Unlike many writer’s organizations, the Historical Novel Society is for readers too. If you haven’t joined, but you love historical fiction, please consider it. Writers love to meet the people who actually read their work.
And if you’re a writer, well, one of the things I learned quickly in this book business is that it’s not as solitary as you might think. Sure, you need to spend time in your writing cave putting words on the page, but you need a community that understands both the business of selling books as well as the craft of writing them in your specific genre.
To that end, I find that joining a generic writing group isn’t good enough. Authors in other genres may be your colleagues but they’re not necessarily your peers. That’s why, if you’re serious about being a historical fiction novelist, I highly suggest joining the Historical Novel Society. And if you’re lucky enough to be near a local chapter, go to the meetings. Do not miss them. Treat them as if they were an appointment with an editor. They’re that important in the long run, I promise!
And if you happen to live in the Chesapeake Bay area, clear your calendar this weekend and respond to Kate Quinn’s invitation for our quarterly meeting:
The HNS Chesapeake Bay Chapter quarterly meeting will be hosted this Saturday, July 14 at 1pm by Kate Quinn at her home in Crofton, MD. If you are planning to attend, please message Kate your email address so she can send you her home address. We’ll have some fantastic works-in-progress readings, as well as a discussion and critique session. Please feel free to bring a sample of your current work-in-progress if you would like to read.Our discussion topic is yet to be decided. If no ideas are forthcoming (and suggestions here are welcome!) then our discussion and critique will revolve around how to write a successful query letter for historical fiction. Please feel free to bring a sample of either a query letter you would like to present for discussion, or a successful query letter that landed your agent/publisher.So far the following are confirmed as attending: Kate Quinn, Sophie Perinot, Stephanie Dray, Terry Low Martini, Gigi Amateau, Eliza Knight, Adelaida Lucena-Lower, and Hilary Raymond Hyland. Ample snacks will be provided but if you really want to bring something, feel free to contribute a beverage of any kind: soda or wine or whatever you think we might enjoy.I look forward to seeing you all there!
I completely agree. I had a critique group where no one had read historical fiction, and they kept wanting me to add explanations and chapters to thoroughly describe everything, then complained about it being too long and wordy. I’m not saying they’re stupid and need stuff spelled out by any means – their advice on the writing craft was very helpful – but people who don’t like history and don’t know much about it struggle with the genre. They weren’t going to like it no matter how great my book was. Other hist-fic writers would have been more helpful.
I’ve certainly run into that as well. Each genre has its conventions and they’re important to observe or at least be aware of.
Stephanie, I totally agree – that’s why we’ve set up HNS Sydney ‘down under’ 🙂
Oh, Elisabeth, that’s a great idea.
Stephanie, thanks so much for this advice. I’ve been meaning to join the society but for some reason it keeps slipping my mind. It will probably be about a year before I finish my novel draft and need a critique group, but it would be SUCH a help to have hist-fic writers critique my group. And their magazine looks really good!
The meeting went swimmingly, too!
I’m pretty lucky. I’m in a critique group and 3 of us write historical fiction. I wished I lived some place that had a local chapter, but I will be New York for 2 weeks in May so I really hope the New York chapter has a meeting one of those days.