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Susanna Kearsley
Writer. Dreamer. Traveller. Mom.
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Sue, maybe the two-year-old you was just declaring a prescient love of Scotland? :-)
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2019 on Nae Fash, Nae Fear at Word Wenches
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It reminded me of that, too, Anne. And even with the boys in the cave, there was a diver lost. So few of these events end with the happiness that this one did. That's why I liked the story, when I found it. (Although now, being me, I'm curious to know more about Lieutenant Dooley...)
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2019 on Nae Fash, Nae Fear at Word Wenches
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Annette, I can only imagine how awful that first day of the New Year was for all of them--those on shore, and those at sea--and how wonderful it must have felt to get that message from Lieutenant Dooley that the men were safe. A scenario that has replayed, in various ways and with various outcomes, throughout human history, right to the present day. I'm glad this one ended happily.
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2019 on Nae Fash, Nae Fear at Word Wenches
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Glad you liked it, Stephanie! Hope 2019 brings you nothing but wonderful things.
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2019 on Nae Fash, Nae Fear at Word Wenches
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I enjoyed that one as well, Mary Jo. I like my happy endings :-)
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2019 on Nae Fash, Nae Fear at Word Wenches
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Fishermen at Sea, by J.M.W. Turner Susanna here, with a true-life New Year’s tale for you, from Aberdeen (well, properly from Footdee—pronounced “Fittie”—which is like a little early 19th century fishing village tucked within the city, by the harbour). So much of the news always seems to be negative, but even our forebears did their best to look for the positive. I came across this little gem in the Aberdeen Herald for Saturday, January 6, 1844 (courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive, of which I’ve been a member for several years). Rather than trying to paraphrase or summarize it, I’m... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Susanna here, running around as usual trying to get everything finished before Santa comes tonight, and, as usual, failing miserably. I had the best intentions of cleaning my house this year, and instead it looks like something from the TV show Hoarders. I’ve yet to excavate my kitchen table from under the piles of papers and books so we can eat dinner on it—and come to that, I’ve yet to get to the grocery store to buy the turkey to actually cook for our dinner. On top of which, I have two writing projects on the go, and Christmas cards... Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Karin, I agree. I think if we care about a character and are travelling through the story closely with them, then when they feel joy or fear or pain, we do, too. But THAT can be an even more difficult thing to manage, as a writer. Hmmm.... Maybe a topic for another post?
Toggle Commented Dec 7, 2018 on Shorthand at Word Wenches
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Mark Twain also has some good pieces of writing advice :-)
Toggle Commented Dec 7, 2018 on Shorthand at Word Wenches
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Thanks, Annette. I'm glad you liked the post. And yes, I did think, reading his rules, that they were very well suited to reporters as well--people with the daily job of conveying complex information in a few inches of column space. Reporters see things in real life, and we novelists see things in our imaginations, but we both have to find the right words to put on the page that will allow us to transfer those images to our readers. Thanks for pointing that out.
Toggle Commented Dec 7, 2018 on Shorthand at Word Wenches
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Thanks, Jeanne. It is, as you say, always a balance. Sometimes I like to wax rhapsodic over the landscapes I'm writing about, or the fabric of my heroine's gown...but sometimes I find I've been struggling and struggling to find the right phrases to describe something in detail, when it turns out that a single word would do the trick.
Toggle Commented Dec 7, 2018 on Shorthand at Word Wenches
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Mary, I'm glad our posts have led you to experiment with new recipes for your Instant Pot! Please let us know how your cranberry ketchup turns out.
Toggle Commented Dec 7, 2018 on Shorthand at Word Wenches
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Sorry to give you a headache, Anne! I think, fortunately, a lot of us writers tend to get to the point where we do our descriptions by instinct, more than anything. We look for those details that will cast those proper shadows, and put them in, and then in rewrite we look for the clutter that's getting in the way, and take it out again. Luckily, as with everything else in writing, there is no wrong way to do it, and each of us has our own style.
