Kathleen Nance


This & That

A little bit of this, a little bit of that. You'll find a potpourri of facts, tips, research, the story behind the story and so much more! Please check back often to see what's new and going on behind the scenes!



  • 1. Cultivate unreliability. If you never show up, the others will take you off the list. Or they'll move the meeting without telling you. Come just enough that they have to keep bringing extra copies for you. Never call if you're going to miss. When you do come, show up late and ignore the agreed upon guidelines. Yes, the group agreed to no more than 50 pages, but you write so fast you have to bring 300 each time.

  • 2. Forget material. Forget to bring back critiqued material. After all your comments are so insightful, your partners won't care if the input is several months old. Also, forget to bring your own work. You'd rather mail it so it gets there a day before the next meeting. Even better, don't write at all. Just critique every one else's work.

  • 3. Expect your partners to make your work theirs. Let them see the rough draft and come up with all the necessary ideas about character development and plot for you. The story's a group effort, isn't it?

  • 4. Expect your partners to perfect your work. Editing is such a pain. You can't be expected to think about things like spelling and grammar and point of view. You're a writer!

  • 5. Don't bother to read your own work critically. That's what a critique group is for-to point out all the problems-and you take the suggestions as gospel. How can your own instincts be correct?

  • 6. Make them read the same material several times. Surely they can bring a fresh insight to the tenth version of the work. This is especially effective if you never make any changes based on their suggestions. Eventually they'll come around to your way of seeing it.

  • 7. Ignore what your partners requested. Provide only line editing, when your partner wanted insight on motivation and plot. When the material is about to be sent to an editor or agent and your partner wanted you to catch spelling errors and passive voice, begin your critique with the suggestion, "I think you need to change your reclusive vampire hero into a televangelist."

  • 8.Be superficial. Run through their material quickly and without too much thought.

  • 9. Be harsh. Writers need to develop a thick skin. Tell your partners every cliche, every purple phrase, every poorly motivated scene. (In your opinion - and that's the only one that counts). Use words like "drivel," "I wouldn't pay a nickel for this trash," and "what were you thinking when you wrote this."

  • 10. Don't be specific. "It's not working," should suffice.

  • 11. Tell only the bad stuff. So what if they crafted a scene that had you laughing out loud, wrote a phrase you loved, had a character so true to life you thought he was in your living room? Your partner knows that stuff. No one appreciates enthusiasm over their work.

  • 12. Be inflexible. Everyone makes a commitment to a time and a place and a format. Never agree to changes for any reason.



The border:
Today--The border between Canada and the United States is 6379 kilometers (3,964 miles) and has been called the world's longest unguarded national border.
2176 - Global warming has diminished that border with flooding in the the Maritime Provinces, British Columbia, Nunavet, and the Western Territory. What remains of the border is closed by surveillance, troops, and cold plasma barriers.

Today - over 30 million, with the majority living within 200 kilometers of the Canadian - U.S. border.
2176 - under 15 million. The majority still live within the south, but have spread out more.

Today: Bilingual with two official languages- English and French.
2176: Still bilingual, plus the various Native Indian and Inuit dialects have developed a Native Common to communicate between the First Nations populations (or Affiliated Indian Nations, AIN, as they are called)

Royal Canadian Mounted Police or Mounties:
Today Canada's national police force is involved with such diverse law enforcement duties as counterintelligence and thwarting international smuggling, terrorism, and narcotics trade. The traditional red uniform is used more for ceremonial purposes.
2176: The highly regarded and respected national police force, with a focus on maintaining national order and enforcing border laws. The scarlet uniforms have disappeared, but the stiff-brimmed hats remain as a symbol of their authority. Their biggest rival is Health Canada.

Day of Fire, however, still has hockey as a national obsession, the majesty of the Canadian Rockies, snow, Saskatchewan's grain elevators, and Mac the Moose. Some things never change, eh?

Writing Tips

I often write to music, with headphones on to blot out the rest of the world. Sound tracks are a frequent choice, since they are without words and are designed to evoke moods. Last of the Mohicans, The Rock, and Dracula are all fuel for creativity. My characters listen to music as well, often the same piece I'm listening to at the time I write it.

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