Knowing it all

By Isabel Dennis-Muir I guess anyone who writes fiction wants to make it as real as possible.  By that I mean we hope the imagination of our readers will be totally captured by the story world we create. Alison Burnside’s article in this Authorlab blog explored character development and pointed out that even minor characters need to have a personality, an individuality.  It would be great if our readers were still thinking about the characters in our story – major and minor – long after they have turned the last page. But as well as credible characters, our settings and…

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Why do writers write?

I have often wondered what it is that makes me want to write.  Why am I drawn to this sometimes pleasurable, often torturous pursuit? From the earliest discoveries we can see that humans wanted to set down symbols to convey a message.  Words are after all just our modern-day equivalent of those symbols.  Perhaps our prehistoric ancestors wanted to report to their kinfolk that they had seen a wondrous animal to hunt and eat, or found an ideal spot to make camp. From those earliest days we know that writing was used to inform.  Since then, one of its important…

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Writers on the edge

by David E P Dennis When I was a lot younger than I am now and sitting in the French language class at Hastings Grammar School, the tutor, wearing his university gown and coloured mantle, produced some French literature and asked us to translate it. Cluelessly I staggered through it. I remarked aloud that it was quite difficult to understand and the tutor, or master as he was called, explained that it was not surprising as it had been written by a madman. Up to that point I had not realised that some people were ‘mad’. Now I am older I…

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A Morning Song

By D E P Dennis If you get up early and go into the marshes You can see the dew on the creatures of the dawn Watch reed stems tremble in the softest of breezes Let your heart sing praises to that bright summer morn.   Back in the old world there’s fighting and bloodshed But here in the marshes sleeps peace, like a fawn. Watch the cob guarding a clutch of new cygnets Killing and gentleness – why your heart’s torn.   Who are we really, just beasts of the forest? Killers who prey on the weak and forlorn…

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A Bloomsbury lotus

A controversial view of the Bloomsbury intellectual saga By David E P Dennis Many people have heard the phrase ‘The Bloomsbury Group’. English society seems to have an echo of ‘clubability’ even now. We like the Pre-Raphaelites but we don’t like ‘The Right Club’ or the ‘Cambridge Apostles’ (some of them anyway) and certainly the word ‘Bullingdon’ raises hackles and ire. Who are these people who set themselves up above the rest? The accepted list of people who were members of the Group is plain to see. Here’s a list in alphabetical order: Clive Bell (1881 to 1964) Vanessa Bell (1879…

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