Review of ‘Comin’ Thro’ the Rye’ by Helen Mathers (1875): Victorian Melodrama with an Horrific Victorian Patriarch

I can't find the edition I read, which is certainly at least 120... I’ve written before about how my parents renovated rambling country houses, and the problem of those many empty bookshelves my mother filled up with bargain job lots from auctions, which often consisted of late Victorian and early Edwardian popular fiction. That was … Continue reading Review of ‘Comin’ Thro’ the Rye’ by Helen Mathers (1875): Victorian Melodrama with an Horrific Victorian Patriarch

Post Two on Albert Zuckerman’s quote: ‘What counts in judging a character for the reader is what we actually see the character do, as opposed to what is said about him.”

In my previous post, I was writing about Albert Zuckerman's quote and its applicability to questionable anti-heroes, or heroes who convert from anti-heroes into actual heroes in stories. I mentioned how often readers in general are happy to discount these characters' former shabby or downright hateful deeds, as long as they are not described graphically … Continue reading Post Two on Albert Zuckerman’s quote: ‘What counts in judging a character for the reader is what we actually see the character do, as opposed to what is said about him.”

Albert Zuckerman: ‘What counts in judging a character for the reader is limited to what we actually see the character do, as opposed to what is said about him.’

The quote is, of course, from Zuckerman's book 'Writing the Block Buster Novel'. It is made with reference to a certain Don Corleone. Zuckerman is showing how Puzo makes him sympathetic. That general advice is very good, but I was particularly fascinated by this quote in particular, as it is so astute, and explains an … Continue reading Albert Zuckerman: ‘What counts in judging a character for the reader is limited to what we actually see the character do, as opposed to what is said about him.’

Cardboard Characters, Lovable, Rounded Characters, Larger Than Life Characters,and Mere Ciphers: How Sympathetic Must a Character Be to Keep You Reading?

In my last post, I was talking about my new fledged writer friend being upset at the savagery of a one star review (though she felt a bit better when I showed some of the fine specimens I have come by). Readers of this blog might remember that the main criticism was that her book … Continue reading Cardboard Characters, Lovable, Rounded Characters, Larger Than Life Characters,and Mere Ciphers: How Sympathetic Must a Character Be to Keep You Reading?

Characters in Classic Novels with Personality Disorders

Laughs are at a premium these days, what with the pandemic still going on as a second Christmas approaches.That being so, I thought I’d use my recent renewed interest in personality disorders by subjecting some classic characters in fiction to a bit of the dreaded lay analysis.If this post gives a few readers a laugh, … Continue reading Characters in Classic Novels with Personality Disorders

What Makes a Reader Empathise with a Lead Character is Often an Indefinable Combination of Things

Re-reading my favourite novel by Margaret Atwood, ‘Bodily Harm’, made me wonder, as I have done before, whether or not you have to identify strongly with the lead character to be really drawn in by a novel.I like the main character, Renny Wilford, well enough – I like her courage, and her detached, cool humour. … Continue reading What Makes a Reader Empathise with a Lead Character is Often an Indefinable Combination of Things

Drama and Melodrama in Some Classic Victorian Novels

      When writing tales of terror, it can be difficult to keep balanced along the thin line between the terrifying and the ludicrous – as I have commented in a previous post ‘The Thin Line Between the Gothic and the Absurd’.     It is nearly as difficult at times to maintain that balance between drama and … Continue reading Drama and Melodrama in Some Classic Victorian Novels

Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘Mary Barton’: A Harrowing Depiction of Poverty in the UK of the Early Industrial Revolution.

I have recently been re-reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘Mary Barton’. I thought I had long since written a review of it; it seems not. This is, of course, Elizabeth Gaskell’s first novel, published in 1847. It established her reputation as a writer who sympathized with the poor and oppressed, the workers in industrial Lancashire who were … Continue reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘Mary Barton’: A Harrowing Depiction of Poverty in the UK of the Early Industrial Revolution.