Merry Christmas to all fellow bloggers! It’s Christmas night here on the Gold Coast and it has reached temperatures of over 35 degrees this afternoon! For the first time ever on Christmas day, we went out for lunch. My kids are 21 and nearly 16 so wanted to go out this year….and on the hottest Christmas since 2001. Phew…bring me some coldness.
So, with bellies full of turkey and pudding, we are back home in our air con home, just as the heavens have opened and a storm rages over us. Goodness knows if the beach babes have got home…it was roasting on the coast!
Anyway, we are tucked up in front of the TV, searching through Netflix for a film. My daughter had Stephen King’s IT for a pressie, that may be on later….!
Have a Merry Christmas….see you all in the New Year!
#writerslife #writer #australia #christmas 🎅🎄
Such a good list !
I have already posted a list of some of the authors whose books I read this year and found to be outstanding. You will find that link here.
But I read so many books in 2017, and many were great reads indeed, so I’ve divided the list into two: that first list covered authors I have promoted on my blog,
Reading Recommendations; this second list is everything else.
Because I tend to be an eclectic reader, you will find on this list: old books and newly released books, fiction and non-fiction, children’s picture books, graphic novels, memoir – even a couple of political biographies, and many books about books and reading (because I’ve been researching a series on Reading for my blog). What I have not listed are the classics and cookbooks (yes, I even read cookbooks!) that I read this year. And I read all of these…
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“A book is more than the sum of its materials. It is an artefact of the human mind and hand ” – Geraldine Brooks
One of my favorite writers is Australian-American journalist and novelist Geraldine Brooks. I have read most of her fiction books, namely The Secret Chord, Year of Wonders and The People of the Book, and have a notable TBR list for all her works. She writes succinctly and beautifully, capturing the essence of the story she is telling, whether it is set in ancient times (The Secret Chord), in Medieval England during the Black Plague (Year of Wonders) or as a nod to her own favorite novel, Little Women (March).
Born in Sydney in 1955, she studied at the University of Sydney then worked as a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald. Gaining a scholarship to study at Columbia University in New York, she then worked for The New York Times as a war correspondent, covering such crises as the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East. It was whilst working in the Middle East that she wrote her Non- fiction book based on her experiences there, and the lives of the Muslim women living in the Mideast.
She has won many literary awards in her illustrious career, notable the ‘top prize’ in literature, the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2006, for her retelling of the classic American novel Little Women, from the absent father’s point of view, that became March. Other novels include Caleb’s Crossing, one of my personal favorites, which explores the story around the first Native American to attend Harvard College, back in the 17th century.
Did you know?
- Her book, Year of Wonders is in talks to become a major movie, starring English actor Andrew Lincoln (of The Walking Dead fame)
- She is married to the well respected American journalist and novelist Tony Horowitz, who also won a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1995
- She is a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University
- She lives by an old mill pond on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, which is inspired by her novel Caleb’s Crossing
Have a great writing week ! 🙂
#writing #writerslife #geraldinebrooks #historicalfiction #writerscorner
“Happiness can be found,
even in the darkest of times,
if only one remembers,
to turn on the light.” – JK Rowling
JK Rowling 1965 –
For this weeks Writers Corner, I have chosen a female writer. JK Rowling’s books need no introduction (if they do, where have you been?), and her Harry Potter series about a young wizard, written for children and enjoyed by adults and children alike, are regarded as one of the most successful series of books, ever.
Since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released in 1995, children have been captivated by wizard prodigy Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, as they bravely fight Potter’s enemy, Voldemort. The stories are mainly set in and around Hogwarts School of Wizardry, run by the formidable headmaster Dumbledore and a series of now iconic characters – who could forget Rubeus Hagrid or Professor Snape?
Since the success of the Potter books, Rowling has started a new series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, all of which will be movies (one already out, starring the wonderful Eddie Redmayne), and are the ‘adult versions’ (I think!) of the Harry Potter books. The Beasts series moves across to New York and is set around the early part of the 20th century.
Did you know?
- Born in Gloucestershire, England, Rowling worked for Amnesty International before first conceiving the Harry Potter books.
- Her ideas for the plot lines and stories came whilst travelling on a Manchester to London train journey (the train was delayed for 4 hours, plenty of time then, to write those books!).
