What’s in a name?

Names are a funny thing. As I know a lot of teachers, professionally and in my own family, it’s sometimes a topic of conversation – how someone can live up to their name without even knowing it. If you’ve got a Tyler in your class, beware! Emilys will usually be sweet and quiet, at least early on, and then you’ve got the more quirky – I once taught a class that had a Willow and a Branch in it! Of course, there are exceptions, but names are very powerful things – in old stories and ancient mythology, to know someone’s …

In defence of the blockbuster

The Atlantic has an interesting article in defence, really, of Stephen King. Essentially, it says that despite the fact his prose is neither beautiful nor poetic, he writes excellent stories that are worth reading. That’s not exactly full of praise, but I suppose it’s a start: What’s not really arguable, I think, is that such tales are worth writing and worth reading, even if beauty of language and subtlety of characterization get sacrificed along the way. Not all stories have to do the same things. In the original argument over at the Los Angeles Review of Books, the debate was …

Children’s fantasy worlds

This article by the Guardian – Children’s Books Reflect Harsh Reality – has some definitely interesting points to it. It’s been written in response to an article “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: Challenging the Mythology of Home” published in the Journal of Children’s Literature which suggests that instead of coming home to a loving, secure environment – albeit one that’s been temporarily disrupted by evil step-parents, witches or smugglers, that children instead have homes which have problems of abuse, children taking on the parental role, and so on. Parents are either “ineffective, amoral or confusing” or at best “loving but traumatised” …

Rewriting endings

Rewriting stories is always the hardest part for me. Editing your own work is always difficult. Not the proof-reading or checking the spelling – although there, too, it’s always difficult to read what you’ve written instead of what you intended to write – but the fundamental plotline or needing to know a character better (or less!). As a writer, you know a lot more than the reader needs to but communicating it, or holding it back, is a really difficult balance. There are other reasons for rewriting as well, one of which I’m working with at the moment.

Locked In

Just one of the research materials for the story I’m currently working on! It seems like a horrifying idea – that you can be completely conscious, even feeling whatever is going on, and yet not be able to communicate or move in any way. Everything you did would be at the whim of someone else, who might not even believe that you were able to hear or see them. Woman’s recovery from ‘locked-in’ syndrome