Monthly Archives: July 2018

Genres of Literature – Varsity or Campus Novel


campus

Although these two ‘titles’ are dependent on subject rather than genre, I have merged them into one. As you can see the definitions are very alike.

In a varsity or campus novel, the main action is set in and around the campus of a university.  The varsity novel focuses on the students rather than faculty, while the campus novel centers on the faculty. The novels are told from the viewpoint of a faculty member or, of course from a student’s point of view. The novels can be comic or satirical and often counterpoint intellectual pretensions and human weaknesses. These narrative are also called academic novels. The novels exploit the fictional possibilities created by the closed environment of the university, with idiosyncratic characters inhabiting unambiguous hierarchies. They may describe the reaction of a fixed socio-cultural perspective (the academic staff) to new social attitudes (the new student intake).

This genre is largely an Anglophone tradition. Mary McCarthy’s The Groves of Academe (1952)  is usually thought to be the first campus novel. However there are others predating that. Examples include Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse Blue and Stephen Fry’s The Liar and Making History. 

Although the genre may seem limited because of the location, there are numerous characters to utilize with their backgrounds, personalities and ambitions enabling an author to create dozens of possibilities.

Do you have a varsity novel favorite?

Brideshead Revisited is mine by far, with it’s social expectations and damaging secrets.

 

 

 

 

Author Interview Sarah Nachin


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sarah

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing definitely energizes me. I get so wrapped up in my writing sometimes that I lose track of time.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

My writing Kryptonite is disorganization and procrastination.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

No. I like my name. It’s kind of different and I want people to get to know me as a writer under that name.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Jerry Cowling is a published author who has helped me immensely when it comes to editing my books. Archie Scott is another writer. I can bounce ideas off him and he has a wealth of knowledge on many subjects which broadens my horizons.

camel

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Each book I’ve written has been in a different genre, so for the most part they stand alone. However, I am planning a sequel to my first book, so there will be a tie-in between the first book and the sequel.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Traveling to Europe, which became the inspiration for my third book.

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Having my parents help me write reports when I was in grade school and having them show me how to use my imagination to make the reports more interesting.

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

“A Prayer for Owen Meany.” It’s not well-known, but it really moved me.

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

An eagle because they soar high in the sky and symbolize freedom

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Three

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

Having people appreciate and enjoy my work

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  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I haven’t really done any research for any of my books. My first two were based on interviews with people I met. My third book was based on my experiences traveling in Europe. 

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

On the average two-three hours a day.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

Only one of my books is fiction. I selected fairly common names that were similar to the names of the actual people I based the characters on. 

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

Since all my books are either non-fiction or fiction based on actual experiences, I really haven’t had any difficult scenes to write because I didn’t have to really imagine the circumstances. They were actual events.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I feel very comfortable writing non-fiction, but I am spreading my wings, so to speak, and branching out into fiction. I like the change of pace that fiction offers – the fact that I can use my imagination, so it’s not difficult to balance the different genres. 

long

  1. How long have you been writing?

Since I was about 10 years old

  1. What inspires you?

People and events inspire me, especially people who have overcome odds and accomplished something. Events that have shaped our world also inspire me.   

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

I get up early in the morning and write while I’m fresh and don’t have any distractions.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m working on a self-help book and also an historical novel.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

Finishing my self-help book and my novel and writing a cookbook. 

  1. Share a link to your author website.

I don’t have a website, but my Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/Sarah-J-Nachin-Author-273249936028795/

Also here is the link to my books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=sarah+nachin

Bio:

Sarah J. Nachin is an author, freelance writer, speaker and blogger. Her most recent book is the “The Odyssey of Clyde the Camel” She has also published two non-fiction works. “Ordinary Heroes, Anecdotes of Veterans”relates stories of men and women who served in the military during five decades of conflict – World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm. “The Long Journey,” co-authored with Felicia McCranie, is an inspiring story of a woman who grew up in the Philippines, immigrated to the United States and overcame almost insurmountable obstacles. Sarah J. Nachin also writes for two weekly newspapers and a chamber of commerce magazines produced by Heron Publishing. She has two blogs. Sarah also works as an editor and proof reader, specializing in working with writers whose native language is not English. She is a public speaker, as well.

Writing Prompt Wednesday


evocative

On Sunday I attended a writing workshop entitled Texture and Emotion in Your Writing.

