Punctuation: friend or foe?

21 Jul

Last time out, I talked about re-reading something I’d written a long time ago, and my astonishment at what I’d written.  Then, I ran into a slight road-block on my way to re-publishing this book by its original title That Room at Ardenwycke rather than the shorter title selected by the publisher that first time around: Ardenwycke Unveiled.  I needed a new cover, and couldn’t think of one. So I went to the second of the two books  – this one being the first book I ever wrote (and completed – important distinction, that) Bertie’s Golden Treasure.  It’s a Regency Romance, and a cover illustration popped into my head almost immediately, so I decided to go with that one first, and then come back to Ardenwycke.

Bertie-cover

A funny thing happened as I re-read Bertie, using the file from which the previous print book was made. I have always been profligate with punctuation, especially commas. To my distress, there were almost no commas in this book! Sentences were either really short, or ran on for seemingly forever before they finally came to a full stop. I put a lot of commas (and some other punctuation, as well) back in there.

It dawns on me that very likely the use of punctuation is an ‘age’ thing. Most older folks learned how to speak in an understandable fashion (not at a rate of 500+ words per minute) and write comprehensibly, because they  also learned the proper use of punctuation. Then the minimalist trend hit. ‘Why is that comma there? It isn’t needed, so get rid of it!’

To me, however, it is needed there. For someone who reads aloud, or is on radio or even TV, punctuation is a necessity! It tells you when to breathe! It’s that simple. No wonder many of us older folks are continually telling all-too-many  younger folks to ‘slow down, please’ or ‘I’m sorry, could you please repeat that?’  (Hopefully, us older folks also know the value of ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, when used appropriately.) And yes, I do believe that last comma there is in the right place. Commas do not always go inside quote marks.

(As a for instance here. For fifteen years, I read for the Cleveland Sight Center, which operated a small, closed-circuit Radio Reading Service for the visually-handicapped community. For two hours each Wednesday evening, with a partner, we read from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Shortly after beginning this venture, I also began to record books for the Library of Congress Talking Books Program – and at least one of them is still there!  Through those years, I taped more than 100 books for the Sight Center and Cleveland Public Library. Also for a while, I was the Saturday announcer on our local classical music station. Later, as a writer, I was selected to be one of five or six reviewers chosen to attend classical music performances in the area, and then write a review, which would be taped the next day at the station for broadcast during the coming weekend. It took me little time to learn that – at my reading speed – 475 written words equaled just less than 3 minutes pf spoken words – the max limit. Actually they were to be 2 minutes, 57 seconds worth.  Believe me, the value of punctuation was never more apparent than during this exhilarating adventure!)

If you write mainly for yourself, you may, of course, do whatever you wish, even if you self-publish. If you wish to be published by a commercial publisher, however, that publisher will have already established its own ‘style’ of punctuation and other elements of the written word. This may include font, font size, spacing on the page and whether headers and/or footers are used, etc. In this case, the publisher wins the argument, and a wise author will agree.  It’s really quite simple. If you don’t agree, you may forfeit the right to be published, or possibly, the changes will be made without your knowledge or consent. Not fair, but thems the rules!

Just for fun,  the cover for Bertie, which I hope to have available at Amazon’s Kindle site later this week – or early next is shown at the top of this post. Ardenwycke is still in the proof-reading/create-a-cover process.

As always, questions or quibbles should be sent to me at: bookmechanicATgmail.com     Thank you!

Did I really write this?

8 Jul

Just as parents are supposed to love all their children equally, there are times when it doesn’t happen that way. Authors are thought of in the same way. Not true.  Not all kids are loveable all the time, and it’s when they’re the most unlovable that they need the most love.

Books, however, are a tad bit different. They’re not all created equal, and I suspect it would be a strange author who didn’t have a favorite of their works, even if there were only two of them!

I did love my first book, a Regency titled Bertie’s Golden Treasure. I loved Regency (still do – big time!) and this book came about in such a strange fashion, it was hard not to love it. The next book is definitely not my best, so we’ll just ignore it. Maybe it’s the step-child off in the corner, but I don’t think it’ll ever get to another ball.

