2018 was not the best year for me. I was on a very difficult contract, I had slipped into a lot of bad habits and I turned 30, which - for reasons beyond me - had become a massive issue for me. To cap it all, I was diagnosed with GAD or Generalised Anxiety Disorder.… Continue reading New Year, New Start! Goals for 2019
What was Tyrion thinking? I think I know. Here's a post from my new sci-fi/fantasy blog. If Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Terk and anything fantastical is your thing, you should consider following me by clicking here! Follow Melanie Roussel Fiction on WordPress.com In September Entertainment Weekly released an interview with Peter Dinklage about… Continue reading GoT Theory – Tyrion’s Pact with the Devil
Did you know it's Agatha Christie's birthday today? A while ago, I decided that I was going to read all of Agatha Christie's works. I knew I already had a vast majority of them done already - how hard could it be? It turned out to be a far more difficult task than I thought!… Continue reading My quest to read all of Agatha Christie
I've spoken before on my peculiar relationship with books. My need to buy and buy books I won't ever have time to read. The only thing that stops me is the fact I have no money. But if I did, I would have a collection the Libary of Congress would be jealous of. Thanks to… Continue reading Are you engaging in Tsundoku?
I have some exciting news for you all! It probably won't be a surprise to learn that I am an avid sci-fi and fantasy lover. Speculative Fiction is something I'm incredibly I'm passionate about, but I've always been aware it's not something many of you are coming to this blog for. I've realised that if… Continue reading New Beginnings!
This is a book I've put off reading for a long time. In fact, I saw the movie with Tilda Swinton before I was brave enough to read the book. That's just the way my mind works, because, for whatever reason, I'm always convinced that the book is going to be better. And I was right.… Continue reading Review: We need to talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver
There is currently a heatwave in England. Every weather channel has various diagrams to explain just how toasty it is and invariably there's a lot of red on the map. Those of you from hotter climates may well laugh, but it's currently 30 degrees Celsius and I'm officially melting. And while my office has air-conditioning, my… Continue reading 5# Things do to when you don’t want to write
Last Wednesday, I read out an excerpt from my first chapter at my writing group. You'd think given I blog, enjoying writing and reading, that something like this would be a walk in the park. You might as well ask me to perform open-heart surgery. If you don't know me, I should explain I am the… Continue reading Taking a risk is the Only way to Grow
The eternal question asked by and of writers. Where do you get your ideas from? In response to this frequently asked question, the divine Neil Gaiman has said: 'I make them up,' I tell them. 'Out of my head.' Well, obviously. Whatever we do and say, odds are, it probably originated from out of our heads.… Continue reading Where do you get your ideas from?
Once a year, a list like this gets published. 100 books to read before you die. 100 books you should read. 100 books that changed the world. You know the sort. Last Monday, the BBC published their latest version of this on the culture website. 100 Stories that Shaped the World. And every time I see one… Continue reading Should we care about the top 100 books?
On a sunny Saturday in London, I went to see Quiz at the Noel Coward Theatre. Written by James Graham, this has to be the most mental plays I've seen. Yet it's thought-provoking and current in the light of social media as it is today. And while I enjoyed it, I also have to admit, it felt… Continue reading Review: Quiz by James Graham
Now we are in the fifteen-week of the year, I wanted to do a brief update on where I am on the Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge. Have I read the target of fifteen books? Ha! I'm only four books behind. So far this year, I've read: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde… Continue reading Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge Update!
They are not idiots. They're hacks. I've written on this blog before about my quiet love for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It's a book I studied and one, as a teenager, I felt a lot of kinship with. Because what else is Frankenstein about but a Creature attempting to find its place in a cold and… Continue reading The Monster, The Sun and A Tale of Hack Journalism
Last weekend, I saw 'The Birthday Party' by Harold Pinter. It had some of my favourite actors in it including Toby Jones, Stephen Mangan, Zoe Wanamaker, and, of course, Doctor Who's Pearl Mackie. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was at the Harold Pinter theatre - however, I've been living in London for about eight years now and I've been coming… Continue reading Review: The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter
This week, the Guardian ran a quote from Arnaud Nourry, chief executive of Hachette Livre, saying that ebooks are “a stupid product” which have "no creativity" and have so far only had "one or two successes among a hundred failures." If you haven't heard of them, Hachette is currently the world's third largest trade publisher so we… Continue reading Are eBooks Stupid?
Since I saw Hamilton at the Alexandra Palace and posted my review, I’ve been having many and various fun arguments with friends and fellow musical theatre lovers as to why this is probably one of the greatest musicals in the last twenty years. I’ve seen some amazing new musicals like Groundhog Day and Matilda, but… Continue reading Why Hamilton is Genius
Two of the most stressful things you can do is move house and start a new job. In December, I decided to do both. I have a philosophy that if you have several hard things to do, do them at the same time because how bad can it be, really? Hum... Well, I've finally finished… Continue reading Where do you write?
