Tax-rolls for the names, the Agas Map of London, rope (or not rope) ferries, lute music, woodcuts and their elements, leagues and miles, Estienne’s Guide des Chemins de France, post horses, ruffs and collars, the (not very long) way from the Quai des Bernardins to the Rue des Anglais in Paris, the right way to take a bow, original frontispieces, light hours in November, and Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day, Cadiz 1596, wives inheriting, Channel crossings, Thomas Platter… Continue reading
Do they ever ask you Where Do You Find Ideas?
Hereabout, it happens all the time. It is one of the Three Questions:
1. How much of yourself is there in this story?
2. How long does it take you to write a novel?
3. Where/how do you find your ideas? Continue reading
So… how is it going? #StoryADayMay, I mean…
I must say that…well. I suppose you could say that technically speaking, having completed my fifteenth story last night, I’m still on my chosen course of at least three stories a week.
And that’s good.
But… but. Continue reading
Because six days are not a week, you know – and yesterday was Day 6, and I haven’t got yet to story-time today. Still, six days, six first drafts. So far so good – all the more because I’m not entirely unsatisfied with what I’ve written.
We may all have somehow hoped, at least at the very beginning, that the skeptics would end up being right, when they said that in a couple of weeks all would peter out into awkward silence and the next Big Thing…
But they weren’t – and now the whole of Italy is tightly quarantined. To be out and about without documented necessity is a criminal offence, these days, and even to go to the grocer’s you need a written and signed statement to that effect. I’m not complaining, mind – not in the least. It has to be done – and, if it must work, it has to be done thoroughly. Continue reading
I love Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine the Great – and by that I mean the first of the two parts. It may be rougher around the edges than his later work, but it’s breathlessly fiery. With his blank iambic pentameter, with the historical subject-matter, and his unpunished bloodthirsty hero, the boy (all of twenty-three at the time) was breaking ground in many ways – and knew it well. Continue reading
Oh, look – the end of November!
The end of November, when I usually wrap up my writing year, and take stock of it. This year… well, this year things might be a wee bit different – but I’ll get there.
First, the writing year – the good and the bad of it… Continue reading
Until a few years ago – say a decade or so – in a village not far from here, the old, old tradition of Meeting March was still very much alive: on the last night of February, young and old armed themselves with pans, and ran around making all the din they could, to scare away Old Winter.
It was good fun, older than the hills, quite pagan – and nobody found it a particular reason for scandal… Continue reading
Many years ago, when I was young and carefree, I thought up, together with a friend, the notion for a writing group called the Three Pages Club.
This is how it was meant to work: once every two months, one of the members would propose three rules. Any kind of rules: content, form, restrictions, theme, mandatory elements, style, tone… anything. Continue reading