It was an informative and fun afternoon and we all learned a lot about word usage and creating more evocative sentences.

I would like to share my responses to a couple of exercises and then you can have a go too.

Food: 10 minute exercise. Describe the meal. Taste/Smell/Colour/Feel

Angus and Bella have gone to an upscale restaurant for a special celebration. The menu consists of shrimp on skewers with a dipping sauce, a salad of baby spinach and fruit with a lemon dressing, steak, roasted potatoes and a green vegetable. 

The sizzling of hot fat spitting from the skillet of skewered shrimp heralded the arrival of their meal. There was a salty aroma as the shrimp cooked. A see-through sauce placed in the middle of the table, added a spicy smell – it’s flakes of chili visible as the liquid clung to each dipped shrimp. Vibrant spinach leave tossed with fruit glistened in white bowls and a citrus aroma from the dressing added to their watering mouths.

Thick steaks sat on oval plates, juices flowing with a meaty char-grilled lines. Roasted potatoes broke open from browned skin into fluffy white interiors. Sliced zucchini ribboned along the side with steaming broccoli and petit pois.

Odours/Smell: 5 minute exercise. Write a better, more evocative, sentence to replace the following.

Bob came in smelling of the barn.

Dusty and hot, Bob walked into the kitchen smelling earthy and of dried grass.

Verbs and Adjectives: 10 minute exercise. Make a more textured sentence so we know something more of his mood or purpose.

Ambrose stood in the dark doorway.

With his hat lowered on his head to hide his face, Ambrose stood in the shadows of the doorway, watching intently for the bedroom light to switch off. The tip of his cigarette glowed as he inhaled, the only evidence of his presence. The gun weighed heavily in his jacket pocket. When the light went out his heart pulsed harder and adrenaline flowed through his body.

Let’s see who can come up with other evocative sentences. Please share them in the comments.

Get that writing Muse working!

This quote explains it much better: “Good writing is supposed to evoke sensations in the reader – not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”
E.L. Doctorow

Genres of Literature – Speeches


 

speech writer

 

It can be argued that speeches are not strictly a literary genre, however a speechwriter requires the same writing skills and experience in formulating a well structured and informative speech for a diverse range of people as a non-fiction author covering a specific topic.

The definition is: a speechwriter is someone hired to prepare and write speeches that will be delivered by another person. They are employed by a variety of people, such as senior-level elected officials and executives in the government as well as in the private sector. They can also be employed to write for weddings and other social  occasions. Speechwriters specialize in a writing style that merges marketing, theater, public relations, sales, education and politics all in one presentation.

The actual process of writing a speech has several steps. Initially, they need to meet with the executive and the executive’s senior staff to determine the broad framework of points or messages that the executive wants to cover in the speech.  With this information they will then research the topic to flesh out this framework with anecdotes and examples. They must also consider the audience for the speech, which can range from a town-hall meeting of community leaders to an international leaders’ forum. Once this framework is created, the speechwriter blends the points, themes, positions, and messages from their research to create an “informative, original and authentic speech” for the executive. This draft is then presented to the client and the executive (or the executive’s staff) make notes, revisions or changes to it. If the speechwriter is familiar with the topic and the positions and style of the executive, only small changes may be required.

Credit for speeches is mainly contributed to the person making it rather than the speechwriter, much like a ghost writer. Their name may never appear in public or a credit given on paper. However, a good speechwriter will be known for their work in select circles, such as in a government setting.

Have you written speeches? 
Was it for a person setting or for a client?

royal-speechwriter

Author Interview – Jack Strange


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Jack Strange

 

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It energizes me the same way climbing a small mountain might energize you.

You’re exhausted by the effort but feel good about what you’ve done, so you have enough left in the tank to climb down – and do it over again the next day!

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

The mid-point of any novel. I always begin novels in a fever of excitement but half-way through I get bogged down and have to work really hard to keep going to the end. I suspect a lot of authors feel the same way.

Man Vice

  1. What’s the best thing you’ve written?

That would have to be my latest novel Manchester Vice.

I’m very proud of the positive reviews it’s had, including a great video review in “Words on Words” (The Eclectic Storm radio).

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Robert Bose and Axel Howerton of Coffin Hop Press have become good friends of mine. Rob edited my novel Manchester Vice and in the process taught me a lot about tightening up a narrative; Axel told me he liked my novel and because he’s a literature graduate that boosted my confidence no end!

