Author Archives: Sherwood Smith

About Sherwood Smith

Sherwood Smith's website and Book View Cafe ebooks.

Kicking the Sheriff’s Butteth: the world of Robin Hood at age eleven

Some days I need a little silly. During my time as a sixth grade teacher at a private school, Howard Pyle’s Robin Hood was one of our texts. Its faux-medieval Victorian prose was actually a fairly easy way to accustom … Continue reading

Posted in Books and Reading, History | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments


I’m not usually one for time travel tales—some read too much like math problems, with not enough historical detail for my particular bent. Others carry me along but seem to fall apart after I think about them a bit. So … Continue reading

Posted in Books and Reading, fantasy, science fiction | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Hapax, Heyer, Austen and the Language Attic (“ton” and “sprack”)

Six times, now, in the past few months I’ve been asked “Where was that blog post you put up about Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer?” That question, in addition to our “Language Attic” series, caused me to reprise this riff, … Continue reading

Posted in Books and Reading, History, regency, romance | Tagged , , , , | 71 Comments

Visual Readers and Memorable Scenes

  One of the most interesting discoveries I’ve made about reading (and writing) is how our brains process text. Some of us are intensely visual. This is both great and not so great. The perils and pitfalls of being a … Continue reading

Posted in Books and Reading | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

You Don’t Say!

  Recently I got into a discussion about words you refuse to use in your writing, or everyday language. I did a very informal online poll on my blog in hopes of garnering more examples, so here’s a summary. A … Continue reading

Posted in Culture | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

Unsucking the Classics

I got into yet another of those conversations about how Books Were Ruined By School. Various classics got mentioned, to universal groans or sick faces. There’s always a certain comfort in solidarity-suffering. So you had to read Of Mice and … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 71 Comments

Theory of Mind: Literature and Writing

Theory of Mind is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others, and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives that are different from one’s own. It is a fascinating study that … Continue reading

Posted in Books and Reading, Writers on Writing | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Story, Character . . . and Gossip

  I came across some notes from a lecture on writing that I sat in on years ago, when I was a teacher attending an education conference. The writers in that audience were all mainstream, most writing for kids. The … Continue reading

Posted in History, Lifestyle | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Playing with gender roles in fiction

I think one of the appeals of traditional gender and social roles is that they give people a map with which to negotiate the chaos of human relations. We want to be secure (especially when we are less powerful than … Continue reading

Posted in Books and Reading, History, Lifestyle | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Word of Mouth

Recently twelve Book View Café writers participated in a Giveaway in a no-cost effort to try to reach new readers. On the last day, I asked here (mirrored here) how people discovered new books—if they liked newsletters, giveaways, publicity blitzes, … Continue reading

Posted in Book View Cafe, Books and Reading, fantasy, Genres, memoir, nonfiction, science fiction, space opera, YA | Tagged , , , , , , , | 21 Comments