Yesterday I finished, for all intents and purposes, the second draft of Road to Murder. Well, it was today, technically, around two in the morning – but still. I finished the second draft. Continue reading
Once upon a time – not long after our shared College years, I believe – my friend Fenella and I discovered a mutual liking for Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley. Now I’m sure you know how Shirley is rather the Cinderella among Charlotte’s novels – her one historical, written, at least in part, as a form of escapism while her siblings died one after another, and generally regarded as a lesser oddity.
Still, what can I say? I like it, with its background of faraway Napoleonic wars, and of Luddite unrest at home. I even like the unevenness of the whole. And I like the characters – even more than the eponymous girl (a heavily fictionalised portrait of Charlotte’s sister Emily), the quieter Caroline Helstone, and half-Belgian businessman Robert Moore. Continue reading
Will it sound awfully cliché if I wonder, is it just me, or do years grow shorter and shorter as I grow older? Because… well, once upon a time, I used to draw my yearly sums, so to speak, at the end of December. A most sensible notion, you’d think, and a fairly common one. Continue reading
Yes, yes – in the end I found it.
We talked about that quote of Bernard Malamud, didn’t we? The one about stories, stories, stories, the one I was sure I’d jotted down and never found again – not in old notebooks, not in the Web… That one.
Well, as was bound to happen, I found it in the end. Continue reading
Ages ago, I was dragged into one of those meme things… I must confess I always go very reluctantly about those. After all, why would anyone want to know ten things about me, or what music I have on my iPod, or where would I like to travel…
This one, though, was about writing – and when it comes to writing and reading, we’ve long established that I have no control whatever. So I did the meme on my Italian blog. It was about writing obsessions – those recurring themes one writes about again and again, intentions, obdurate passions – half guiding lights, half Trade Winds… we all have a handful of those, right? Continue reading
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
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