Secrets Of The Crucible

Following a selection of her novel, Secrets Of The Crucible, being read aloud at Norwich Writers’ Circle’s November Manuscript Evening, Anne Funnell has requested some feedback on the piece.

Anne writes…

I have written a novel set in 1749, Fulham, England. This began as a project for my Creative Writing diploma (evening class) where we had to take a true story and fictionalise it, without altering any documented facts.

Further to the Manuscript evening of 20th November and bearing in mind the talk by Kathryn Hughes on Biography (of 19th Century Victorian women) these are some of the questions I should like to ask the members:

Setting & Backstory: 

How much knowledge of conditions/social history should be assumed of readers?
Do readers find explanations of technical processes used at the time interesting?
Too much information can be ‘info-dump’ but insufficient scene-setting can leave the reader wanting answers: “Where are we?  What year is it?  What season?”
The backstory should be filtered in as required, but characters should be identified and their place in the scheme of things made clear.
Are there any books written from 1700 to 1780 in the conventional sense of novels?
Any which use contemporary speech (ie. the usage of early Georgian England) between characters, which we would call ‘Dialogue’.
Point Of View:
Who is the master character?  From whose point of view is the story told?
When the story is set in 1750, then the viewpoint and thought processes of each character should be of that era. In my case the protagonist is Lydia Dwight, the grand-daughter of John Dwight who founded the Fulham Pottery in 1672.  She has been left a widow, totally unused to the business, with her mother, widowed twelve years ago, apparently unable to cope.
Note:  I have the following books:
The Gentleman’s Daughter (Women’s lives in Georgian England) by Amanda Vickery
The Secret Life of Aphra Behn (1640 to 1689) by Janet Todd
The Life of Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784) by James Boswell (1740 – 1795)  (in a letter he uses the word ‘awesome’ about the scenery of Scotland.)
To pass on your thoughts and suggestions please e-mail Anne at, or comment via our Facebook page.

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