- She was in relative poverty during the pre-Potter success, and says that apart from being actually homeless, was “as poor as one could be in Britain at that time”
- There are seven books in the series but the last book, Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows, has been turned into two movies, making for eight movies altogether.
- She also writes adult books, under the pen name Robert Galbraith. Successful in themselves, notable titles are The Cuckoos’s Calling (2013) and The Silkworm (2014).
- The platform at King’s Cross, which was Platform 9 3/4 in the books, was inspirational to her, as it was where her parents first met.
- She wrote many of the books from a couple of cafes dotted around Edinburgh, and on an old typewriter. One of the cafes, The Elephant House, is a popular tourist destination.
- The last book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows, is the fastest selling book of all time – 11 million across UK and US in one day.
- She is the second richest female entertainer in the world.
Have a lovely week, fellow bloggers! 🙂
#writing #writerscorner #writerlife #books #jkrowling #harrypotter #childrensliterature
“When they don’t know what to say
and have completely given up on the play
just like a finger they lift the machine
and the spectators are satisfied.” – Antiphanes
Deus ex machina
At the moment, I am busily writing my new thriller, The Secret, which I’m aiming to release in the middle of 2018. I’m also avidly reading in between writing and thinking about my plot lines. On top of my list of reading materials, has to be Stephen King’s On Writing. If you haven’t come across this book, I highly recommend it! As well as tips on writing, he includes stories about his own life, his own insecurities on writing, and why he is so passionate about his craft. He also adds tips on the works of other writers and their own story-lines. So, I came across one tip that he talks about, that is, deus ex machina or the ‘God of the machine’ in storytelling.
Simply put, the deus ex machina is a plot device (I have discovered!), that has been in existence since Greek writers such as Antiphanes, first wrote his stories, way back in 387 BC. It is a technique of writing which allows the writer to conclude his story. It has been used time and time again in novels that are good, not so good, and ones that are bestsellers. Think John Grisham novels, the Lord of the Rings trilogies, and you have the basic idea. So, whatever complications have arisen in the plot, whatever event has befallen your characters, the deus ex machina is an effective way of neatening all the plot lines to a happy conclusion, however implausible that may seem.
Therein lies the nub of the problem. A deus ex machina that resolves a seemingly impossible situation for the characters, and within the last few pages of the book, has to come in for some criticism. This style of writing has been known to leave the reader feeling unsatisfied, wanting more, especially if they have immersed themselves so heartily into a seemingly impossible plot that could never ordinarily be concluded. It also can imply a simple lack of creativity on the writer’s part, who, having created seemingly impossible events and situations, are now keen to finish their story quickly and swiftly. So, a deux ex machina plot-line may lead to a lack of belief in the story, and a reader who think the tale too fantastical to end so abruptly!
Notable examples of deux ex machina lie in novels that are highly successful bestsellers. Think, The War of the Worlds by HG Wells, in which a seemingly impossible situation (aliens landing on earth, that cannot be attacked by mere humans), which resolves itself by a simple bacteria in the end. I remember reading this story and thinking the same thing, back in my school days! My own example of this, is a book I read just recently. The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks is a wonderfully descriptive historical novel, that is meticulously researched and a pleasure to read, BUT the story of a young servant girl living in England during the Black Plague, has a weird ending! Having engrossed myself in the main character Anna, I was sharply disappointed in the last few pages of this book.
But whatever shape or form your plot takes you, as writers we are always aiming to end our stories in the best possible way. The craft of writing is already filled with doubts and insecurities on one’s writing styles and techniques. The hardest part of a book can be the ending, as we try and weave the narrative to its best conclusion.
As Stephen King himself has said; “Wouldn’t we all like to have a deus ex machina in our own lives?”
Anything that will make us better writers is fine my me!
Happy writing, fellow bloggers 🙂
#writing #writingadvice #writingtips #stephenking #geraldinebrooks #historicalfiction #horror #writingstyles #deusexmachina #antiphanes #HGWells
Thank you kidsstoryworld for the nomination!
My Top 5 children’s Books are (in no particular order)
1 The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
2 The Famous Five by Enid Blyton (any one in the series really)
3 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
4 Charlotte’s Web by EB White
5. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery
There are many more these books are a standout for me. I then progressed to Stephen King…and am still reading him!
Happy blogging, have a great weekend! 🙂