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Yes, I’ve conflated the titles of two Sherlock Holmes novellas here (“conflated” – did I really write that word?).
I confess to not having read The Valley of Fear for a long time, and it’s been some time since I read A Study in Scarlet. There are some real similarities, though. Both involve a murder of a particularly unusual kind, and both involve a flashback sequence to an American past.
What is really striking about the central portion of both books is the attitude of Conan Doyle to American society.
Our local paper, the Lichfield Mercury, just ran this story on me. Very pleased to see this.
Warning – contains words that some may find offensive (and that’s the point, actually)
Recently I saw a post on Facebook which gave a list of euphemisms sometimes used in the US to avoid using certain swearwords. They struck this Brit as being quaint and amusing (even the term “cuss words”!).
Just finished a 3k+ word short story which ventures into new territory. The protagonist is a youngish woman, and the situation is one I have never personally experienced.
It’s all from a very intimate third-person POV, and though there are flashbacks, the majority of the action occurs in one small room and one person’s mind – it’s quite claustrophobic.
There’s a lot of swearing and four-letter words at one point. Still not sure whether to leave them there, but they do fit the character and her mood at this point.
The style is closest to my Tales of Old Japanese – a very sparse style – not too many adverbs, and very little in the way of physical description.
There’s an element of the supernatural here, but there’s also ambiguity here – I hope, and I also hope that it’s quite scary from a psychological point of view (as opposed to people being eaten by zombies or chopped up with chainsaws, etc.).
Oh, and the title, and the image I’ve chosen to decorate this page with? All part of the story.
…she kept coming back to Bee-bee, as she had done for over thirty years.
Bee-bee was six months younger than Anne, and she had been given to Anne by her grandmother, who had died less than a year later. From the start, Anne had instantly fallen in love with the rag doll, who seemed to always have been called Bee-bee. No-one could remember who she was called that, or why.
Now on her fourth set of button eyes, and after many major surgical operations to repair almost ripped off limbs, severe abdominal lesions, and general old age, Bee-bee went everywhere with Anne, whether Anne was on her own or not. Bee-bee was always there to listen, sitting at the head of her bed, whenever Anne had doubts, or when her heart was broken as yet another man walked out of her life.
Now, what to do with what I’ve written… Any agents or publishers interested?
Our writers’ group, the Lichfield Writers, gave us an interesting exercise this week. Usually, a writing exercise gives you the opening sentence of a piece. This time, we were presented with the end.
As night turned to day, he started to understand the truth.
I ended up writing a genre which is somewhat unfamiliar to me. I think it almost works.
This is one of my favourite books from the point of view of the physical design of the book. Originally, it was two separate paperback volumes, The Untime and The Untime Revisited (both of which are still available as ebooks – check them out here), but I decided to combine them into one print volume, since one is a very clear sequel to the other.
I had some designs which I’d used for the cover of the original, but I preferred to take a completely different tack on this, and to try to recreate the feeling of a 19th-century book using 21st century technology. Steampunk publishing, if you will. Continue reading “Making a steampunk book…”
At our writing group, the Lichfield Writers, one of our members mentioned how much she enjoyed M.C.Beaton’s books. As we were going out of the library where we meet, I noticed the latest Beaton, Dead Ringer, on the Rapid Reads shelf (books which have just come in and you must get through them in a week because other people want to get hold of them). So I picked it up, and…
I’ve come further with this site than I thought I would. Just put up another page of unclassifiable books. Since I don’t stick to one genre all the time, it’s inevitable that there will be some outliers which refuse to fall neatly into one category.
However, some of these have been the most fun to write, and have attracted a fair amount of critical acclaim. Tales of Old Japanese gets almost universal praise, and I suppose it is the most “literary” of all my published writing. You might want to give it a go – although the protagonists of the stories are older Japanese people, you might find yourself identifying with them and their predicaments.
There’s also an attempt at a Father Brown pastiche. Much more difficult than a Sherlock Holmes pastiche for a variety of reasons.