If books were real, Miss Marple…

Miss Marple… would be a member of St Mary Mead’s reading group which meets every Wednesday lunchtime at the public library. They are currently reading The Great Gatsby in honour of the film, Miss M likes the book but disliked the film which she thought rather indulgent. Next on the list is a Jack Reacher book by Lee Child. Miss M rather likes Jack Reacher [above] though she is not sure about Tom Cruise. ‘The Body in the Library’ by Agatha Christie [UK: Harper Collins] How would other fictional characters behave, if they were real? Jackson Brodie in ‘Case Histories’
Read More

I agree with Roddy Doyle

Roddy Doyle “[snappy dialogue is] the best way to keep the momentum going, rather than to interrupt it constantly with physical descriptions of people . . . It gradually came to me that I didn’t really care what Jimmy looked like, as such. It didn’t matter too much—I didn’t give him eye colour, hair colour, a height. The best way to get characters alive is to get them talking.” [in an interview with ‘The Bookseller’ magazine [June 2013] about his creation Jimmy Rabbitte in ‘The Guts’] Do we need to read a physical description of a character to really know
Read More

My Top 5… audio books

Audio books used to be unfashionable, still are for some people. So be it. Because I love them. Below I have tried to select my Top 5, but the list became longer…I had never had one until a serious illness left me in hospital, in pain and unable to sleep. My lovely husband appeared with a CD walkman and a variety of audio books bought in a panic. I can remember them now. John Grisham’s The King of Torts, Pride and Prejudice and Michael Palin’s Himalaya. He returned the next day with a CD of sleep music and the first
Read More

Reading for research: Lucky Kunst

I admit to a wry chuckle as I see the double-takes from my fellow passengers on the Easyjet flight from Malaga to Gatwick. My reading material for the 2 ½ hour flight is Lucky Kunst: The Rise & Fall of Young British Art by Gregor Muir. I’m still researching for my second novel, Connectedness. I’ve come to Malaga to tread in the footsteps of my character, artist Justine Tree, as she treads in the footsteps of Picasso.‘Freeze’, the 1988 art exhibition held by 16 Goldsmiths art students in a London Docklands warehouse and organised by Damien Hirst, first launched the
Read More

Great Opening Paragraph 37… ‘I’ll Take You There’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“In those days in the early Sixties we were not women yet but girls. This was, without irony, perceived as our advantage.” ‘I’ll Take You There’ by Joyce Carol Oates  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘A Farewell to Arms’ by Ernest Hemingway ‘Tipping the Velvet’ by Sarah Waters ‘The Collector’ by John Fowles And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A 1st para which makes me want to read more: I’LL TAKE YOU THERE by Joyce Carol Oates #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-mM via @SandraDanby
Read More

Book Review: The Other Eden

This novel by Sarah Bryant is best described as a Gothic romance/horror story, interleaved with the American South setting in Louisiana and piano music it is an unusual mixture which produces quite a page-turner. I admit to finding the two sisters Eve and Elizabeth confusing at times but that did not interfere with my enjoyment of the story. By the end of the book I was still unsure which sister was which. The description of the two houses, Eden and the house on the hill, are luscious. My one quibble is that I found the characters oddly difficult to place
Read More

Flash Fiction: ‘Chairs Chairs Chairs’

It is just before nine. She takes her time clearing the tables, the ones outside in the dark alley between the Royal Festival Hall on one side and the railway arches on the other. The sun won’t reach here until lunchtime. The alley has quietened, the rush to work is drawing to a close and the queue at the coffee counter for ‘to-go’s’ numbers only two. She prefers clearing tables to serving at the counter. Outside, only one table is occupied. The same table, every morning. She watches him, without seeming to. Arranged in front of him are pencil, notebook,
Read More

Aah Snoopy, you are so right… 4

Ah yes. Like Snoopy, all writers have helpful friends.   ‘Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life’ ed by Barnaby Conrad and Monte Schulz  [UK: Writer’s Digest Books]     And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: What is subtlety: advice for #writers from @Snoopy http://wp.me/p5gEM4-qy via @SandraDanby
Read More

I agree with… Janice Galloway

Janice Galloway “…a good short story frames not just the credible now, but an implied past – and a stretch after the putative ending into infinite space. I guess that’s what is meant by writing that ‘comes off the page’: 3D is certainly possible on the flat page.” [writing in MsLexia magazine, June/July/Aug 2013] I remember being told by one of my creative writing tutors to ‘write around the story you think you’re writing about’. It was a good piece of advice. Sometimes I start to write about one thing but then explore the plot, the characters, the timeline, and
Read More

Great Opening Paragraph 36… ‘The Bell Jar’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York. I’m stupid about executions. The idea of being electrocuted makes me sick, and that’s all there was to read about in the papers – goggle-eyed headlines staring up at me on every street corner and at the fusty, peanut-selling mouth of every subway. It had nothing to do with me, but I couldn’t help wondering what it would be like, being burned alive all along your nerves.” ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath Amazon Try one of these
Read More