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Schadenfreude

November 17th, 2017

At the recent Hong Kong Literary festival Ian Rankin, author of the John Rebus novels, was quoted as saying that in a world of uncertainty, increasing violence and terrorist attacks people were turning away from grittier novels and looking for something more ‘kind and gentle’.

I agree that reading is a form of escapism. But I also suspect that there is a degree of schadenfreude among the reading public. We sit comfortably with our book of choice and enjoy the fact that we’re safe while the protagonists are undergoing all sorts of perils and problems. And it’s not a new thing. You only need to go back to the Bronte sisters. Wuthering Heights…Jane Eyre… very romantic but also very gothic. They must have sent an enjoyable shudder up the spines of many a well-brought-up young lady. Read the rest of this entry »




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NaNoWriMo 2017

November 10th, 2017

First, thanks to David for last week’s blog and pointing out the importance of choosing a good title for your book.

I’d always suggest being guided by the experts (your publisher or agent if you are going for a traditional publishing deal). But what do you do if you’re thinking of self-publishing? Well, I’d come up with my own idea, try it on the people around me that I knew and trusted, listen to their advice and suggestions – and then make my own decision.

It’s that time of year again (doesn’t it come round fast?) – NaNoWriMo. For the uninitiated, that’s National Novel Writing Month where participating authors try to get the first draft of their novel completed in the 30 days of November. I suspect they may not have too much time to worry about titles at this stage, as they’ll be too busy getting the basics in place. Read the rest of this entry »




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Choosing Your Project Title

November 3rd, 2017

Choosing a good title for a novel or a play can be very important.  I want to quote you some words from Anthony Horowitz taken from his new book, “The Word is Murder”.  This was published in August 2017:

Almost 200,000 books are published in the UK every year and although some of them will have the advantage of a well-known author attached, the vast majority have just two or three words on a surface measuring no more than 6 x 9 inches to sell themselves.  Titles have to be short, smart and meaningful, easy to read, easy to remember and original.  That’s asking a lot.

Many of the best titles are simply borrowed from elsewhere.  Brave New World, The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, Vanity Fair… all of these were drawn from other works.  Agatha Christie used the Bible, Shakespeare, Tennyson and even The Rubiayat of Omar Khayyam for many of her 82 titles.  Read the rest of this entry »




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Characterisation Continued…

October 27th, 2017

First, thanks to Colin for last week’s post. I think he provided plenty to think about when you’re getting to know the characters you create. And it really is a case of knowing them thoroughly if you are to make your readers care about what happens to them.

So, I’m going to add six points of my own that I think are important if you are to persuade your readers to get involved in the lives of your characters:

  1. It should be your aim to create individuals who leap off the page, exuding energy and creating dramatic impact. They must be more exciting and more attention grabbing than the ordinary people we meet in our normal workaday existence.

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Thoughts on Character Creation

October 20th, 2017

In real life you’ve probably at some time met someone who has become a friend. Only gradually do you get to know the person and even after months or more you may be surprised by some revelation about them.

A character in fiction will be gradually revealed but as the writer you must know your  characters fully before you start the story.

It’s a good idea to make a detailed profile of your main characters. This helps you to be consistent and to know what they would and wouldn’t do, and not to provide sudden changes in behaviour which would be out of character and unbelievable to the reader. Occasionally a sudden change may be justified, for instance, if the character has suffered some tragedy or trauma, but as the author, you should have prepared for this. Read the rest of this entry »




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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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