The next book was the first of mine to be published. Secret Shores was a joy to write, mainly because of all the research I did for it. I had a list of more than 60 books that I’d consulted by the time I was ready to start writing. And other than a short hiatus while I recuperated from a ruptured gall bladder, the book progressed fairly smoothly, other than a very pushy mother of the hero. I promised her a book of her own if she’d just please retire to the other room and me let get on with it. She did as I asked, and I fully expected the next book from me to be her story. She was Windsong.

A funny thing happened however. The day after I finished Secret Shores was the chapter meeting of our local RWA Chapter. . . .   In case you’re thinking, “gee, this sounds familiar,” you’re right. I wrote about this on March 23, 2011. Four years ago, already. It’s here, in case you missed it the first time around.

https://bookmechanic.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/unveiling-ardenwycke/

Well, last year my most recent publisher Ellora’s Cave decided to phase out their non-erotica lines, and all of my books fell into that gap. So I now have the rights back to all of them, and will definitely be re-issuing at least Ardenwycke Unveiled and Bertie’s Golden Treasure during the next month or so. And therein lies the foundation of this particular post.

Having been going through the manuscript, checking for formatting and other glitches, I’ve been reading it as I go along, and I keep saying, “WHERE on earth did this come from?” Darned if I know. I can’t believe some of what’s in here. It absolutely belongs, and I think it makes the story much stronger, but how did I know some of this stuff? I mean, I’ve led a fairly sheltered life, and to the best of my knowledge have only encountered a ghost two times. And that ghost was nothing like the ghost in Ardenwycke!

Well, to be very honest, I haven’t a clue. But I still really like this book a lot. I think it is my favorite of all my books. At least so far.  It’ll be ready to go sometime in early August I hope. I’ll keep you posted! By the way,  I’m changing the title back to my original one – That Room at Ardenwycke. I think it makes more sense, although it is longer, but that’s okay, too.

Questions or comments? Please write to me at bookmechanicATgmail.com

Almost everything I ever needed to know I learned from a romance novel!

24 Jun

This makes perfect sense to me, if you consider that I never went to kindergarten! I started right into first grade at the age of five, and began learning right from the start!

But I was well along into my adulthood when romance novels became the big thing – in our world and in publishing. It’s amazing how such a female-driven force can be so poo-poohed by the male half of the population, which is slightly less than the female half. If they only knew – they, too, could learn a lot from these books.

The first thing they’d learn is that a GOOD writer can create worlds that are so believable you can practically reach out and touch them. No, I’m not saying that only women can do this. You’ll notice I used the word ‘writer’. I’m not prejudiced, except toward incompetence in either sex. There was a fabulous writer of romance novels in the 90s or so published under the pen-name of Leigh Greenwood, an androgynous name which served the author well. I said of his books, ‘if you didn’t know it was written by a man, nothing in the story would indicate that it was.’

In the second place, these novels are not just about love or romance, although they may have started life that way, these days, they mirror life in other respects, especially reality. They don’t tolerate brutality or sexism or racism, all the while extolling the virtues of honesty, faithfulness, integrity and civility. Can’t complain about that very much, can you?

I don’t much care for the word ‘bad’, so in this context, as in most things, I’ll just say there are good examples and not-so-good examples of writing, story-telling, editing and proof-reading – all readily apparent in the publishing world today. When all of these stars align in the heavens – the result is pure magic! (And you stay up way too late reading, because you simply cannot put the book down!) There are more categories of romance than you would imagine, unless you’re the category person for any of the many contests available to aspiring writers. Used to be there was contemporary and historical. But, of course, there are multiple sub-genres for each of those.

I learned that every place there is — on earth, is wonderful – to someone. If a well-done story can make you think that the place you previously considered to be the armpit of the world isn’t really that, but instead is paradise on earth, then who am I to argue? I think that every state in the US, and many other places must have at least one really strong adherent for that locale, and they write so winningly about it, you want to hop in the car and go see for yourself.

