on the subject.

I’ll be on the road for five days. Seems like a long time, right? And I’ll be the first to admit that I’m taking it easy. But that kind of speed would have been unimaginable to people only a few generations ago. Read more

Sunny, With a Chance of Nostalgia

Part of The Great Move (still yet to be completed) has included sorting my possessions. I never realized I had so much stuff!- and the largest category of things to be sorted is, of course, books. I didn’t make a proper count of them, but I estimate I have between twelve and fifteen hundred. And that’s after donating about a hundred to the local library. Medieval monks would weep with joy to have access to the sort of library that I’ve accumulated in less than thirty years, with very little money. Read more

Details at Eleven

or, A Crash Course in Public Relations

I started this post wondering if I would, in fact, finish it. Because we live in a world of mass communication and everyone has had to interact with journalists of varying stripes, right? So, who needs advice on dealing with the media?

Then I realized that I had gotten most of my information from classes taken as an adult, one sponsored by New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission and the other sponsored by the Connecticut Tax Collectors Association, along with a smattering of hints that I picked up on the fly by reading blog posts on unrelated subjects. I went to public school; most of my education was snatched at random from unrelated subjects, so I’m used to that method of learning. But not everyone’s mind works that way, so I started thinking, maybe there is a need for all of this information, and a need for it all in one place.

(Okay, I confess: I’m also writing this post to fix the material in my mind so I can pass a test on it in two weeks)
Read more

Fluffy the Terrible, and Other Appellations

I’m (somewhat reluctantly) working on a story in a new universe. Ground dwelling fairies are fighting with tree dwelling fairies and won’t tell me why. Why must these things pop into my head when I have the least amount of time or energy to deal with them?

But if I could answer that question, I’d be rich, and I wouldn’t mind having nine thousand projects all pop up at once, because I could take my time in sorting them out.

Ahem. Never mind. The point is that a new writing universe requires new characters and places, and that brings us to naming conventions.
Read more

Perils of Research

If you’re like me, you get a great idea for a story, do a bit of research, and promptly get so lost in the research that you forget to write the story (I’m still irked over the loss of that novel about Byzantine iconoclasm. Maybe I’ll get it back. Someday).

But that’s only one of the perils of research, and in this post, I’d like to focus on the ways a writer can be tripped up by the research itself, particularly in historical research, since most of my (limited) experience is in that field. Read more