Charles Web Journal

My blog is intended to show how I construct and write a historical novel. It will be a journal of my daily writing activity, as I write a new historical novel.

Location: Evansburg, Alberta, Canada

I am a retired school teacher with a B. Ed in English literature a B.A. in History. After a long career as a teacher of English and history, I now write historical novels based on Canadian history.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Back to my novel

I haven't been able to work on my novel for several days now--visitors, the weekend, other commitments, and editing and rewriting for submission.

I do hope to get back at it tomorrow. When I get away from writing for several days, I feel as if something is missing from my life, especially when I'm working on a novel. The characters haunt me and want expression. Do any of you writers ever feel that way?

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The second scene

My young protagonist, Daniel Martin, a fifteen-year-old French Canadian lad whose parents have just died of smallpox get into his first trouble for forgetting to advise the North West Mounted Police post commander that his parents were ill although the officer is sympathetic to the boy in his grief.
To complicate his life, the force has destroyed everything that belong to his parents in order to stop the spread of the disease; this leaves Daniel destitute without any means of support. He is offered a job as a dispatch rider by the inspector, but the rank of the force are against this because they fear the contagion of the disease.
That's the point in the story that I'm at now. One Daniel's major antagonists is a constable, Constable Edward Shepherd, a bigot who hates the French and Catholics.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A new beginning

Yesterday, I wrote the first paragraph of my new novel, but I wasn't satisfied with it. Somehow it just didn't ring true, so I started again.

Today, I wrote a new first paragraph and continued from that point. Yes, I even wrote my first one thousand words, my usual quota.

The first paragraph that I wrote was too much tell and not enough show. I think this beginning is much better as it does a better job of introducing the protagonist and hints at his major goal and the conflicts or barriers that he will have to overcome.

I think I can safely say that my novel is on its way.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Charles Goulet, Writer Posted by Hello

The first paragraph

Today I wrote the opening paragraph of my novel. This paragraph is critical because it serves to introduce my protagonist, the setting, and a crucial event of the story.

Writing that first paragraph involves a great deal of thought and several possible beginnings before I'm satisfied that it is the best I can do.

Originally, I planned on fifteen chapters, but I soon realized that the first chapter was merely background material so my novel now begins with the second chapter. The material of the first chapter will be introduce little by little in the following chapters.

Of course, as I go along, I will continue to research the historical details that I need, as well as the development of the various characters.

Nevertheless, the first paragraph is written, so the novel is on its way.

Tomorrow I will write the first thousand words of the novel; that is what I set as my daily goal. Sometimes it's easy; other times it's difficult. At this point, I seldom edit or rewrite, but I do grammar check and spell check each day's work.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Clean up day

Sunday is the day I clean up my computer and office. I do a general back up of my files and other maintenance.

That's in the morning; the afternoon is for recreation, visiting, receiving visitors and general socializing.

Today is no exception and since the weather is balmy, I'll probably go X country skiing on the lake which is only about twenty-five feet or ten meters from my deck.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Fun Day

On Saturday and Sunday I don't work on my writing; they are fun days, days to relax and forget about any writing project. Well, not really, those are the days I surf the Internet, looking at other writers websites, blogs, etc.--almost anything that catches my fancy.

Today I surfed Ami Mckay interesting site. She is a first time novelist whose book The Birth House will be published in 2006. Although it is her first novel, she had written many other pieces. I recommend her site highly.

I suppose I should tout my own site and the writing group that I belong to.

My site is:
The writing group is:

I hope you enjoy them and feel free to comment on either.

Friday, January 21, 2005

I'm new at this

Hi, my name is Charles Goulet and I'm a writer. I write historical novels based on French Canadian history.

I have published three young adult/juvenile historical biographical novels: The Isle of Demons, The Godmother, and Little Snowbird.

As well, I've also published The Divorce a contemporary teen age novel. It's the story of the friendship of two boys who affected by the divorce of one of the boy's parents.

Presently, I'm working on a new novel based on the history of the Province of Alberta, Canada. It's the story of young Daniel Martin who comes to the are in 1874 with the North West Mounted Police. It follows his career from that time until Alberta becomes a province in 1905.

When creating a novel, I follow a very organized system which starts the first day by deciding on the theme of my novel which I reduce to a single sentence.

The second day, I make a list of the characters that will people the novel. I divide this list into Major and Minor characters and to fictious and historical characters.

The third day, I list locations and setting of the story. These, of course, may change as I write., but it is a starting point, and often requires research.

The fourth day I define my characters goals, the goals of the protagonists and the antagonists. These may conflict with my main characters ambitions, and well they must because this creates the obstacles that the hero or heroin must overcome.

The fifth day is spent determining the obstacles to the goals that I developed the day before. They must be realistic but difficult.

The sixth day I plan the conclusion that I expect. Often this will change as the characters and the events may determine how the novel will end.

On the seventh day, I write a length outline of the story which serves as a guide to my writing.
I let the words flow with little thought to grammar, spelling, syntax, etc.

On the eighth day, using my outline, I make chapter headings covering the major events that occur in the story. Here I write a one or two sentence summary of each chapter.

Today was the ninth day and I set up a system of files, six in all: 1. Characters 2. Locations 3. Chapters (one for each heading) 4. Mannerisms 5. Speech patterns 6. General Observations

In the Characters file I will place a character sketch of each character in the book. I will try to make this as complete as possible.

The locations file will have all the details of each location or setting of each scene I plan.

Each chapter will have an outline of it stating the intent, the obstacles, the reversals that take place, and finally the conclusion.

Mannerism will be the unique way in which each character is differentiated just as every individualt has his or her own style.

Speech patterns is related to Mannerisms; just as every character has uniqu ways of acting, so they have unique ways of speaking--pet words, phrases, etc.

The final file, General Observations, is collection of ideas, thoughts, opinions, etc. that might have a bearing on the story.

Now that my files are set up, I will fill them with a collection of ideas and writing to help flesh out the characters, setting, plot, etc.

In this blog, I will try to show how the novel develops--good or bad.

Feel free to make any comments, suggestions, criticisms, etc. that that you want to make.