The school story generally centers on older pre-adolescent and adolescent school life in the first half of the twentieth century. Other narratives do exist in other countries, but the most common theme is English boy or girl boarding schools reflecting the single-sex education typical until the 1950s. The focus is on friendship, honor and loyalty between pupils with plots involving sports events, bullies, secrets, rivalry and bravery.
The popularity declined after the Second World War, but remained popular in other forms, changing the focus to state run coeducational schools, and more modern concerns such as racial issues, family life, sexuality and drugs. The genre’s revival was due to the success of the Harry Potter series, with its many plot motifs.
The first boarding school story was The Governess, or The Little Female Academy by Sarah Fielding, published in 1749. A moralistic tale relaying the lives of nine girls in the school established aspects of the boarding school story repeated in later works. Fielding’s approach was imitated and used by both her contemporaries and other writers into the 19th century.
Even though children were not generally targeted until well into the nineteenth century, due to the concern of moral effects of novels on young minds, and so published narratives tended to lean towards moral instruction. The genre’s peak period was between the 1880s and the end of the Second World War, later comics featuring school stories became popular in the 1930s.
School stories do remain popular, with their shifting focus on more contemporary issues such as sexuality, racism, drugs and family difficulties. As we all know the Harry Potter series has revived the genre significantly, despite it’s fantasy conventions.
Do you (or did you) read school story novels/comics?
A Milesian tale is a genre of fictional story prominent in ancient Greek and Roman literature, it is a short story, fable, or folktale featuring love and adventure, usually of an erotic or titillating nature. It can be found in medieval collections of tales such as the Gesta Romanorum, the Decameron of Boccaccio, and the Heptameron of Marguerite of Navarre”.
One definition of this genre is: a type of first-person novel, a travelogue told from memory by a narrator, who every now and then would relate how he encountered other characters who in turn, told him stories, which he would then incorporate into the main tale through the rhetorical technique of narrative impersonation. This resulted in a complicated narrative fabric: a travelogue carried by a main narrator with numerous subordinate tales carried by subordinate narrative voices.
The best complete example of this would be Apuleius’s The Golden Ass, a Roman novel written in the second century of the Common Era. Apuleius introduces his novel with the words “At ego tibi sermone isto Milesio varias fabulas conseram” (“But let me join together different stories in that Milesian style”), which suggests not each story is a Milesian tale, but rather the entire joined-together collection. The idea of the Milesian tale also served as a model for the episodic narratives strung together in Petronius’s Satyricon.
Aristides’s Milesian Tale The name Milesian tale originates from the Milisiaka of Aristides of Miletus, who was a writer of shameless and amusing tales notable for their salacious content and unexpected plot twists. Aristides set his tales in Miletus, which had a reputation for a luxurious, easy-going lifestyle.
Milesian tales quickly gained a reputation for ribaldry: Ovid, in Tristia, contrasts the boldness of Aristides and others with his own Ars Amatoria, for which he was punished by exile. In the dialogue on the kinds of love, Erotes, Lucian of Samosata, praised Aristides in passing, saying that after a day of listening to erotic stories he felt like Aristides, “that enchanting spinner of bawdy yarns”.
Though the idea of the Milesian tale served as a model for the episodic narratives strung together in The Satyricon by Gaius Petronius Arbiter and The Golden Ass by Lucius Apuleius (second century CE), neither Aristides’s original Greek text nor the Latin translation survived. The lengthiest survivor from this literature is the tale of “Cupid and Psyche”, found in Apuleius.
Aristidean saucy and disreputable heroes and spicy, fast-paced anecdote resurfaced in the medieval fabliaux. Chaucer’s “The Miller’s Tale” is in Aristides’ tradition, as are some of the saltier tales in Boccaccio’s Decameron or the Heptameron of Margaret of Angoulême.
So in short, erotic literature is certainly not new! Although I do not read this specific genre, I have written some ‘erotic’ scenes in The Twesome Loop. It was not planned but ‘directed’ by a couple of the characters.
A picture book combines visual and verbal narratives aimed at young children with the pictures being prominent rather than the text, which is written with vocabulary a child can understand but not necessarily read. Therefore, picture books have two functions for children: firstly they are read to young children by adults, and then later children read them once they begin learning to read.
Well known children’s books include Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Dr. Seuss’ The Cat In The Hat, and Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.
Which was your childhood favorite?
