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This post via the Interesting Literature blog caught my attention because I love a good sonnet. A well-written sonnet is a thing of beauty.
The sonnet form is one of the oldest and most popular poetic forms in European literature, having been invented in the thirteenth century and used since by poets as varied as Petrarch, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, Tony Harrison, Carol Ann Duffy, and Simon Armitage. Below, we offer […]
It’s when you’re tired that the boundaries that divide the different “parts” of life from one another tend to get a little blurry.
This was evident yesterday when I was working through the online First Aid refresher course that I have to complete before attending the in-person training and re-qualifying on Tuesday.
When I got to the section dealing with ‘Shock, Wounds and Bleeding’, the introductory notes featured an image of a wound that was bleeding freely. My immediate response was to exclaim, “Must be fresh… must be blood!” And then I started singing, “Feed me, Seymour….feed me all night long.”
This is evidence of:
And in case what I was singing makes no sense to you, here’s a clip of that scene from the film.
The title of this blogpost caught my attention this morning.
“What?” I thought. “How could anyone think that?”
For me, the novel is most certainly not dead. There is still nothing as wonderful as escaping into a book and finding myself immersed in its setting, caught up in its action and carried away by the story.
Short stories and novellas are fabulous when life is busy, because I can achieve those escapes in the time I have available. But when time to read is more plentiful, a good novel is a marvellous thing.
The novel will never be dead as long as there are great books to read. I’m fairly confident that, given the quality of the new books I have been reading, it’s not likely to be happening in the foreseeable future.
And on that note, I take exception to the original writer’s suggestion that self-published books are rubbish, and therefore partly to blame for the demise of the popularity of reading. Blame the obsession with screens of whatever size, and with the Internet and social media, and I’ll gladly concur, but leave Indie authors out of it. As I’ve said plenty of times before, I’ve read some absolutely brilliant self-published books, and I’ve read – or attempted to read – some tragically bad traditionally published ones. Let each book stand or fall on its own merits, I say.
I feel sorrow for any reader who is so disillusioned by their reading that they believe the novel is a thing of the past. More than likely, they have simply been reading the wrong books.
If you’re interested in great Indie book recommendations, follow Book Squirrel.
A couple weeks ago, an article by writer Damien Walter grabbed my wandering attention. The title: I STOPPED READING NOVELS LAST YEAR. I THINK YOU DID TOO.
I was curious. So I had a read and discovered that Walter is a professional book reviewer, even had a regular sci-fi column for The Guardian. He’s experienced and well-respected and fed up of the novel.
For Water, the novel lost its magic. It no longer has the same magical feel as it did when he was a kid, “spending afternoons at the local library, selecting books as though I was selecting magical portals to step through. Then I would rush home and lose myself in the magic for hours, days at a time.”
Walter recognises the influences modern-day phenomenons have had on us. Here are some of my favourite quotes from his piece. I’d recommend reading in full too. He’s an…
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One of my Christmas traditions is watching my go-to Christmas movie: ‘The Muppets Christmas Carol’.
It combines the genius of Charles Dickens with the genius of Jim Henson’s Muppets, featuring Gonzo as Charles Dickens, Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit, and Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge. It retains key dialogue from the book and adds some delightful character development and interactions, and complements both with an original soundtrack that includes some delightful Christmas songs.
As far as movie adaptations go, this is one that stays faithful to both the storyline and the spirit of Dickens’ classic novella.
It’s charming in the right places, and Victorian and Gothic enough to be spooky when it needs to be. It still delivers the crucial message of Dickens’ attacks on Utilitarian thinking and selfishness, encouraging the audience to focus on the value of people and family rather than on making money and treating others as though they are worthless unless they can work.
It’s great entertainment for the whole family, and even when Scrooge is awful, the Muppet cast is entirely adorable.
Like Tyson Adams, I’m a writer and I’m very happy to be labelled a nerd. I’m also a History teacher, so I understand the value of research.
That value is never, ever so clear as when reading a book that is poorly researched and presents events or settings that are inconsistent with what one knows to be the truth.
Tyson makes some very good points about research here, but for me, the crucial point is believability. Our readers have to be able to accept what we write as not only conceivable, but also credible.
I’m just going to say it: I’m comfortable with the label of nerd.
More specifically, I’m a Nerdius scientifica.
Being a nerd is more accepted nowadays, what with our bulging brains and chiselled knowledge. And the reality is that us nerds have a lot to offer, like research skills.