This is another historical nonfiction novel by Erik Larson, who's really a wonderful writer in this genre. This book I listened to on audiobook and in retrospect, I'm glad I did. It's pretty dense and I imagine can be difficult to plough through. The Devil in the White City follows the lives of two men.… Continue reading Review: The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
After I posted my Writing Resolutions a couple of weeks ago, Robin sent me a link to her blog where she's hosting the Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge. It looks like an amazing way to commit to more reading, though I'm sceptical... will I really manage the 52 books this year? Hum... I mean,… Continue reading Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge
This Saturday, I saw Hamilton at the Victoria Palace. I’ve been dying to see it since it opened on Broadway in 2015. The hype of its arrival in London has been infectious and I was trying desperately not to be too excited, worried it wouldn’t live up to the incredible praise it’s received. After all,… Continue reading Review: Hamilton
I've never believed in New Year's Resolutions because they simply don't work! There's a good reason why every article out there which talks about New Year's Resolutions also adds some helpful advice on how to stick to them. If there's anyone out there who has made a Resolution and kept to it for longer than… Continue reading Writing Resolutions of 2018
This is technically part two of my Frankenstein post which I published here on Friday in honour of the 200th anniversary of this book. But there was so much to talk about with this particular character, I thought he deserved a Never Underestimate post! Something I’ve always found fascinating about Frankenstein’s many and various adaptations… Continue reading Never Underestimate… the Igor
Monday marked the 200th year anniversary of the book Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, was published anonymously on 1st January 1818. It was famously born from a dream and written for a ‘ghost story challenge’ at the Villa Diodati in the summer of 1816 in the company of Lord Byron, Percy… Continue reading It’s the 200th Anniversary of Frankenstein
How can you tell if your favourite character is, in fact, a manipulative bastard? This character, for me, will forever be judged against the standards of Shakespeare's Iago. Has your character manipulated his friend into a bar brawl so he gets demoted? Convinced his wife to steal a handkerchief he later plants on said friend… Continue reading Never underestimate… the Iago.
Let's talk about the weather. Here in England, we had a massive snowfall last weekend. For those of you living in Canada, or Japan or some parts of America like New Hampshire and Alaska, I imagine you'd wonder why this is post worthy. But you've got to understand, we Brits can't handle the weather. Like over-excited… Continue reading Using and abusing our weather-beaten words
Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie is currently playing at the London County Hall near Waterloo station. I managed to get a seat high in the gallery and thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Leonard Vole, a young, good-looking and mild-mannered man is arrested for the murder of Emily French, a wealthy older woman. Already, you… Continue reading Review: Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie
Spoilers ahead for several series so beware! River Song in Doctor Who (played by Alex Kingston) There are so many amazing female characters in Doctor Who that it was a difficult choice, but River Song is a force of nature. As well as being a foil for the Doctor, an almost impossible feat as the man… Continue reading Top 10# Female Heroes of Television
I recently finished reading The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah. If you don't know, this is Sophie Hannah taking on the continuation novels of Agatha Christie's beloved Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. Approved by the Christie Estate and written by a very talent crime novelist who I had the chance to meet at Swanwick Summer Writing School.… Continue reading Never underestimate… the Watsons
I was sitting at my desk at around ten o’clock at night, knowing that I wouldn’t go to bed until I’d finished the next chapter, so hello two o’clock in the morning and I suddenly realized; writing is a terrible hobby. I could be rock climbing or surfing, but oh no. No sane person would… Continue reading Why do we write? Who can we blame?
Today, I'm going to very carefully try and explain how friends and family can help their tortured writers. I say carefully because I hope not to offend any well-meaning soul who has fallen into one of these traps! No, it really isn't. The writer has just spilled out their soul about their amazing idea. The… Continue reading The worst ways to help a writer
As I am ever behind the times, this is a book I've wanted to read since it came out in 2016. Finally! The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells written by Virginia MacGregor revolves around a family and the turmoil that is kicked up when the titular character, mother Norah, returns after six years of absence. Father… Continue reading Review: The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia MacGregor
What is past is prologue. The Tempest, William Shakespeare Everyone seems to have a strong opinion on prologues. Do a quick search online and you'll find plenty of articles advising you to ditch the prologue. As I've been frequently told, editors don't like them. They’re seen as the equivalent of clearing your throat before getting… Continue reading Prologues: Love ’em or Hate ’em
Spoilers ahead for several movies so beware! Ellen Ripley from the Alien movies (by Sigourney Weaver) Ellen Ripley is probably one of my favourite characters of all times and is one of the first true kickass heroines. It's perhaps unfortunate that the reason for this is Ripley was originally written as a man. But I think… Continue reading Top 10# Female Heroes of Movies
I've been part of the writer group London Writers' Cafe for almost two years now and I find it completely invaluable to my writing life. But I know writing groups are often criticised. There’s an infamous Buzzfeed article which always has me in stitches If Jane Austen Got Feedback From Some Guy In A Writing… Continue reading You should be in a Writing Group
You might have noticed the blog has been a little quiet lately. I usually stockpile a couple of weeks posts but between a new job and some other projects, I've fallen behind! But I should be up and running again soon. But I wanted to send out a short post today to share the good… Continue reading To Hull and Back: Short Competition
What's the most valuable tool you have as a writer? That's right, it's the 'Write your way to Success' app available on iPhone and Android for the reasonable price of £19.99. Get this app and you too could be the next Stephen King in four to six months. That's right, it's the 'Write your way… Continue reading Your most valuable tool: But why?