Toggle Commented Dec 7, 2018 on Shorthand at Word Wenches
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Very true, Kareni. And as I pointed out, even C.S. Lewis broke his own rule when it suited him :-)
Toggle Commented Dec 7, 2018 on Shorthand at Word Wenches
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Sue, you're quite right about styles having changed. I, too, have read and loved so many older novels that went on and on and on in their descriptive passages. I suppose I skimmed some bits--but sometimes I just sank into them, too, because the overall experience of reading those novels is different. It's a slower, more immersive and indulgent read than we're allowed with most modern books, and once I'm in that sort of novel, I just sort of go along with it :-)
Toggle Commented Dec 7, 2018 on Shorthand at Word Wenches
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As with most so-called rules of writing :-) But yes, C.S. Lewis was a marvellous wordsmith, and I loved reading his advice, which boils down to: communicate effectively and simply, and don't try to be flowery for the sake of it :-)
Toggle Commented Dec 7, 2018 on Shorthand at Word Wenches
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Lillian, that's a good point. I think it did work for me so well because I was a child when I first read it, and of course there was surrounding context--Lucy rode up to the battle on the lion Aslan's back, and there is mention of the flash of knives and swords, and of the armies being drawn up in two lines. But yes, the smallest amount of detail can be all it takes--that's what I meant when I talked about sketching a few lines instead of drawing a full picture. The set of a jaw and the slant of a sidelong glance tells me as much as a feature-by-feature description of a hero's face. You're absolutely right.
Toggle Commented Dec 7, 2018 on Shorthand at Word Wenches
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Susanna here. Last week, on November 29, this Tweet from Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown (my UK agency) crossed my timeline and caught my attention: C.S. Lewis was born 120 years ago today. His writing tips in this letter to a fan are as spot on now as they were when sent. “Instead of telling us a thing is terrible, describe it so we’ll be terrified”. Encapsulated in the Tweet was an image of a page on which were written five of Lewis's writing tips. For the benefit of people who might not be able to read them in the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Susanna here, still trying to figure out what time zone I'm in, having only just got back from a two-week-long research-and-business-and-more-research trip to the UK, the second week of which took me to London, where I had the very great pleasure of spending time with old friends and meeting new ones. Wednesday, November 14 was the date of the annual Winter Party held by the UK's Romantic Novelists' Association (of which I've proudly been a member for the past decade) and just before the party my American publishers, Sourcebooks, very generously hosted a special afternoon tea event where not only... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Quantum, I think every writers process is different. As with everything about writing, there is no one hard and fast rule when it comes to location research. For me, I have to be there--but it doesnt have to be for long. Sometimes I can gather the details Ill need for a place in a matter of hours. Other times, Ill need to return to the same location at different times, in different seasons. Interestingly, the one time I did take the giant step of moving house to the location I was writing about--in Wales, where I actually lived in the house where I was setting my story--was the only time my editor handed me back my manuscript and complained he couldnt see the landscape. I was too close to my subject--I had lost the outsiders eye. I had to regain it, and notice what it was about that part of Wales that made it special. Easier to do when youre a stranger, not a resident. Of course, when Im dealing with historical landscapes that have long since disappeared, I have to rely on travel diaries or paintings, but for the most part, nothing replaces the value of actually being there, walking the path of my characters. Sent from my iPhone
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2018 on Being There at Word Wenches
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Sue, you are most welcome. But I do hope you get a chance to come back in person. Scotland is the sort of place that lets you be--you can travel at your own pace, and there are even slower paced coach tours. In the meantime, though, Ill do my best to help you travel vicariously :-) Sent from my iPhone
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2018 on Being There at Word Wenches
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Thanks for sharing these, Shannon. Now I think I should have called my post Off the Path because thats such a nice way of describing it! Sent from my iPhone
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2018 on Being There at Word Wenches
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What a lovely discovery, Alison. The most unexpected treasures can be found tucked away down little side streets. Sent from my iPhone
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2018 on Being There at Word Wenches
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Lucky you, Beth Anne, to have friends in such a pretty place. And yes, this new novel, The Vanished Days, is a sort-of-prequel to The Winter Sea... Sent from my iPhone
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2018 on Being There at Word Wenches
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Hi Grace! Fortunately, there are no standing stones near where Im going...although I will be going somewhere rather special this coming weekend, and will try not to get lost in the woods there. Sent from my iPhone
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2018 on Being There at Word Wenches
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