True, romance novels do tend to illuminate the lives of women – and how when they’re handed lemons, these sometimes down-trodden women figure out how to make terrific lemonade, or some other fabulous concoction. They’ve shed light on nearly every possible career choice, and probably created more than a few new ones (previously unknown) to help the heroine support herself and possibly her children as well, if that’s what it takes.

Sometimes, the stories deal in a considerate, yet explicit manner about health issues – for either sex of any age. My big epiphany came in early June, when I read ‘All You Need Is Love’ by Marie Force. This isn’t the first of her books that I’d read, but it’s one I’ll never forget. As the heroine Cameron wanders through these pages, accompanied by her internal monologues about life, career and men, more than once I thought ‘how did this author get so far into my head?’ I was dumbstruck as each one could absolutely have been an episode from my life. And then, Ms. Force put the hammer down, as Cam confessed to her new guy that she had ADD, and explained how she realized this and what she did about it.

Holy cow! I mean, seriously. When I was of school age, no one had ever heard of this condition. To be sure, my grandmother who had charge of me from age 9 to 13 used to continually tell me I had no ‘stick-to-it-ive-ness’ because I would flit from this to that to the other, enjoying myself immensely, and almost always excelling in the process. I thought it was natural at that time, because I’d always been that way, having no siblings, and being cheerfully encouraged by my Dad.

Of course, I drove everyone around me nuts by this, and still do, I’m (maybe) sorry to say, but for the most part I’ve had a very interesting life. Not always happy, but then whose entire life ever is?  I learned to overcome these momentary bumps, and keep going. But this was something else entirely. Immediately I turned to the web to see what it was really all about. This is what I discovered. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A chronic condition including attention difficulty, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.

I think I must be the poster child for this condition. It’s so me, it’s not funny. But it makes such sense, and answers so many questions I’ve had in my life, it’s unreal. ​ That old saying ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ might have been written about me.​ I never knew that this was not the ordinary way of life!

Now that I’ve had a couple of weeks or so to think about this and the ramifications of it all – you’ll never believe my first reaction. It is R E L I E F. It’s one thing to be something, but it’s an entirely different thing to know it, and then to know why. I find myself much more relaxed and calm. Even when the phone and the internet went kerflooey for the better part of a week, I managed to keep my cool! I’ve also been able to lower the ‘hyper’ part of my life, and it’s so much nicer to be able to actually stop and smell the roses! I don’t feel like I have to be doing something amazing every minute of the day! And, I’m sleeping much better – fewer interruptions for lines from a poem, or a musical phrase or the idea for a new book waking me up at 3 am.  There’s more than enough hours in the daytime for them, and that suits me just fine!

I’m not going to pursue any medications for this – not at my age! But, I do try to keep this knowledge firmly in the front of my head, and pay attention to what it’s telling me. I’m also trying to lessen my impulsiveness and compulsiveness – both of which will happily conspire to drive you nutso if you let them.

I am beyond grateful to Marie Force for having written this book, and what better title for a book to change your life – All You Need is Love. Indeed. We all need love. It’s just that some of us need more of it than others do! As I used to tell my daughter – “When you most need to be loved is when you’re the most unlovable.”  Remember that, please.

Questions or comments? Please write to me at bookmechanicATgmail.com

What’s In a Name?

9 Jun

When you plunk yourself in the chair in front of your computer, and begin to write your story, do your characters emerge full-grown, complete with names and full IDs, or do they hide behind walls and refuse to show themselves to you without a formal introduction?

Generally, my characters tell me who they are before I start writing, but the minor players are sometimes bashful, and I have to go seeking their identity. Names come from various sources, and places, so it’s needful to pay attention. Sometimes more than others.

For contemporary stories, however, you can sort of let your imagination take wing. Or use any of the very helpful guides available to help new parents choose a great name for the addition to the family.

Androgynous names can be helpful, too, as I can easily attest – Kelly being one such. In one workplace thirty years ago, which never had more than a dozen workers at any one time, there were two named Kelly and two named Kim. The odd part was that one of each pair was male and the other obviously, female. None of the four of us had ever before encountered another person with the same first name, so if either name was called out, we all turned to see which one of us was being called for. It was SO weird! But fun  in a way, to suddenly become part of a world with seemingly too many persons named Tom and/or Jane.