How many articles or books listing ‘writing rules’ have you read? How many have you read saying that you should break them? Many of you may recognise the title of this post if you’re ever watched, Friends. Rules are fun! Rules help control the fun. The Guardian has an entire page of writing rules from authors like… Continue reading Rules are fun! Rules help CONTROL the fun.
After four years mulling and a year writing, I have now finished the first draft of my steampunk novel. Whew! I have mixed feelings on it all. It most certainly isn't a masterpiece. There are plot holes, too much telling than showing and a lack of cohesiveness which makes it feel more like a string… Continue reading First draft hangover. What have we learnt?
Fiction is written by us. And what we like to see, what we cling to, is the sense that the universe will eventually fix everything. Whether that’s a god, fate or narrative causality, bad people get their comeuppance and good people get rewarded. And when we see terrible characters undergo terrible deaths, it’s okay, even… Continue reading Are your characters victims or dodgers of karmic justice?
I've got a slightly different kind of review for you all today. Last week, my writing group the London Writers' Cafe arranged for us to all go on The Cloak and Dagger Tour. Now, I've always considered myself a history nut. With my degree in the Classics, my amateur research into the nineteenth century and my general fascination… Continue reading The Cloak and Dagger Tour Review
I'm back! Full of inspiration and raring to write. Last week, I was at the Swanwick Writers' Summer School and I had the most amazing time. As a writer, it will probably stand one of the most important weeks in my writing career. The realizations I came to, the people I met and the courage I gathered… Continue reading My week at Swanwick: The Writers’ Summer School
Elizabeth Bennet by Jane Austen (as depicted here by Jennifer Ehle) One of my favourite heroines. Elizabeth Bennet is a character who has echoed down the ages purely because of how human she is. She's not at all perfect, laden with pride (and prejudice, surprisingly...), refuses to be stereotyped or dedicated to, but remains a woman… Continue reading Top 10# Female Heroes of Literature
Let me explain to you my relationship with books. I want books. All the books. I haven't got time to read them, but I want them. I'm going to buy them and worry about reading them later. They're wonderful, they make me smile. I want to be surrounded by books I don't have time to… Continue reading I can’t stop buying books. Is there a book for that?
Ever late to the party, this is one of the classics which I haven't read before. The Book Club I go to decided on My Cousin Rachel this month, partly due to the film now being in cinemas. I'm one of those people who hate seeing a movie based on a book without having read the… Continue reading Review: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
I briefly spoke about the Bechdel–Wallace test in my post about complex and powerful female characters, which you can read here. But as it's such an interesting idea, I wanted to talk about it in depth. The Bechdel–Wallace test was created by the American cartoonist Alison Bechdel. It first appeared in 1985 in her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. Basically… Continue reading The Bechdel–Wallace test and how it can help us
We've all been there. We see a competition for a short story and we're suddenly inspired by the topic. Clearly, cognitive dissonance has already set in, because on some level we know we're going to hate it by the time we've written it. But at the first rush of feeling, ideas like fireworks are lighting your… Continue reading Without hesitation, repetition or deviation
John Finnemore is one of the best comedy writers currently working. He mostly writes for radio and created Cabin Pressure, John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, and Double Acts. His true talent is one all good writers should aspire to; he invites you to listen to his story, holds your attention for as long as he's asked… Continue reading John Finnemore, the spinner of tales
This is a post I'd been working on for about two weeks before the new Doctor was announced, which I wrote about last week. I bumped up this post today as I think it ties in well about our changing view of female characters. Strong female characters, or the lack thereof, has been a hot… Continue reading STRONG female characters? How about we just write better.
I'd be the first to say I'm a naturally apologetic person. I tend to apologise that I'm so apologetic. I'm the person who apologises when someone steps on my foot on the tube. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but I've come to realise that it's killing my writing. Everything I wrote… Continue reading Cast off your crutches
This has happened to me and I'm sure it's happened to you. Let's say you've been to see a movie and now you're walking home. The movie was okay, maybe even great! But there was some missing piece which is starting to bug you. 'Well, how did the McGuffin work?' or, 'But why did the… Continue reading Harnessing the Completion Principle to enthral and annoy your readers