The Novelry Blog
Where the writers are.
Louise Doughty describes the strange lure of station platforms that inspired her to write the wonderful suspense thriller, her latest book, Platform Seven, published by Faber & Faber.
Louise Doughty writes...
I had a strange yearning the other day, an overwhelming desire to do something wild and reckless, to leave my house and travel to somewhere that seemed unbelievably enticing and exotic. I really, really wanted to go to Peterborough Railway Station.
I could picture myself doing it. It’s possible to walk to Kings Cross Station from where I live. I went down there on one of my daily exercise outings a week or so ago – standing for a moment on the vast, airy concourse, shops and cafes all shuttered and closed, listening to the announcements to nobody echoing across the empty space. The fifteen thirty LNER service to Leeds will depart from Platform One. This train will be calling at… if I had wanted to, I...
Now, if you read our blog recently on how to plan your novel, you'll be well served by knowing there's another side to the story too. Writers write in different ways at different times. We won't prescribe how you should write your novel, but we will show you all the wonderful ways to writing bliss.
So, you have a fully fleshed-out scene by scene, beat by beat, blow by blow plan for your story. The plot clock's ticking (check), we're heading to conflict (check) and a happy ending (check). The whole thing is on point. You've planned it to the Nth degree as Iris Murdoch describes:
‘Well, I think it is important to make a detailed plan before you write the first sentence. Some people think one should write, George woke up and knew that something terrible had happened yesterday, and then see what happens. I plan the whole thing in detail before I begin. I have a general scheme and lots of notes. Every chapter is planned. Every conversation is planned.' Iris...
A Dirty Word?
From the Oxford English Dictionary:
A figure of speech in which a name or descriptive word or phrase is transferred to an object or action different from, but analogous to, that to which it is literally applicable; an instance of this, a metaphorical expression. Cf. metonymy n., simile n.
+ meta = In ancient Greek and Hellenistic Greek μετα- is combined chiefly with verbs and verbal derivatives principally to express notions of sharing, action in common, pursuit, quest, and, above all, change (of place, order, condition, or nature)
+phor = + ϕορά carrying ( < the o -grade of the stem of ϕέρειν to bear, carry)
a1500 (c1477) T. Norton Ordinal of Alchemy Thei made theire bokis to many men ful derk, In poyses, parabols, & in methaphoris alle-so, which to scolers causith peyne and...
On the 16th of February, I was walking my dog with a friend who is in his late Sixties. He was telling me about his grandmother. His mother was bullied by a girl when she was a child in the 1920's and her mother sent her back to school with a homemade rhyme. It went something like this: Apple pie is very nice, and so is apple pasty, but Betty Jones messed her shirt, and that was very nasty. The rhyme caught on in the playground. He went onto tell me that his grandmother was a leading light of the Band of Hope, a temperance movement quite big during her lifetime with banners on their marches touting 'Bread Not Beer'. As she was a heavy drinker, the Band of Hope was certainly apposite regarding her membership.
When I came home I googled it, and saw that the movement was started in 1847 when a 72-year-old Irish Presbyterian lady joined forces with a young Baptist minister Jabez Tunnicliffe and they decided to warn children of the dangers...
We have all heard of the 'enfant terrible' of the second novel.
The much-feared 'Second Novel Syndrome' bodes not so much a happy ending as a marked drop in sales leading down the garden path to the midden of the mid-career sag. (See this blog for details.) One is supposed to anticipate much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the author's kitchen as indifferent, scant reviews come in followed by poor sales. A far cry from the heady days of 'the debut of the year.'
You never stop learning until you stop learning.
The heady praise of the debut can lead an author to think they're a natural-born killer when it comes to novels. They've got a gift. Talent! Innate!
It is not so.
I don't believe in 'talent'. I do believe in staying power, reading, love of the craft, humility, mischief, discipline and routine.
With your first novel, you were obliged as an unknown to pull out all the stops. Every pretty rejection sent you revising. You got feedback from...
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