It’s mostly men who are tagged with a number after their name, as in II, III, or IV. I think the only one that goes higher than that are European Monarchs of past years, who had great fondness for certain names: George comes to mind, as does Charles or Henry. In this day and age, however, I suspect that number is more of a burden than anything else, although it does demonstrate a family’s longevity.

Some names imply character traits that may or may not exist in your character. If you are determined to go against type, you would do well to provide a sentence or two explanation. For instance, an acquaintance of mine was named for a dear friend of her mother. However, the two women who shared that name never met. The younger one (let’s call her Blanche, to avoid getting tangled up in all the pronouns) hated her name, and couldn’t wait until she was old enough to change it legally. Which she did, and has been happily re-named since that time. A funny side issue: Blanche’s Mom accepted the new name with no trouble, and always referred to her daughter by the child’s chosen new name. Blanche’s mother-in-law, who herself had a nick-name totally unaffiliated with her own name, flatly refused to accept the change. This didn’t exactly make for happy family gatherings, always providing additional tension to a situation already filled with more tension than needed.

If you expect your character to have a happy old age, give a bit of thought to how well that name might age along with the person.

Movie studios in the 1930s were notorious for re-naming their up-and-coming stars. Think Roy Rogers, John Wayne and Gene Autry. Chances are they’d not achieved their manly star status under their birth names: Leonard Franklin Slye, Marion Mitchell Morrison and Orvon Grover Autry, respectively.

And then there were Judy Garland, Rita Hayworth Joan Crawford and Marilyn Monroe. Hmm. Maybe there is something to this naming thing. These ladies were christened (in order): Frances Ethel Gumm, Margarita Carmen Cansino, Lucille Fay LeSueur and Norma Jeane Mortenson.

And of course, there was that wonderful song made famous by Johnny Cash:  A Boy Named Sue. It won Grammy Awards for Best Country Song as well as Best Male Country Vocal Performance. An interesting side note: in 1969, when it was recorded, the word ‘damn’ was edited out of the last line before the recording session. Imagine that!

If you’re writing a historical novel, you’ll find wonderfully unfamiliar and currently unknown names for your characters by delving into novels written during the time in question. Maybe there’s a ‘family’ name that’s always used for the first child, but maybe also, it could be used as a middle name rather than the first name. Tradition was much stronger and more important to the family in centuries past; much more so than it usually is in these unbuttoned times.

And, if you pay attention (a wee bit of research will help with this one) you can be fairly safe in naming female characters after flowers — the research is to be sure the flower actually was available in your country and year of choice. Males can almost always be named after a monarch.

A creative writer can usually think of some justification for nearly anything to be included in her/his book, but inventing names does require a bit of extra thought. On the other hand, it seems that real families of today – at least in Ohio – are delving into the past for baby names, which you can see by this article in our daily paper from last month. http://www.cleveland.com/parents/index.ssf/2015/05/top_ohio_baby_names_for_2014.html

So — Happy Name Day! — everyone!

As always, questions and comments may be directed to: bookmechanicATgmail.com

Conversations . . .

27 May

Hello – with your permission, I’m going to deviate slightly from my usual blog theme for this week – all about writing/publishing  books, etc. I say slightly because it’s still about writing, but it’s my own writing that I’d like to get ‘out there’ – somewhere in cyber-space.

Our country has been under a siege of words during the last year or so, and most of them are connected to race in some fashion. A popular theme is ‘we need to have a conversation about race.’ Yes, that is important, but I believe it overlooks a much more basic need. There is entirely too much prejudice in our world. Everyone wants to be able to look down on someone, which is ridiculous. We’re all human beings, with a wide variety of differences among us. Each difference seems to allow someone else to say nasty things which are then picked up and magnified — beyond all sensibility.

