Episode 75: The Wolf and the Ravens: Historical Fiction Critique

Episode Description:

In this episode, Leslie and Clark critique the opening pages of D.J. Umber's The Wolf and the Ravens, an as yet unpublished historical fiction novel. They discuss explaining character motivations, trusting your readers, and making the setting clear.


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Show Notes

This is the hard part, knowing what’s too much and what’s not enough. In a first draft, I err on the side of caution and explain things. (In a show way, not a tell way) Sometimes you don’t know where the best spot for those clarifications are, so I put them in where they feel right and edit out later. If you have a good crit partner or group, they can provide valuable insight into where you need more or less info. If you’re on your own, then let your manuscript sit for a month or two before you revise. Then read through it in one or two sittings.


You can also look for areas in which you do spell it out. Common trouble spots here are in the emotional or motivational areas. Writers often do a great job of showing why, then doubt themselves and add in a told “this is why” statement at the end.
— Janice Hardy

Editorial Mission—Check your why

Take a pivotal scene or one that seems complex or confusing and check that you haven’t explained too much, particularly about why characters do what they do. See if you can show what has been told through exposition or thoughts. Trust that your reader to be able to work it out.

Other items and resources

Listen to Clark and Peter discuss three pitfalls to avoid in worldbuilding.

In this post, Leslie writes about getting your worldbuilding just right.


Inline Critique