The word knob 1

The word knob

It’s been a long time since I’ve heard someone use the word knob – as in ‘you knob’, ‘you idiot’ – let alone write it. So when it popped up recently in a student’s assignment, I was intrigued. Was the word making a come-back? Decades ago, in the early 1960s, it was common coinage among …

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Who’s who of SA crime fiction 2

Who’s who of SA crime fiction

This who’s who of South African crime fiction features novels by writers working in English or translated into English who set their novels in southern Africa. Under the broad category of crime fiction, I have included a number of adventure writers – Wilbur Smith, Geoffrey Jenkins, Alan Scholefield, Siegfried Stander, Jon Burmeister, Tony Park – …

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Food for thought 4 4

Food for thought 4

Food for thought: Well, not food at all but drink. Because, let’s face it, there’s a lot of drinking that happens in novels. I really like associating my characters with a type of drink and often the brand too. It adds to characterisation. In the series with Fish and Vicki, Fish goes for IPAs, particularly …

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Searching for Sarah 5

Searching for Sarah

Lawyer, writer, blogger. Dominique Malherbe is a name to be reckoned with. I’ve known her for a number of years and watched her reputation grow. And now comes her biography/memoir, Searching for Sarah (from Tafelberg). It’s her third book, following two memoirs  – From Courtrooms to Cupcakes and Somewhere in Between. But memoirs are one …

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Food for thought 3 6

Food for thought 3

Food for thought: it’s a touchy subject cannibalism because if anything speaks of extreme characterisation (Hannibal Lecter, for instance) then it is those characters who eat other characters. I came across this issue while writing Power Play. I was using Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus as the vague outline for a plot. As you know, there’s a …

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The writing process 4 7

The writing process 4

The writing process can get off to a slow start. You might wander around for hours, days, weeks, trying to find a way into your story. So, with the Writing Reality course a week away, a good topic is the agony of the beginning. Let’s assume you’ve done the research, transcribed your voice recordings, organised …

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The writing process 3 8

The writing process 3

Two weeks ago (in The Writing process 1), I quoted extensively from John McPhee’s excellent book, Draft No. 4 , about the writing process in general. This week, for those keen to join the WriteOnline Writing Reality course on 29 March, I thought it an especially good time to tap the brain of John McPhee …

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The writing process 2 9

The writing process 2

With the start of the WriteOnline Writing Fiction course next week, I thought it a good idea to talk about an essential aspect of the writing process: characters. We all know that characters make novels: think, Oliver Twist, Mrs Dalloway, Molly Bloom, John Rebus, Pilgermann, Sethe, Piggy. We remember those novels by their characters; possibly …

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The writing process 1 10

The writing process 1

It’s never too late to learn, especially when it comes to the writing process. From my start-out days, I’ve had a copy of E M Forster’s Aspects of the Novel, which every novelist should read, at my elbow. More lately, I’ve been reading books on the writing process by contemporary authors. These books are hugely …

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