I have a writer friend called Martin Mulligan who has a great way with words – he’s helped me get my sentences flowing better, just by being a good influence.

Confessions of an English Psychopath

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I’d like to build a body of work, but the books aren’t interconnected. There are probably common themes, though. My future critics and reviewers may one day work out what those themes are!

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Oh, such a good question! Probably the money I spent on the novel It Happened in Boston? By Russell H Greenan. That was the book most responsible for my decision to write novels myself. It was – is – a great read.

THATCHENSTEIN

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

My parents telling me off when I was little; my Dad in particular knew how to scare the hell out of me!

Later I began reading books by the likes of Harlan Ellison and began to get a feel for language from them.

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

It Happened in Boston? By Russell H Greenan. It’s well-written, well-plotted, has a compelling central character and a cast of wonderful secondary characters.

Zomcats

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

As a cat-lover it’d have to be a cat. That said, there’s a cat in my novel Manchester Vice which is drugged by its owner. I got a rap on the knuckles from a couple of reviewers for that part of the story!

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I always have a few on the go.

Right now I have a finished novella that’s looking for a publisher: I also have a novel that’s about two-thirds written; and two or three half-finished manuscripts I’ll be bringing to completion some time in the future.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

I’ll know it when I see it!

But seriously, I want the full enchilada: a substantial body of work, great reviews, and great sales figures.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I seldom do much research because my books are about personal relations so it’s a matter of drawing on experience, twisting it around, and using my imagination to transform it into something new, and, hopefully, entertaining.

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

I can’t put a figure on it. All I can say is as many as I can, other commitments permitting.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

With difficulty!

Names are important to me and I try hard to get them right. The old adage about a rose smelling just as sweet by any other name doesn’t seem to apply in fiction. People get a handle on a character through his name – at least in my view – so the name has to be right.

Chef Zombie

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

I wrote an attempted rape scene in one book.

I didn’t want it to be pornographic, or gratuitous, and I didn’t want to make the woman on the receiving and appear to be a victim.

Most difficult of all, I wanted women to be able to read it and feel comfortable with it, not see it as some kind of sexploitation scene.

For those reasons, that was the most difficult scene I’ve ever had to write.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I started out by reading sci-fi and horror when I was young. This pretty much doomed me to become a genre-writer with an emphasis on speculative fiction.

I write more than one genre (so far I’ve tried my hand at comedy horror and crime) but all my books could be classed as pulp fiction – or pulp with literary pretensions.

I like to grab the reader’s attention from the opening sentence and keep him or her hooked with cliff-hanger chapter endings and twisting plots right up to the final sentence.

As for how I balance them – pass. It’s instinctive, I guess – just like it was for the pulp writers of old.

  1. How long have you been writing?

As a serious fiction author – about 5 years now.

  1. What inspires you?  

Anything and everything, particularly people and anecdotes friends tell me. I often think, when somebody tells me a story about themselves, that with the right development it could become a written piece.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

I have to be ruthless, mainly with myself, and stop myself from goofing off doing other stuff. That’s my only secret. I think it’s every writer’s secret.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m very excited about the novel I’m two-thirds through, which I jokingly refer to as my bestseller. That’s because I’ve researched what kinds of book sell well, and I’m aiming to write one which falls squarely into a bestselling category.

That category is Domestic Noir – ie, a thriller in a domestic setting.

Everything else is taking a back seat at present.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

More domestic noir if the current project sells; and a sequel to my psychopath novel.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

https://jackdmclean.blogspot.com/

Thank you Mandy, I will. It’s been great talking to you!

Bio:

Jack is an English author, who loves genre fiction, particularly thrillers and horror, although he can find just about any genre fun, as long as the story grabs him and doesn’t let his attention go. Jack is not so big on literary fiction but has read the occasional classic.

Jack’s own writing tends to be dark and funny – or so he is told.

His interests are:
Reading (unsurprisingly), Writing (naturally), My own books (sorry!), 
Self-promotion (ok, I admit it, I can be a bit of a bore sometimes).
Walking, Strength training with body weight, Strength training with barbells, Fitness,
Judo, Boxing.  Jack’s home town is Huddersfield, which is in West Yorkshire, England.