Writing requires a lot of research and writers generally fall into two categories in this regard: those who need to learn how to research, and those who took up writing to justify those dodgy topics they’ve researched. This post will hopefully help the former. But if anyone does want to know how much slack rope you need to hang someone correctly from your homemade gallows, I have a spreadsheet calculator for you.
stole am reblogging a post from Writer’s Digest with a few of my own comments.
Ernest Hemingway said writers should develop a built-in bullshit detector. I imagine one…
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Everything Jodi Herlick has written here is true: the snark, the realism, and especially the advice about self-care. Her words provide a very real reflection of my own writing experience.
Whatever your experience is, whatever your writing pace, and whatever the other demands on your time, each of us can only do what is achievable within our individual limits.
The takeaway is this: You do what you need to do, and write your own way when you’re ready. None of that is for anyone else to judge.
We’ve all heard the well-intentioned advice: Write every day. It always seems to be spewed by privileged people who have a flexible schedule or a stable income without a day job or who have somehow managed to eschew all other commitments. And while there’s truth to the advice–I certainly find that writing is easier when I’m doing it consistently–for most of us, the pressure only leads to a cycle of despair that actually reduces our creative output.
So if you’re not one of the privileged few, here are some tips for getting all that daily writing in:
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Today, I reached the top of Mt Marking.
And it feels like a huge achievement.
Sure, there is always more work to be done.
But tonight, I can relax knowing I have done my job well.
I confess that this is how I started writing horror.
While reading a book which was a real let-down. I said to my husband, “I could do better than this!”
My husband said, “You should.”
So I did.
Four books later… I’m working on stories for the next one.
by Larry Kahaner
All writers get the same advice. Read the great writers; study the great works. Learn how seasoned, professional, and successful authors get the job done. All true, but I maintain that it’s also crucial for writers to read crap to learn what not to do.
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I’ve been largely out of action here this week, because I have been on my annual personal personal pilgrimage attempting to scale Mt Marking.
You may not have heard of Mt Marking. It is a steep and imposing mountain, located right near Mt Grading and Mt Evaluation in the End-Of-Year Reporting Ranges. It is difficult to climb, and can quickly turn into a slippery slope if one does not pay attention to one’s preparation, time management, and self-discipline.
After several very long and arduous days, I have made it about half-way up. It is getting somewhat harder to breathe, and it is exhausting, yet I must persist. I find myself relying more and more on coffee and, while I have been careful about nutrition in past weeks, I find now that I need to supplement my diet with chocolate to keep my strength and attention at sustainable levels.
And when Miley Cyrus sang that “it ain’t about how fast I get there” and “it ain’t about what’s on the other side”, it was not Mt Marking she was climbing. There are deadlines, after all, and the dangerous, rapidly-flowing Reporting River is what awaits on the other side, with the broad and intimidating Planning For Next Year Wilderness beyond that.
I will be able to see it all once I stand triumphantly on top of Mt Marking. On a clear day, you can see almost all the way to the end of the term.
More than a year ago, I began my book review of Eric Tanafon’s fabulous historical paranormal fantasy novel ‘Robin Hood: Wolf’s Head’ with this paragraph: “Every now and then, as a reader, I experience an incredible moment of revelation when I take in an expression or image of something that is so powerful, it takes my breath away.”
There is something incredibly magical about that moment when a writer’s words take my breath away. It doesn’t happened as often as one might like, but it has happened to me twice in the space of a week.
Once was when reading Cortney Pearson’s steampunk mystery ’The Perilous In-Between’. The second was when reading Bridget Collins’ historical fantasy novel ’The Binding’.
All three books are exquisitely written, full of incredible imagery, rich and imaginative world building, and powerful writing that make the reader’s emotions and mind soar.
Proudly, two of those books are by independent authors, published without the support of big traditional publishing houses and the budgets that the other enjoys. But if you picked up all three, and read them, you’d be pushed to know which was which if you were using the quality of writing or production as your yardstick. You’d only know by looking for a publisher’s imprint.
It is true that there are some rubbish books produced by independent authors who don’t bother having their work edited, proofread or produced properly. It is also true that there are also some rubbish books published traditionally. I’ve picked up a few books in my time that have, in all honesty, made me wonder exactly how they got published at all. Other people may think they are wonderful — and they are welcome to them.
And that is exactly my point. What makes a book ‘brilliant’ is highly subjective, and people will have many and varied reasons for the choices they make. Even so, the assumption that traditionally published books are of superior quality is becoming less and less valid as time goes on.
It’s fair to say that independent publishing has come a very long way, and the industry has become quite proficient in setting and achieving very high standards.
If you’re not reading Indie authors, you’re missing out on both discovering some incredible talent and reading some brilliant books.