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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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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I Spy a little-used word!

Spy novels often use terms like ‘secret service’, under cover, ‘agent’ and so on. They don’t often use: ‘cabbalistic’, ‘Delphic’ ‘oracular’ or ‘abstruse’. Nor when reflecting on any failure of cunning by spies do they use ‘maladroit’ or ‘ingenuous’. In fact to reflect this failure of effective spying we can turn to Lord Chesterfield who said: ‘Cunning is the dark sanctuary of incapacity.’ Spies need to be ‘artful’, ‘astute’, Machiavellian and trained in the art of ‘wiliness’. They need to use ‘narks’ and carefully ‘descry’. In the early days of organised spying, as opposed to being generally nosey, spies were…

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The odd word

The English language is a marvel – with over one million words for us to choose from! Some of the best words are the oddest – join in our discussion by letting us know about your oddest and most favourite words  – just use ‘Reply’ below…  

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