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Ten Classic Ghost Stories

While writing some ghost stories myself, I have been re-reading some of the ones I came across years ago by way of inspiration. I found most of these in collections on my parents’ bookshelves. I’ve no doubt that some of them came as part of job lots from auctions, which my mother used to fill … Continue reading Ten Classic Ghost Stories

Re-reading ‘A Phantom Lover’ (or ‘Oke of Okehurst’ by Vernon Lee

    This is actually the third time I've read this, which has to be a compliment to the author. A fellow writer mentioned it not long ago, and the whole concept of a woman being infatuated with a ghost, and that made me eager to re-read it. I first read it in my early … Continue reading Re-reading ‘A Phantom Lover’ (or ‘Oke of Okehurst’ by Vernon Lee

Classic Writers and Everyday Life in the Historical UK

I always find it interesting how through reading fiction written by authors at about the time that the story is set, or shortly afterwards, you can get authentic background detail about various aspects of everyday life. This varies as to the social position of the author, of course, and how far he or she is … Continue reading Classic Writers and Everyday Life in the Historical UK

Review of Rhoda Broughton’s ‘The Game and the Candle’: A Romantic Novel With An Unhappy For Now Ending

These days, it is a firm convention of romantic novels that there must be a happy ending – otherwise, it confounds reader expectations. While some writers and readers hold out that a ‘happy for now’ is sufficient – ie, it is left up to the reader to decide whether the new found happiness between hero … Continue reading Review of Rhoda Broughton’s ‘The Game and the Candle’: A Romantic Novel With An Unhappy For Now Ending

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

Review of ‘Frenchman’s Creek’ by Daphne du Maurier: Not Up to Her Usual Standard With an Obnoxious Heroine and an Animus for a Hero

I have read several books by Daphne du Maurier and have admired her writing style, her evocative descriptions, her clever plotting, clarity of vision and her exploration of the darker passions. ‘Jamaica Inn’ was less of a favourite with me, as I didn’t take to the male lead Jem Merlin. For all that, I liked … Continue reading Review of ‘Frenchman’s Creek’ by Daphne du Maurier: Not Up to Her Usual Standard With an Obnoxious Heroine and an Animus for a Hero

Re-Reading ‘Edith’s Diary’ by Patricia Highsmith: A Fascinating Psychological Thriller

I read a few of Patricia Highsmith’s novels and some of her short stories when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I remember her as an astute writer, with a sense of grim comedy, an extraordinary sense of the complexities of the darker sides of the human psyche, and the ability to … Continue reading Re-Reading ‘Edith’s Diary’ by Patricia Highsmith: A Fascinating Psychological Thriller

Review of Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier: Vivid Atmoshere: A Shame About the Male Lead…

The atmosphere and the descriptions of the scenery were really good. The idea was original. It was well plotted overall. Generally, the characterisation is cleverly done. I also liked the heroine, who shows herself as generally brave and having integrity. I also liked the fact that the story was about ordinary people - well, they're … Continue reading Review of Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier: Vivid Atmoshere: A Shame About the Male Lead…

An Acronym for Remembering the Essential Points for Writing a Page Turner

< I made up an acronym while writing, to remind me of some essential points to remember when trying to write a page turner. FLASH. No; not as in a flasher. Actually, I suppose conjuring up an a mental image of one of those old school perverts would be as good a way to entertain … Continue reading An Acronym for Remembering the Essential Points for Writing a Page Turner

New Year’s Writing Resolution: Minimal Planning

It being New Year, and a time of resolutions – even during a dismal and lengthy pandemic – I am making several, and one in particular about writing. For those who have read my post a few weeks ago about ‘Planning for Pansters’ this will seem a bit of a repetition, because it is all … Continue reading New Year’s Writing Resolution: Minimal Planning