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Tuesday 30 August 2022

A plotline you refuse to read/watch and why

 This particular topic from Long and Short Reviews was fairly straightforward, as one plotline immediately leapt to mind. There may well be more if I give it some thought, but I think most will be connected to this one.


I'm not saying it's impossible to include it in a story and have it be good, but all too often I've seen this lovingly lingered on by the writer and it drives me mad. I put down a historical novel once not because the heroine was a victim of rape, but because it was constantly mentioned in every chapter - her parents used it to blackmail her and her rapist was always hanging around her, and after four chapters of this I simply gave up.

Another instance was a TV drama about a couple who liked to spice up their sex life by typing up the wife in her underwear in a public place and have the husband pretend to find her there. According to the description in the Radio Times, the tied-up wife is horrified when her husband's car pulls up and another man gets out and approaches her. That may have been an excellent episode, but my immediate response was "Nope!" I don't want to watch it and I don't want to read about it.

So which plotline do you refuse to read or watch?

Monday 22 August 2022

Bookmark, scrap paper or dog-ear?

 I can already see this topic from Long and Short Reviews will be a polarising one. I've seen many posts about how people hate people who dog-ear their books.

Fortunately, as I have a Kindle, it's not usually a problem. However, I do occasionally collect signed copies of books, so I have on occasion read hardbacks or paperbacks. But no, I don't dog-ear the pages. I don't have any bookmarks, so I generally use a piece of scrap paper.

Or, horror of horrors, I just leave the book open, which I'm sure does terrible things to the spine.

So what do you prefer - bookmark, scrap paper or dog-ear?

Tuesday 16 August 2022

Where would you spend one day in the past?

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was an easy one. I spend a lot of time going to the theatre and have an ambition to see every Shakespeare play in the theatre at least once (I've seen them all streamed, but have about ten left to see live). 

So if I was going to spend a day in the past, I would go to the original Globe Theatre and see Shakespeare as it was originally shown.

I would love to see how similar the atmosphere is to the current Globe, and would also love to hear how Shakespeare's language was pronounced back then. There are definitely a few rhymes in there which don't work in current idiom but may have been different back in the day.

So where would you spend a day in the past?

Monday 8 August 2022

Thoughts on fanfiction

 I'm glad this topic came up on Long and Short Reviews, because it's one I've mentioned a few times in interviews. Whenever I'm asked how a person might learn to write, I tell them one of my best teaching tools was fanfiction. Specifically slash fanfiction.

It might not sound like a great tool - fanfiction is, by its nature, amateur, and so some of the stories posted online aren't great quality. However that didn't matter - I found them very useful. It was good to be able to read a story and analyse why I liked it or didn't like it, or how I enjoyed it but couldn't help noticing its flaws. 

This one is so poetically written I gave up halfway through.

This one is enjoyable, but uses the word "release" in nearly every sentence.

This one is obsessed with food and stops the action every chapter to rave about what the characters are eating.

As a result, when I started writing for publication I was aware of a lot of the pitfalls already, although I admit that some of them (like overusing one particular word) are still easy to fall into.

I haven't read any fanfiction for a while, but I may have to have a look - I'm sure there are lots of new ones out by now.

So how do you feel about fanfiction?

Tuesday 2 August 2022

Weirdest food you love

 I spent a bit of time thinking about this one from Long and Short Reviews, because my bar for thinking a food is weird is set very high. I have a broad palate and will try anything once, so I was struggling to think of anything that I loved and yet also considered weird - the few things that I did feel were weird (like jellied eels and pigs' trotters) I also didn't like.

So the best I could come up with was that I like to mix different cuisines within the same meal. I've often been called weird for that, because for many people if they're eating Thai, then they're eating Thai for the whole meal. I, on the other hand, am quite happy to start a meal with larb, move on to fish and chips and cap it with a glass of plum wine or apple ice cider, thereby going round the world in one evening.

So what's the weirdest food you love?