From the mid-1960’s several children’s literature awards have included a category for picture books. However, some picture books are published with content aimed at older children or even adults. Tibet: Through the Red Box, by Peter Sis, is one example of a picture book aimed at an adult audience.
My first published book was a picture book, Rumble’s First Scare. Not because it was easier but rather the subject matter appealed as a unique children’s story. The POV of a monster coming from underground on All Hallow’s Eve to ‘scare’ the children. However, Rumble is much too cute to be really scary.
Do you write children’s books? Care to share in the comments?
Please welcome Joe to my blog. He is a great writer, a talented artist as well as author and the President of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I have always had a love for storytelling. Even when I was young. When I was fourteen I saw a game called Time Soldiers and I basically took it from there. Many rewrites later the final draft looks nothing like the original; even the title – Time’s Hostage – is different.
How did you come up with the title?
I needed a title that wasn’t already owned by a video game so during my last revision, I looked into my story to find a title that worked with the story. I knew I wanted to incorporate time into the title so that’s where I started. Then, because one of the characters is kidnapped and taken through time, I came up with Time’s Hostage.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or un published)
Time’s Hostage was my first; it was published in 2013. Since then I have published two more with a fourth one coming out in fall of 2016. I am currently writing a fifth book and planning a sixth one to be started in November 2016.
Is there a message in your novel that you want your readers to grasp?
Occasionally I throw in a message but mostly I just want the reader to have fun and enjoy the world I have created.
How much of the book is realistic?
I try to immerse my characters into the real world whether that be a world where they travel through time, exist on another planet or live in a world of enhanced humans. I try to create relatable characters no matter what environment put them in.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I don’t base my characters on real people usually but sometimes a steal memories from real life and insert them into my stories.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I am answering this one for Fly On The Wall as it is my newest one as of Summer 2016. I’m not so sure I would change anything. This book was different than anything I had written previously and that’s how I try to write all my books. Keep them different from each other; try new things. It was a lot of fun for me to write.
Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?
Just that I hope everyone who reads my books gets as much, if not more, enjoyment from my stories as I did writing them.
What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?
I don’t know that I have a specific favorite part or chapter in my novels. What I really do enjoy is creating completely new worlds. In my novel The Arrival and my newest book, Powerless, due in fall, I got to create worlds far apart from our own – a distant planet and an alternate universe respectively.
What is your favorite theme/genre to write?
Sci-fi has to be my favorite genre. Four of my books are of a science fiction nature. Two of which happen to be time travel, which would be my favorite theme. Although I do try and change it up. Right now I am writing a suspense novel.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
I’m sure there probably is a subject I wouldn’t write about but I haven’t been approached to write anything so I haven’t had the opportunity to weigh out whether or not I felt comfortable in writing it. I basically get inspired to write certain stories that both interest and excite me.
What book are you reading now?
I am reading Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader.
Do you see writing as a career?
I would love to have a career as a writer and to do this full time.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
By then I hope to be working full-time for a local publishing company, still writing, and possibly making the Comic Con circuit.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Research is always challenging. I have dealt with scenes involving medical, law enforcement, science professionals, and time travel. The trick is to make each scene believable and authentic.
Have you ever hated anything you have written?
Of course. If I really hate something I have written and editing cannot fix the issue, I would consider revising or just scrap it altogether.
Which book do you wish you had written?
This might come across as a pure money grubbing answer but I wish I had written the Harry Potter series. I title like that would make my wish as a full-time writer come true.
What is your best marketing tip?
Actually, I’m still working on my marketing. But from what I can tell, social media is a great way to go. Get your name out there. The more people who know who you are and what you’re writing, the better your chances are.
What genre is your next project? What is it about?
My current WIP is a suspense novel. It’s about a woman who has been keeping secrets from her husband, which could end up turning her life upside down when her husband vanishes.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
My newest book, Powerless – due out in fall of 2016 – is about an alternate world where everyone has enhanced abilities but someone is using a serum to rob people of their abilities; sending them to exile on Institutional Island. One man who has had his abilities taken away from him before he had the chance to gain them finds a way to stay on the mainland to protect the city from this threat.
How do we find your books, blog and bio?
You can find my books and bio on the Dream Write Publishing site – www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/j-e-mcknight. I don’t have a blog but you can also see me at various events around Strathcona County. As well, I will be at the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo in September 2016. Booth 1101 – come and meet me.