Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Writing Wisdom – Jennifer Holm

Author Jennifer Holm loves finding those “weird little connections between now and then” and bringing them to life in her historical fiction. “It’s those messy, awkward moments that get the story started,” she says. “But some things are so tragic you can’t put them into a book.

Holm uses her fiction to give voice to a family as she shows how they are affected by time, place, and history. “Tell stories about regular people, those you won’t see in history books, but give your own spin to those crazy moments.”

Of course, when writing historical fiction, you must remain historically accurate. She suggests you immerse yourself in details and read books from the time period. “Your story comes first. Then make it historical fiction,” she says.

Holm also warns anyone who wants to be an author to, “Assume you’ll be rejected, but submit anyway. A rejection is not anything against you, and it may not be anything against your writing. Acceptance is often about timing!”

She goes on to mention the reasons for rejection might include: they bought a similar story already, too many unsolicited manuscripts arrived in the same week, it was just chance that someone got accepted and you got rejected, or “maybe your editor just found out she is pregnant and doesn’t want to take on a new project that would be due the same time she is.”

Holm says we should “treat each manuscript submission as simply postage” toward the numbers game. Sometimes we win; sometimes we lose, but we must continue submitting or we automatically lose.

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