Sometimes, however, I write humorous pieces, too. And there’s more than one review from the past 12 years that I think deserves a wider audience. You will be able to find these pieces in a new tab in the upper right corner on the opening page of this blog. That tab is called  Odds-n-ends. Or you can click on this link, if you wish.

https://bookmechanic.wordpress.com/odds-n-ends/

There is no set timing for these to appear, just whenever I happen to think of it, and I will not send out announcements as I do for the regular every-two-weeks new items at BookMechanic.  Thank you all for your continued watchfulness, and please do come back in two weeks for the next ‘Write-a-Book’ segment about naming your characters.  So now, without further ado, I give you your laughs for the day! Enjoy – and thanks to Dr. Bob for having sent them on to me.

Puns for Educated Minds

  1. The fattest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
  1. I thought I saw an eye-doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
  1. She was only a whiskey-maker, but he loved her still.
  1. A rubber-band pistol was confiscated from an algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.
  1. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.
  1. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
  1. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
  1. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
  1. A hole has been found in the nudist-camp wall. The police are looking into it.
  1. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
  1. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
  1. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: ‘You stay here; I’ll go on a head.’
  1. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
  1. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: ‘Keep off the Grass.’
  1. The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
  1. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
  1. A backward poet writes inverse.
  1. In a democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism it’s your count that votes.
  1. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
  1. If you jumped off the bridge in Paris, you’d be in Seine.
  1. A vulture carrying two dead raccoons boards an airplane. The stewardess looks at him and says, ‘I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.’
  1. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says, ‘Dam!’
  1. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.
  1. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, ‘I’ve lost my electron.’ The other says, ‘Are you sure?’ The first replies, ‘Yes, I’m positive.’
  1. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root-canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.
  1. A geologist exploring an earthquake fell to his death through no fault of his own.
  1. There was a person who sent ten puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in-ten-did…

As always, comments and/or questions are welcome: bookmechanicATgmail.com

Anyone can write a book —

12 May

This is a simple declarative sentence written in the English language. As such, it states a fact that is basically not necessarily true. Sad, but true.

It should perhaps be amended to:  Anyone can write a book, but only (maybe) 10% of them will be readable by anyone other than the author.

‘Ay, there’s the rub,’ said a very famous author, known mostly by only one name, which begins with the letter S. Although, to be sure, there is a lot of debate about said author. Did he or did he not, really write all the words that are so glibly attributed to him? I don’t know, and that’s not the main topic of this blog post, anyway.

Since 1991, when I sold my first book, the status of being a ‘published author’ immediately put me in the exalted position of being (supposedly) more knowledgeable about writing than a good many other folks out there. It’s true, I do have good English language skills, but that and $5. will (I think) buy me a cup of coffee at most coffee shops. Mostly, I was in the right place at the right time, able to read (and understand) the instructions for a particular series of books wanted by a New York editor. AND I was willing to put in the time and effort to not just follow those instructions, but also to do a lot of research in order to compose a believable story that LIVED in the time and place it was set.

It was not just a costume drama that could have happened in any other time or place. It was very firmly grounded by the customs of the time and place, as well as the society in which it happened. It was so firmly grounded, in fact, that it spawned another story – the prequel to this one – and started me on two others, which unfortunately were not completed, due to circumstances beyond my control at that time.

As a published author, I was also asked to judge writing contests – sometimes half a dozen or more in a year’s time. I really enjoyed this task, and have been well-pleased to shine a spotlight on several then-unpublished authors who’ve gone on to populate ‘best-seller’ lists of all kinds. I think I was indeed prescient enough to recognize talent plus that certain ‘something’ that lifted the story out of the mundane. BUT – the biggest thing the author had going for him or her was – not just talent, but a desire to work at their craft to become even better.

Writing a book that is readable is NOT easy. Trust me on this. If the author declares a particular book to be set in 1870, would a character from that year really say “Oh, wow!’  I somehow don’t think so.  That’s also presuming, of course, that said character was able to speak in complete sentences. And all too many of them cannot.

I used to think that if I started to read a book, I was compelled to finish it, even if it was the worst piece of clap-trap I’d ever encountered! Like Pollyanna, I always hoped for the best – surely, a published book couldn’t be this bad all the way through. Could it? Well, yes, entirely too many of them are. And that’s even more true these days, with self-publishing so easy and available for most writers to be able to see themselves in print. It was marvelously freeing to me to realize that I did not have to finish reading every book I started.

