Tag Archives: stories

Genres of Literature – Grotesque


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The Grotesque is often linked with satire and tragicomedy, in which the author conveys grief and pain to the audience. The term was first used to denote a literary genre with Montaigne’s Essays. Many of the earliest written texts described grotesque happenings and monstrous creatures within mythology, which was of course a rich source of monsters. Examples, such as the one-eyed Cyclops from Hesiod’s Theogony or Polyphemus in Homer’s Odyssey and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, where we find grotesque transformations and hybrid creatures of myth. 

This genre was a departure from the classical models of order, reason, harmony, balance and form, opening up an entry into grotesque worlds. British literature abounds with native grotesquerie, from the strange worlds of Spenser’s allegory in The Faerie Queene, to the tragi-comic modes of 16th-century drama. 

Occasionally, literary works of mixed genre are termed grotesque, such as “low” or non-literary genres such as pantomime and farce. Gothic writings often have grotesque components such as character, style and location while other describe the environment as grotesque. Examples being urban (Charles Dickens), or American south literature,  termed as “Southern Gothic”. Other grotesque uses have been social and cultural formations, such as the carnival(-esque) in François Rabelais and Mikhail Bakhtin. Or in satirical writings of the 18th century, such as Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

Thereby fictional characters are considered grotesque if they induce both empathy and disgust by way of physically deformity or mental deficiency, but also if the character has cringe-worthy social traits. In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the figure of Caliban inspired more nuanced reactions than simple scorn and disgust. Also, in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the character of Gollum may be considered to have both disgusting and empathetic qualities, which fit him into the grotesque template.

One of the most celebrated grotesques in literature is Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame and of course Dr. Frankenstein’s monster can also be considered a grotesque, although he is presented more sympathetically as the outsider who is the victim of society’s alienation as they describe him as  ‘the creature.’

There are also examples of grotesque literature during the nineteenth-century, however the grotesque body was displaced by the notion of congenital deformity or medical anomaly.  And more in terms of deformity and disability, especially after the First World War, 1914-18. The growth of prosthetic’s created themes of half-mechanical men and became an important theme in dadaist work.

You may be surprise to know that Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is deemed grotesque literature due to the many fantastic grotesque figures she meets. However, Carroll managed to make the figures seem less frightful and fit for children’s literature.

Were any of these surprising to you?

Have you written grotesque fiction?

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Author Interview – Wendy Hobbs


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Wendy and book

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

My writing energizes me as I love, Claudia Quash, the heroine that I have created. She’s strong and brave and hopefully she inspires people never to give up on their dreams.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

The magical moment in ‘The Spell of Pencliff’ is when Claudia Quash discovers that she has special powers of her own.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

No

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

I have connected with many authors through social media, and I think that we all inspire and encourage each other by reading each other’s work and sharing marketing ideas.

  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 am developing the ‘Claudia Quash Series.’

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

The Spell of Pencliff book cover

Giving away free copies of the ‘Claudia Quash Series’ to children in the hospital to help pass the time. and hopefully inspire them and give them hope.

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

I was inspired by the speeches that I read by famous politicians.

  1. What’s your favorite novel?

My favorite novel is Wuthering Heights and it is also my favorite film.

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

It would have to be the mechanical dog featured in ‘The Spell of Pencliff.’

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

I am currently editing two books at the moment.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

Literacy success is being able to use the money to help create more special memories for seriously ill children and their families of Dreams and Wishes Charity.

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

I spend a great deal of time researching before I write as Claudia Quash travels back in time and it is important that I know the date of the inventions in ‘The Spell of Pencliff.’

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

It depends on how busy I am with book-signing commitments, school visits and promoting Dreams and Wishes Charity, which is very important to me.

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

Firstly, I imagine what the character will look and act like and what sort of person I am trying to convey, then I choose a name that I think fits his/her personality traits.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

The most difficult thing to describe is how things in the book grow bigger and then shrink in size and how it made Claudia Quash feel.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? 

I love writing magical adventures and Claudia Quash, my chosen protagonist is the character that I became intrigued by. I enjoy the way her personality changes and grows and how she adapts to her different surroundings. At the moment, I don’t have any plans to write under another genre or develop a new character/characters apart from the ones that Claudia meets during her adventures.

  1. How long have you been writing?

After I qualified as a lawyer, I studied for a degree in ‘Theatre Studies and Drama’ and during this time I did a lot of writing and became interested in storytelling. My debut novel, ‘Claudia Quash:The Spell of Pencliff’ took me three years to write.

  1. What inspires you?  

My daughter, also called Claudia has inspired my writing.

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

I write early in the morning, in the evening or whenever I am not busy with the wonderful Dreams and Wishes Charity that grants dreams and wishes to seriously ill children and their families.

