Gillian Polack

Author's posts

The Swan Book

I’m trying to work out if a book hasn’t been talked about (one that really ought to be talked about, for I strongly suspect it changes the way we read post apocalyptic SF) or if I’ve simply missed the conversation. I’ve seen discussions and reviews in Australia but if there have been serious ones outside, …

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Food and the seventeenth century novel

I’m very tempted to cook as part of my research for the seventeenth century novel. It’s going to take me at least six months (possibly a year) to finish the book side of the research. If life intervenes, it may take longer, for I have 1000 books on my to-read list for this one (800+ …

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Storms and stories

I’ve progressed to a migraine that allows me to read, so I’m catching up on essential reading before the next storm hits. This gives me an excuse to reflect on the sheer number of novels I’ve read this month which have narration (some in first person some in third) by two different characters, alternating, and …

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Tracing progress and telling stories: keeping readers informed

Just over a decade ago I had an intense discussion with the editor of my first novel. We were talking about The Art of Effective Dreaming, which was going to be my second novel before Rita and Ike and Katrina effected the first block of gross interference. The editor’s name was Tamara and she told …

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Some things to keep in mind when you’re writing historical fantasy

Originally posted on LJ on 22/10/2007 (mildly edited) 1. Don’t use a cuisine that comes from another continent a thousand years into the future. Don’t use tools that come from another continent a thousand years into the future. Don’t use farming or building techniques that come from another continent a thousand years into the future. …

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On writers and their worldbuilding

This post first appeared on  my LJ blog on 21/7/2008 Worldbuilding for a novel is a funny business. Some worldbuilding is to make sure the plot works. Some of it is to make sure that the characters come from the place they are supposed to come from and go to the place they are supposed …

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Quick explanation of my blogs

Much of the content here is echoed on my LiveJournal blog. There are, however, some significant differences. My personal blogposts will appear on LJ, and this site will be just a fraction more professional. LJ is about community: this site is more about Gillian-the-writer. I’m also putting up some of my more interesting historical blog …

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Asking Historians About Food

This post first appeared on my Food History blog on 14/9/2007 I get asked about historical background for fiction by quite a few writers. I hear “I want a Renaissance/Medieval/Victorian dinner – tell me what to do” from an increasing number of people. It’s about time I explained certain basics. Sensible people take these basics …

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