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, June 27, 2005

Back to my story

Today, I returned to work on my WIP.

Daniel and his family join many others to watch the first train enter Edmonton on the newly constructed Low Level Bridge that now spans the North Saskatchewan River.

It’s October 6, 1902 and many ideas, desires, and anticipation are in the air now that there is railroad access into the bustling town of Edmonton.

A great deal of talk concerns the desire of most people to see the region become a province with more political control over its laws, resources, and destiny.

Daniel, like many others, is in favor of this happening, but like many, he does not agree with some of the view of others, as others do not agree with his stance. Among them, of course, is his customary opponent, Edward Shepherd, who, on this festive occasion, annoys Richard with his derision and scorn.

It took a while to get back into the story, but I think I’m there now.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Still working

No work on my WIP today. I’m still reviewing and revising my manuscript that was accepted by Saga Books. I hope to finish by the weekend, and then get back to my novel based on Alberta history.

I didn’t think it would take this long to go over the already edited manuscript, but editing, reviewing, and revising always take longer than one estimates. One has to be extra careful because it’s so easy to miss little mistakes—typos, missed punctuation marks, extra words—thing like that.

I’ve done it before, so I should know better.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


I’m still working on the corrections and revisions suggested by the editor of my historical novel that has been accepted for publication.

Although the publisher’s editor has edited it, I’m still finding small mistakes of words like ‘has’ for ‘had’ and also missing punctuation marks.

I hope to be finished within the week, but it is slow, tedious work, as I’m reading each line carefully, and yet I know I’ll miss some of the mistakes.

Fortunately, no major revisions were requested.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Editing new book

I’ll not likely be doing much writing on my WIP this week, as I have to go over the edits on my latest historical novel that has been accepted by Saga Books of Calgary, Alberta.

Although I don’t have extensive revisions and corrections to make, I still must go over the entire manuscript to find any errors—spelling, grammar, syntax, etc., and that is time consuming.

This is the second of two books that will be published this year. I just completed reviewing the proofs of the first one, and now I’m working on this one which the first of a series that chronicles the life and history of a French couple who come to Acadia, New France in 1670.

I hope to finish by the end of the week, so I can get back at the novel that I’m working on.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


After a shaky start to chapter thirteen, today was a pleasant surprise. A prominent politician of the Edmonton and territory asks Daniel to become politically involved. Frank Oliver is the owner and editor of the first newspaper, The Edmonton Bulletin.

Frank is the Member of Parliament representative for the Athabaska Territory in which Edmonton is situated.

A federal election is looming, and Frank asks Daniel to drum up support for him in the new French-Canadian communities around Edmonton. Although Daniel has never been involved in politics, he agrees because he believes that Frank Oliver has the best interest of Edmonton and the surrounding region at heart.

This first scene of the chapter went well.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Research today

Today I started Chapter Thirteen, but soon realized that I needed to do a great deal of research into the politics of the region at that time—not only the politics but also the historical character that required inclusion.

So I spent the day researching the development of the cities and towns as well as the desire of the many of the people for a greater say in the manner in which they were governed.

Since my protagonist, Daniel Martin, was becoming central to what was happening, it was imperative that I understand the policies of the local, the regional, and the national governments of the times that was have a great effect on the people who were arriving daily to take up homesteads, to provide services, and to make a new life for themselves.

I did not achieve my intended quota of approximately 1000 words, which I ordinarily accomplish.

Maybe tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


I finished Chapter Twelve today. Daniel becomes a businessman in the bustling town of Edmonton as it is at the end of steel; the Calgary to Edmonton line ends on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River across from Edmonton where the Hudson’s Bay Company has a fort and now a store as the country changes from fur trading to agriculture with the influx of settlers as the land is surveyed and homesteads become more and more available.

Daniel inadvertently becomes an outfitter providing transportation, equipment, and other necessities first to men heading for the goldfields of the Yukon and Alaska, and then to the homesteaders who are going north to the Peace River country.