But please – for goodness’ sake! If you choose a year in which your story takes place, be sure the events you describe really could have taken place in that year. For instance, the first automobiles were invented a couple of decades before 1900, but how many ordinary folks would even have known about it, or have been able to actually ride in one? Unless, of course, your character was Karl Benz or either of the Duryea brothers — Charles or Frank.  Radio was not even thought about at that time, although the telephone had been invented by then, but again – how many people actually had one at their command? Big cities had newspapers, but many small towns didn’t.  Communication from one part of the world to another was very slow.  Not instant like today.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t write a book – I’m only asking you to please pay attention to the details: the who, what, where, when and how. And maybe, add in why? Such attributes are not restricted only to non-fiction. They’ll serve your work of fiction very well, too.

And one more request, please.  If you cannot read well enough to pay attention to what you write – to be able to catch missing or mis-spelled words, for instance — please, PLEASE, find a friend who can and will do this for you. You won’t regret it. Really. Trust me on that, please?

As always, if you have comments or questions, please send them to me: bookmechanicATgmail.com   Many thanks!

Where are we, anyway? #5 -Location, location, location!!

29 Apr

Location is the third of the three major ingredients when you’re writing a work of fiction. Usually, it isn’t quite as important as plot and characters, but there are times when it is the most important. Think “Life of Pi” or “The Old Man and the Sea”. Or “Grapes of Wrath” for that matter. And what about “The High and the Mighty”? Any of those stories would lose their oomph if located somewhere other than the location depicted by the author.

Many stories are so universal in nature that they could take place almost anywhere or in any time frame, without raising any eyebrows. Others are so specific, they cannot be set other than where the characters and the plot demand. A few sentences of descriptive narrative here and there, using local buildings or street names or events, will go a long way to establish your credibility.

So, how does the author contrive a realistic setting in another century or location that may be too far in the past – or the future – to be visited. Of course – the web! Where else? One can find almost anything one needs or wants to know (along with a lot you might have happily lived forever without having it thrust in front of your face) so it’s essential to be able to discern the wheat from the chaff.

My personal preference for really in-detail knowledge is my local library. Geography books are invaluable for finding a good locale for your story, as are the larger, photo-laden coffee-table sized books of photos. What wonders you can find in these books! Or you could look for a biography of someone who lived in that area, which should bring some fine-tuning to your search.

Illustrated guide-books are another great source of information. Most of them include lots of glossy photos (the better to lure you in, my dears) and other dandy little snippets of information, mixed in with the historical bits. With a little bit of digging at the library you might also find journals or diaries written by people who actually lived in the years or places of most interest to you. It can also be enlightening to discover just how very mobile some of those people were before the days of mass transportation.

It’s really important to know the location during the era in which your book is set. For instance, my very favorite anachronism is Mackinac Island, Michigan. It’s a small island – only 8 miles around the perimeter – but there are NO cars allowed. (There are emergency services available which use engine-driven vehicles – it seems to me there were three of them the last time I investigated: EMT, an  ambulance and a firetruck. There are also earth-movers at the landfill, but that’s off-limits to civilians.) Otherwise, everything (people as well as freight) moves by foot, horse, or bicycle, although I do think perhaps golf carts are allowed on the two golf courses.) The local bank sports the only horse-driven access ATM in the world! I’m not making this up, either.

Suppose you wanted to set your book in the Antarctic. (Frankly, I can’t imagine why, but you know best.) I suspect it would be difficult to visit there, but it’s frequently in the news, so there are probably multiple sources you could use for search and discovery.

Of course, if you’re creating your very own ‘alternate universe’ maybe you don’t really need to know about such things. However, if you make it all up to begin with, just please be sure you don’t constantly change the important factors such as magnetic pull or weather to suit your story, without having already established such changeability as normal.

In addition to being accurate about the details of your location, you must also be accurate as to the social morés of the era you are depicting. There are lots of ways an unsuspecting author can insert foot into mouth. Try not to let it be you!

Questions?  Comments?  Write to me – bookmechanicATgmail.com

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