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

I am currently editing the second book in ‘The Spell of Pencliff’ series and completing an activity book.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

I am keen to write more short stories for younger children.

BOOK COVER DREAMS&WISHES

  1. Share a link to your author website

‘Claudia Quash : The Spell of Pencliff’ and ‘Claudia’s Special Wish’ are available on Amazon, Kindle, and as an Audiobook and via my website – www.wendyhobbs.com

The Spell of Pencliff   – http://myBook.to/ClaudiaQuash

Claudia’s Special Wish – http://MyBook.to/SpecialWish

Author page – http://author.to/WendyHobbs

ClaudiaQuash/Facebook

Twitter @WendyFHobbs

Bio: WENDY HOBBS, LLB (Hons), BA (Hons), PGCE.

 I am a Lawyer, Ambassador for Dreams and Wishes, and a children’s fantasy author of “The Claudia Quash Series.” My journey began when I took a break from my legal career to study for a degree in Theatre and Drama, and I developed an interest in storytelling. My debut novel, “Claudia Quash:The Spell of Pencliff” has received amazing 5 star reviews, and it won a book award. “The Spell of Pencliff’ is a magical adventure  inspired by my daughter, also called Claudia, and it is based on Tenby (Pencliff), a historic town steeped in ancient history in West Wales. The story features the Tudor Merchant’s House, St Catherine’s Island and the famous Ghost Walk. My aim was to write a story that not only captivated the reader’s imagination, but to create a unique character that encouraged children to pursue their dreams and never to give up.

10 downing street

Last year, I was invited by Mr Tony Curtis MBE, founder of Dreams and Wishes Charity, to write a book to inspire children. I wrote “Claudia’s Special Wish,” which was launched by the Secretary of State for Wales,  and I had the honor of reading the book on behalf of the charity in the House of Commons and in 10 Downing Street.

Author Interview Glynis Guevara


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Glynis

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing energizes me.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

I cannot think of any. I love writing. It helps my mental health and I can’t associate writing with anything negative.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

No, I have always wanted to write under my real name.

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

I don’t have any close friends who are authors, but it would be nice to develop friendships with some authors.

under-the-zaboca-tree

  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 have written several stand-alone books, but I am currently working on a sequel to debut YA novel, “Under the Zaboca Tree.” The working title of the sequel is “Poui Season”

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

The best money I’ve spent as a writer was hiring a good editor.

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

I used to have a lot of pen-pals when I was a kid. I was able to develop good friendships through writing. I even met a couple of my pen-pals during my travels through Europe. Writing allowed me to learn more about other cultures.

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

The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips

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

A Dog or an Elephant. They are my favourite animals.

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

I have at least three unfinished books and four books that are completed but unpublished. I am currently seeking a literary agent for two of the finished book. Two of them have already found homes. My second YA novel, “Black Beach” will be published by Inanna Publications in the fall of 2018. A third novel, “Barrel Girl,” is also forthcoming from Inanna Publications.

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  1. What does literary success look like to you?

Literary success means being able to support myself mostly by writing

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

I do a lot of research online, but I also speak to experts. The amount of research depends on the information I am seeking.

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

Lately, due to an ear injury I am writing only once or twice a week. But when I’m healthy I write at least ten hours a week. I sometimes write more depending on deadlines.

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

It depends. I sometimes just use names that come to me. Other times, I search baby books on line for suitable names.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

There have been many hard scenes to write. But one that was particularly difficult involved writing about leatherback turtles in my soon to be published YA novel, “Black Beach.”. I had to do a lot of research and I hope I got it right.

  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 write mostly YA novels. I didn’t set out to write YA books. It simply happened. I have one adult novel that I’m seeking a publisher for; I am currently making a few changes as requested by a literary agent who expressed an interest in reading the entire manuscript.

  1. How long have you been writing?

I have been writing all of my life. I tried to write my first novel when I was about fourteen. It was a learning experience even though I don’t think it was very good.

  1. What inspires you?  

Reading good books inspires me.

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

I am very disciplined regarding my writing. I usually challenge myself to write a specified amount of words per week and stick to it.

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

I am editing an adult novel and also writing a sequel to my debut novel, “Under the Zaboca Tree.”

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

My plans for future project including writing two more YA novels that I am currently researching as well as another adult novel that I have already completed about seventy pages of.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

glynis.guevara.com

Bio:

I was born in Barataria, Trinidad and I hold a Bachelor of Laws (Hons.) degree from the University of London, England. I am also  a graduate of Humber School for Writers creative writing program. In 2012, I was shortlisted for the Small Axe Literary short fiction prize and in 2014 my manuscript “Barrel Girl” was a finalist for the inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean literature. “Under the Zaboca Tree” is my debut YA novel. I currently live in Toronto where I work as an adult literacy instructor.

