Categories
The Mouth

Some Interesting Locations In “The Mouth”

A few locations that inspired my new novel (and thus became imaginary places whose similarities to actual real places are entirely co-incidental) The Maunsell Sea Forts The Maunsell Sea Forts are armed towers built in the Thames and Mersey estuaries during the Second World War. The Red Sands Fort is in the book. There are six anti-aircraft towers situated nine […]

Categories
Literature

Triumph of the Goths!

Gothic was named after the Visigoths, the barbarian European tribes who defeated and sacked Ancient Rome. The eighteenth-century European enlightenment looked to Rome as a model of order and refinement. The Visigoths were seen as crude and irrational –their world-view grounded in romance and folklore. Horace Walpole, whose 1764 novel “The Castle of Otranto” ushered […]

Categories
Writing

Not Judging Your Characters

I remember during a stint in news reporting realising stories had a better chance of being picked up by the news editor (city editor in US) if they provoked some sort of emotion in the reader. Being journalism it was often fear or anger! But isn’t a news story just be a selection of facts […]

Categories
Literature Writing

A Suit of Armour

Its probably fair to say Ben Jonson found criticism challenging. According to contemporary accounts the Renaissance playwright was quick to anger and killed two men in duels. The actor playing the Prologue in Jonson’s play Poetaster arrives on stage in a suit of armour, which is “Forty-fold proof against the conjuring means/Of base detractors, and illiterate apes” […]

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Literature Writing

Writing in the Language of Angels

One of the big problems when writing about the after life or spiritual realms is that the afterlife, if there is one, is an unknown quantity. An author can’t meet up and interview a spiritual being for research in the way they would, say, a police officer. John Milton faced this problem when composing his […]

Categories
Literature

Edgar Allan Poe and “Genre” Writing.

Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” was published in 1845. In the story a mesmerist (a kind of hypnotist) puts a dying man called Valdemar in a suspended hypnotic state at the moment of death. The man’s body becomes cold and inert. It is left for months. Finally […]

Categories
Literature

Why Write?

There are some writers who aren’t too worried about having an audience. Only a handful of Emily Dickinson’s poems were published during her lifetime, possibly without her permission.  Her fellow Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins felt publication conflicted with his vocation as a priest. The rest of us want as big an audience as possible […]