All posts filed under: Notes on writing

Leonid Pasternak

Five years a blockhead

My first blog, These Islands, was five years old last month. Though it’s not exactly my first blog — I had a couple of false starts which are best not mentioned here. In any case, this anniversary seems a good time to consider why I still blog.

Dry Garden in Ryoanji

Minimalist fiction

Blake Crouch’s 2016 novel Dark Matter is a page-turner, no doubt about it. It’s the first novel I’ve read that uses the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics as a plot device. This is a tricky matter to handle in fiction.

Hitchcock-Strangers-on-a-Train

The almost incredible

Anyone who admires Patricia Highsmith’s fiction will forgive her this fondness for the ‘almost incredible’ and will find these coincidences perfectly believable in the settings and atmospheres she conjures. Coincidences are stitched into the fabric of life and we have all experienced them, though perhaps not as frequently and significantly as the inhabitants of fictional worlds.

Charles Baudelaire

Portraits in words

A couple of novels I read recently got me thinking about character descriptions. From my own reading, admittedly a small sample size, I have the impression that fiction writers are making their character descriptions much more frugal than used to be the case.