Dramatis Personae

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Many novels, particularly the lengthier multi-volumes in the fantasy field, are packed with characters, some major, some minor, others appearing so intermittently that they can be easily forgotten. Many readers will remember a full cast list with no problem; they simply go with the flow and, especially with a well-written story that has an engaging narrative, hardly ever need to check the list of characters, or dramatis personae. Nevertheless, having something that can be referred to when you’re unsure just who is who can be invaluable. Think Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones and you can see what I mean. Or you may be reading mainstream or crime or any other genre: the arguments for the dramatis personae may still apply.

Read more in our Tips and Advice section on how the dramatis personae may help the writer.

 

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Water Spaniels?

Penkhull Press author frequently includes dogs in her fiction. Here, she writes about a particular breed — Water Spaniels.

“For those of you that don’t know, an Irish Water Spaniel is quite a rare creature. It looks a little like a poodle, with a brown curly coat. Unlike poodles, however, they have a bare chest and a thin whip like tail, which they wag with great enthusiasm. It is best not be anywhere near striking rage of these because they can really hurt. They also have a silky fringe which covers their eyes. Eyes which can be as melting as chocolate, or as evil as a large puddle of stinking mud.”

Misha Herwin

water-spaniel

Yesterday I was at a dog show. It was an open show for Irish Water Spaniels and it set me thinking about the breed and the part these dogs play in  my books.

For those of you that don’t know, an Irish Water Spaniel is quite a rare creature. It looks a little like a poodle, with a brown curly coat. Unlike poodles, however, they have a bare chest and a thin whip like tail, which they wag with great enthusiasm. It is best not be anywhere near striking rage of these because they can really hurt. They also have a silky fringe which covers their eyes. Eyes which can be as melting as chocolate, or as evil as a large puddle of stinking mud.

Even the most loving and devoted of owners admit that these dogs have “character” which is, in the dog world, an euphemism for being bloody…

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Casting Stories Adrift

One of the oddest things about writing fiction, be that novels or short fiction, is that you never know where it will end  up, or how it might return to you – if ever. With that in mind, I was very surprised when I was contacted this week by The Valkenswaard  War Cemetery, asking about my uncle who is buried there. I never knew him, of course, because Pvt Alfred Gedded Graham 2nd Bn. Middlesex Reg. was killed during operation ‘Market Garden’ (?) in October 1944 – some 10 years before I was born – and was buried in this tiny war cemetery…

 

To read more of Jan Edwards’ intriguing story pop over to her blog.

Jan is the author of two Penkhull Press books: Sussex Tales and Fables & Fabrications. Click on the titles to learn more.

 

How to get published

WRITE TIME: HOW TO GET PUBLISHED WITH RENEGADE WRITERS.

FRIDAY 30 SEPTEMBER 2016. 3.00 pm-5.00 pm

As part of the Live Age Festival, there is  a panel and Q & A session with local writers and publishers who have first hand experience of the pressures of publication. If you need help navigating the complicated world of book publishers, come and ask the people who know! 

THIS IS A FREE EVENT BUT PLEASE BOOK.

Venue: Mitchell Arts Centre, Broad St, Hanley, Stoke (1st Floor Meeting Room)

FURTHER DETAILS CAN BE FOUND HERE

 

 

Mapping your story

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Peter Coleborn considers the value of maps.

Perhaps  you are writing a fantasy novel in which your characters travel across a fantastical realm. Or a science fiction story set on a strange planet in a far off galaxy. An early question that comes to your mind: do you need a map? The short answer is … yes! I would go further and say that you require a map, or a plan, for almost any book or story you tackle, no matter the genre. It is vital that you – the author of the piece – understand the topography of your world, you know which route your characters need to take when travelling from A to B and all places beyond.

Read the essay in our Tips and Advice section.

 

 

Walking & Meditation

Penkhull author Jan Edwards considers meditation:

When walking to the High Street I sometimes (health allowing) make a slight detour through the church yard. It is a beautifully peaceful place whatever the season. It is a place where I often indulge in a walking meditation, and is frequently a place where plotting problems in writing can become clear – and/or inspire new work.

A few days ago I took my camera to capture its beauty – set as it is in the depths of the moorlands. It was a second shot of the church from the hillside cemetery that reminded me of a book title…

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The Two Towers!

The second spire (left hand) is the famous Pugin Church, rising from beyond the CofE Parish Church. Both are named St Giles – go figure!  Is it me or does the Pugin spire always reminds other folks of a Vorlon spaceship?

Pop over to her blog to read the full essay and check out the photos.

 

Why Do I Write?

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Penkhull author Misha Herwin asks “Why do I write?”

I’ve talked about my book at “Hot Air” the literary festival in Stoke-on-Trent, where I live: set up a Facebook page: sent out a pre-publication news-letter: searched the internet for bloggers who review women’s fiction: given out review copies: talked to everyone and anyone I’ve met and have just invited friends and neighbours to the first of a number of celebratory tea/mini launch at my house at the end of July. (There will be more such events, living room is too small to have everyone at the same time.) There will be coffee, cake and wine, hopefully followed by a few book sales.

Much as I enjoy all this, there are also the moments of panic familiar to all the writers I know about whether their book is good enough to see the light of day, let alone be read by the thousands/millions of readers we are hoping for.

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