Writers’ Craft 6: Tense

What time is it? Choosing a tense for your story usually isn’t a big deal. Most fiction and even nonfiction is told in past tense, as in: They went there, and then they travelled further. Why writers do this is not entirely clear. Certainly the practice of writing in past tense has been around a very long time. Mallory wrote Le Morte d’Arthur in 1469, and it is in past tense. Homer’s epic poem, Odyssey,…

Allow me to introduce: Susan Forest

One of Canada’s best-kept secrets, Susan Forest is an award-winning author, artist and publisher. And if you haven’t read her work, you should. She pushes boundaries, examines human relationships in impossible situations, much in the way of Candas Jane Dorsey (another of Canada’s best-kept secrets) and the illustrious Ursula K. le Guin. Susan first came to my attention in 2011 after an introduction from Robert Runté. He suggested we consider putting together a collection of…

An editor considers character development

What is it about a story of fiction that sweeps you away? Aside from other key elements, I’m pretty sure it’s a fully developed character who speaks to you from the page or screen. It’s that character’s voice that whispers to you in your sleep, who disturbs you at work, during your commute, who becomes so real sometimes you ache for conversation with that person, you cry if they die, or crow when they triumph….

An editor considers lack of research

My colleague, Robert Runté, and I read and edit a lot of manuscripts in the course of a year. We often see the same mistakes cropping up. I thought it might be of interest to share my observations through a series of articles. At the top of my list of writing faux pas is lack of research. In any written work, the richness of the story is partly due to the depth of research, and…