He runs into problems from Ed Shepherd who has never like him, and from a lack of money and suppliers.

This was a hard chapter to write; at least, I’m not very satisfied with it. It will require a great deal of revision and rewriting, I’m sure. For the present, the first draft is down. So I’m looking forward to the next one.

Monday, June 13, 2005


Today was one of those days when nothing seemed to go right. Daniel returned to the farm to a joyous welcome by Geraldine, Robert, and Emily and then he returned to Edmonton where he started building a house on the Rossdale Flats not far from the North Saskatchewan River with the plan to move his family to town as he worked at developing his outfitting business.

When he returned to his small office on Jasper Avenue, he discovered it had been vandalized; yet that did not stop business from coming his way.

Ed Shepherd showed up to sympathize although it was more like gloating. Daniel is now suspicious that Ed may have had something to do with the destruction of his office.

So ended today’s writing. I’m not really happy with it, but I will let it be for now and see how it fits in later during the rewrite. This is the first draft, so I usually write it quickly to get the story out. Editing, proofreading, and revisions will come later.

I know that this feeling has happened before in other works and sometimes I can’t tell the good days from the bad. Maybe this will be such an occasion.

Friday, June 10, 2005

A New Business

Today Daniel discovers that he can make more money helping others to head out to the gold fields or to the new lands opening up in the Peace River country to the north and west of Edmonton, so he becomes an outfitter.

But his old nemesis, Edward Shepherd, who has now left the North West Mounted Police, is in the same business and threatens him. Daniel ignores the threat and sets up an office on main street, Jasper Avenue.

Although I have a vague idea as to what will happen, the characters for the most part decide. I knew that Daniel was to become a businessman in Edmonton, but I had no idea what it would be and how it would come about.

That’s the thrill of writing, especially a historical novel. Some of the events are preordained, but the way the characters act and react depends on them, their personalities, their mores, and their backgrounds.

Today, of course, was no exception. I suppose that all writers of historical novels experience the same scenario. If you are a historical writer, let me know if that is what happens when you are composing.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Thwarted Again

Although Daniel can’t get any money from Edouard, he still wants to go to the Klondike. In the local tavern he meets four newly arrived German immigrants who ask him to help them acquire an outfit to take them to the Klondike. In return, they will take him with them.

Once he acquires the necessary horses, conveyances, and mining equipment, they decide that they don’t want him along, but they pay him well for his services. Again, Daniel is thwarted in his attempt to go to the gold fields.

What will he do now? Will he find another way to get to the Klondike? By now, the main gold rush is over. Will gold fever consume him and force him to go anyway?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Chapter Twelve

Today I started Chapter Twelve of my WIP based on the history of the province of Alberta. For the past week I’ve been reviewing and correcting the proofs of my latest book to be published, which is not a historical novel.

In Chapter Twelve, Daniel, now recovered from a bad bout of pneumonia, still has dreams of becoming a successful gold miner in the Yukon. Again he convinces Geraldine that he must go although she is still against his venture.

This time, he decides to go alone with little baggage, as he will acquire the necessary gear when he arrives in the Klondike, but he will need money to do this, money that he does not have. He approaches his father-in-law for a stake and is rejected.

What is next step is, I’m not sure. That’s tomorrow’s problem.

Friday, June 03, 2005


I haven’t posted for a few days because I’ve busy going over the proofs of a new novel to be published soon. I don’t have a launch date yet so I can’t give much information about it.

Since PublishAmerica will publish it, I’m doing most of the editing and proofing.

Unfortunately, I’m finding many mistakes—typos, missing words, extra words, that sort of thing. It’s tedious and sometime frustrating work—but it must be done L

I have a deadline so I can’t waste too much time; as a result, I have not been working on my current WIP, which is a historical novel based on the history of the Province of Alberta, Canada that is celebrating its centennial this year.

For more of my historical novels, check my website:

Next week I should be back on track with my writing.