Re-reading Mario Puzo’s 1969 ‘The Godfather’

I first read this at seventeen, longer ago than I care to admit. I thought the writing style was poor in places even then. I re-read it because Albert Zukerman recommends studying the techniques the author uses as a writer of popular fiction. He is all admiration of Puzo's ability to create a larger than … Continue reading Re-reading Mario Puzo’s 1969 ‘The Godfather’

Writing 150 Novels with Different Versions of the Same Plot

I ordered a copy of Balzac’s ‘The Black Sheep’ (in translation, naturally; my French isn’t up to that!) from an online bookstore, and it didn’t turn up, so I have been thrown back on what unread books I have to hand... I am dismayed about the price of second hand paperbacks online. Before the pandemic, … Continue reading Writing 150 Novels with Different Versions of the Same Plot

‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ by Sarah J Maas: Certainly a Page Turner

I read ‘Court of Thorns and Roses’ by Sarah J Maas because I was intrigued by the praise given to it in the excellent book of writing advice ‘How to Write a Page Turner’ by Jordan Rosenfeld. The author was evidently drawn in by the series of which this is the first, and a great … Continue reading ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ by Sarah J Maas: Certainly a Page Turner

Purple Prose and a Rapist ‘Hero’: The Original Bodice Ripper: Review of ‘The Flame and the Flower’ by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

Marty-Stu rapes Mary-Sue and then they find a love so true… I am so glad that I have finished this (by the way, I read it for research: honestly!). I detested reading it; and it was epic length. The only reason I am not giving it one star is because an online friend of mine … Continue reading Purple Prose and a Rapist ‘Hero’: The Original Bodice Ripper: Review of ‘The Flame and the Flower’ by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

Some Popular Victorian Reading: ‘Jack Sheppard: A Romance ‘ by Harrison Ainsworth.

These last few days, I have been reading Harrison Ainsworth’s ‘Jack Sheppard.’  I knew little about this writer before, save that he wrote sensationalist literature at about the same time as Charles Dickens, including a novel called ‘Rookswood’ which reputedly featured a highly glamorised version of Dick Turpin. It seems that he was at one … Continue reading Some Popular Victorian Reading: ‘Jack Sheppard: A Romance ‘ by Harrison Ainsworth.

Formulaic Writing: Romantic Melodrama and Charles Garvice, ‘The Great Bad Novelist’.

I have written before on this blog about the terrible allure of bad writing, both good bad writing, that is, writing that is so bad it’s good – like ‘Rinaldo Rinaldini: Captain of Bandetti’  and frankly terrible writing. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been reading another late Victorian best seller by that writer … Continue reading Formulaic Writing: Romantic Melodrama and Charles Garvice, ‘The Great Bad Novelist’.

Book Titles: Choosing a Title and some Good, Bad, and Indifferent Titles from Classic Novels

Titles are always difficult to decide on. This is all the more of a challenge, as the conventional wisdom of innumerable writers websites says you have to have an outstanding one that will make your readers want to start reading at once: – not an easy task. Well, I find them difficult, anyway. I was … Continue reading Book Titles: Choosing a Title and some Good, Bad, and Indifferent Titles from Classic Novels

Writing, Real Life Events, and the Works of Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Georgette Heyer and Louisa M Alcott

Writers, of course, would not be human if many of the circumstances of their lives did not affect their fiction. Even writers of the fantastic must combine these impressions with the imaginative creations in their books. The authors world of fantasy is to some extent part of his or her particular ‘take’ on reality, his … Continue reading Writing, Real Life Events, and the Works of Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Georgette Heyer and Louisa M Alcott

Mary Stewart, Romantic Suspense, and Her Quote on ‘The anti-brigade, the dirt brigade, the sicks and the beats’.

  "I don't want any one made troubled or unhappy by anything I've written; perhaps 'depressed' and 'hurt' are better words." She expressed her disgust with the "anti" trend of the 1950s, "all the 'anti' brigade, the dirt brigade, the sicks and the beats." This is a quote (or rant) from a writer who created … Continue reading Mary Stewart, Romantic Suspense, and Her Quote on ‘The anti-brigade, the dirt brigade, the sicks and the beats’.