Author Archives: Lita

About Lita

I write, read, think, write, love, write, live. I write about: Books and courses I've found helpful Non-fiction and fiction books I love Other stuff that gets my motor going

Post #2: The 14 Elements of Story

I do hope Katie will share some more of her wisdom, this sounds engaging.

THAT KATIE COONEY

“What are the essential elements of a good book?”

Two years ago, if I’d been asked that, I would have babbled the following example of rapier wit: “Uh, conflict? Characters? Oh, plot too! And a strong theme.” (I would’ve tacked on theme to sound extra knowledgeable and impressive.)

“And why are they essential? What do those terms mean? How do you create them? What makes them essential?”

To this, I would’ve responded by ripping up my notebook, throwing it into the air, then vanishing in a cloud of crappy writing.

I knew the terms. But I didn’t have a clue what they meant. I somehow believed that knowing them was enough. This is ludicrous to say, but it didn’t feel ludicrous. While reading a book or watching a movie, we instinctively know what’s good and what’s bad; consuming stories is as natural as breathing. So learning that we don’t understand…

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50th Day in Lockdown

We’re keeping busy creatively and practically while we limit our exposure to the daily news bulletins. We’re aware that the virus has our species at the top of its ‘tasty snack’ list, regardless of status, creed, or colour, so we’re staying as safe as possible.

Birds who are resident in surrounding trees, and burrowing, foraging animals who are raising their young in back gardens are a constant, and comforting reminder that we humans share the environment with them, we don’t own it.

We have much to be grateful for, and we truly are.

Mothering Sunday

image from gardenia.net

I grew up without parents. Mothering Sunday meant nothing until I met my best beloved’s mother in 1971. She taught me everything I know about love, compassion, endurance, and the simple joys of life. She was such a gift to the world. Her favourite flowers were freesias. She was gathered in 1996, just before her 80th birthday. Every now and then, the scent of freesias is in the air even when there are none around. With the logical part of my brain, I know an olfactory memory has been stimulated. In my soul, there’s the comforting, fragrant warmth of love from my mother-in-law.

Book Review: The Shining by Stephen King

I might read this myself, now I’ve read this review… 🙂

I doubt this book needs any introduction, but just in case: Family moves into hotel to look after it on the off-season. Hotel is haunted. Family becomes hotel victims.

I really like King’s writing style for this. It’s a much shorter book than IT which I recently read, and feels more akin to The Dark Tower series in the pacing and flow. There’s lots of background story and scene setting, but it’s done with a different kind of grace and speed. I really like it.

I think however, that this book has become a victim of it’s own legacy. I went in as blind as I could be, but I had of course heard of the book. And I’d heard about the book.

I’ve heard it’s the scariest book ever. I’ve heard of people who had to stop reading it. I’ve heard of people who had nightmares for weeks after…

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The Main Protagonist

The Main Protagonist in a novel is the character who is going after the Main Story’s objective.

To a huge number of writers this has been obvious from the moment they picked up their quill to pen a fabulous Bard-like opus.

I’ve been writing short stories since the age of eight. I’m now 73, and I just truly understood this a couple of days ago, as I revised a scene in the eighth draft of my first novel.

It came about when I realised that two other characters had been going after the main story’s objective, before my main character was pulled in and had to take over.

The main character at the top of my novel is the one through whose lens the story is experienced and narrated. When she is pulled into the main story, she merges with the protagonist’s role and takes on the challenge of driving the main story and going after the objective.

My three favourite writing sites:

danieldavidwallace.com

stormwritingschool.com

hollyswritingclasses.com

Book Review: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

A great take on Wilde’s strange novel.

I finally got around to reading this, after having it sitting on my shelf for far too long, and I have to say I’m happy I’ve read it.

It’s only the third ‘classic’ I’ve read, after 1984 and Lord of The Flies (according to a list I found online) and though I like this book, it’s probably at the bottom of the list out of those three.

I want to say I went in pretty much blind, other than knowing Dorian Gray has a magic picture of himself that grows old instead of him. That’s all I knew and that’s what intrigued me about the book; the story sounds really, really interesting.

Wilde’s writing on the other hand, is a struggle for me. Sure, it’s lavish and beautiful, and I’ll admit he has a way with words and a way of turning a phrase that is quite admirable. He is…

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