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?
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?
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
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 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
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
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
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
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?
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
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.
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
Does anyone find that they the story, but not necessarily the book? Those occasions where a story transcends its source material to take on a life of its own. Perhaps you like West Side Story, but you’d never read Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Perhaps you love Bridget Jones’s Diary, but would never read Jane Austen's… Continue reading Not all Classics are created equal
My degree was Classical Studies - Ancient Greeks and Romans. And a lot of what I learned shaped my understanding of literature. You’d be amazed at how much influence 5th-century Athenian literature has had on us, from tragedy to comedy. And probably the most famous know-it-alls of all time, Aristotle, still has a lot to teach… Continue reading Give your character some good old fashion vices
The Kingfisher Book of Myths and Legends by Anthony Horowitz You know those treasured books which have been with you forever? This is one of my earliest and most beloved books. Back in Primary school, I was a bit of a mystery to my teachers. My reading age was significantly higher than my spelling age, which made… Continue reading 5 books which have influenced me
Flashbacks and flashforwards. Why, what did you think I meant? Flashbacks and flashforwards have become a significant part of the language of modern fiction. I hadn't thought too much about until this weekend when I saw the Guardian article Bad memories: Colm Tóibín urges authors to lose the flashbacks. At the Hay Festival last weekend, Colm Tóibín,… Continue reading Is there too much flashing in modern literature?