Category Archives: writing

From “I’ll Be With You In the Squeezing of a lemon”

Of course, this is Elizabeth David at her best. Her piece starts off in great style

In 1533 the Company of Leathersellers offered Henry the Eighth and Anne  Boleyn a great banquet  to celebrate Anne’s coronation on Whit Sunday in Westminster Hall. Among the princely luxuries which graced the feast was one lemon, one only, for which the Leathersellers had paid six silver pennies.

I love Elizabeth David’s style. Still fresh after quite a few years.


Slumming it at the Romantic Novelists Association Summer Party

Those in the know call it the RNA. It has a summer party coming up in May in London.

Here is a scene from the 2012 event

What a great setting for a scene from a surrealistic spy thriller!  Yes! The villain has found the perfect disguise! Meanwhile, one of the nice ladies develops a crush on our hero who is undercover. Could this be the beginning of that long awaited great American novel?

Stay tuned!

Writing: The History of Connection Stories

The adventure story is one of the oldest genres of story telling. The Illiad, Oddysey, and so on. The form is very, very simple. Create a problem – launch the hero’s quest and build to climax and reward.

It is primarily meant for men. Why? Because the connections in the story are primarily functional — more about the story than the connection itself.

But women are more interested in exploring connection than men. And the connection story is different than the adventure story. In the connection story, we start with the heroine being perilously alone. She (heroes in this story are usually women).  She must choose but without knowing whether the choices she makes will work out. The story may end happily or not.

Lucy Worsley talks about how this genre evolved in England. Check it out! Par one puts Jane Austen into context.

Writing as Getting Out of the Way

I was thinking last night about Spencer Tracy. Not so much about his movies — and these are very good. I was thinking instead about advice he gave on how to act  in front of a movie camera. I can’t remember who asked him, but I do recall his advice, “show up on time, know your lines and don’t bump into the furniture”.  As it turns out, the same advice has been attributed to quite a few others. But for me, it fits with the way Tracy performed.

A parallel idea applies to writing. The more I interject myself into what I write, the harder I find it to write at all. I do much better when I feel like an idea is much bigger than I am. Then all I need to do is to get out of the way so it flows out of my head and onto the page.

Waugh claimed that he had four or five great stories in his head all waiting to be let out. Wow!