Wednesday Writing Prompt


Apologies – I forgot to schedule this post.

The prompt today is ‘ a glimpse out of a window’. What do you see?

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Here’s my effort.

It started with a glimpse out of the corner of her eye. A movement passing the opened window but when she turned there was nothing there. Dismissing it as possibly a bird or a butterfly floating in the warmth of summer sunshine, she turned back to her work.
Just one more chapter and then she would treat herself to a walk to ease and stretch her aching muscles. Janice had woken bursting with inspiration at five o’clock, now six hours later a major part of the novel was complete. With a flourish she hit the keypad and straightens up. There in front of her was a beautiful face peering through the window. Instinct makes her jump and involuntary utter a gasp.
“Hello, who are you?”
The lady smiles but does not answer just reaches out her hand to beckon Janice outside. Her dark shape and long ebony locks float as if in water, it is surreal. Fascinated Janice opens the patio door and enters the warmth of the day time sun.
“Come follow – you will find.”
“Find what, where are we going?”
Without waiting the lady turns toward the rose garden, the oldest part of the cottage garden. The floral scent permanents the air as they approach the blooms. The dark lady stops in the centre of the path and points. Janice’s eyes follow her fingers direction – there blooms an ebony rose so dark it gleams.
“Write its story, Janice and release me.”
“Release you – I don’t understand?”
“My spirit resides within the bloom I am relying on your gift of words to free me forever.”
“What shall I write? Tell me what to write.”
“You know my story it is deep within you.”
Janice’s mouth opens to ask another question but the dark lady has disappeared. Was she dreaming? Everything seemed so real, so tangible – the warmth on her skin, the grass beneath her feet. Janice returns to her desk, puzzling thoughts race through her mind. There she finds a dark rose petal lying upon the laptop keys. It was real?
A blank page faces her and her fingers begin to type – a story unfolds.
Esmeralda’s roses were well renowned even as far away as London. Each bloom was perfection itself due wholly to her unwavering commitment to their care. After years of trial and error with combinations of manure, egg shells and herbs, Esmeralda had found her ‘secret’ formula. Each season demanded another ritual before the first buds appeared in April. With careful attendance each bud was nurtured to its full potential. Every flower show saw Esmeralda take first place much to the dismay of her rival, Vanity. The competition between the two women was fierce.
During the sixth annual London show Esmeralda was summoned by the Duke of Suffolk. He commissioned her to produce a truly black rose – something never achieved before. With a deep bow Esmeralda had thanked him for his obvious confidence in her abilities but felt she would not succeed. The Duke took her hands and solemnly stated that if anyone could succeed it was indeed the Rose Queen herself.
Upon her return home Esmeralda began researching the deepest and darkest strains of rose. Using grafting techniques and cross pollination she grew several young plants. As they grew and flourished she waited patiently for the first blooms. She achieved deep burgundy and the darkest crimson but never ebony. Three long years past each new bloom took her a step closer to her goal but never close enough. Then in the fourth year a tiny shoot grafted to the main plant produced a bud unlike any Esmeralda had ever seen. It was the darkest green she had ever seen. She tended to this special bud as with all her charges and waited in anticipation for it to blossom.
Sunday 14th April would be a date Esmeralda would never forget – for that morning she witnessed the darkest most beautiful ebony bloom gleaming in the sunlight. She would send word to the Duke that she has succeeded in making his wish come true. However, Esmeralda died that day at the hands of her arch rival, Vanity. It was a dagger to her heart as she breathed sweet words to her special bloom. Vanity took the plant and professed it was her own creation. She became famous over night and reveled in the adulation.
As for Esmeralda her body was buried beneath her rose garden- a place she had loved above all others. Her spirit lived on in the multitude of blooms until one day it rose up and made its presence known. She was the Rose Queen and the ebony bloom her creation.
The words flowed so quickly Janice could not read them quickly enough. At last her fingers ceased their frantic tapping and she realized who her visitor had been. Janice would make sure the real creator was acknowledged for her Black Rose.

Why not share yours in the comments?

Genres of Literature – Graphic Novels


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The definition of a graphic novel is a book made up of comics content. However, the term is not strictly defined, though Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definition is “a fictional story that is presented in comic-strip format and published as a book”, while its simplest definition is given as “cartoon drawings that tell a story and are published as a book”

Obviously, some will say these are not ‘novels’ in the traditional sense at all. One such author, Alan Moore believed: “It’s a marketing term…that I never had any sympathy with. The term ‘comic’ does just as well for me…The problem is that ‘graphic novel’ just came to mean ‘expensive comic book’ and so what you’d get is people like DC Comics or Marvel Comics – because ‘graphic novels’ were getting some attention, they’d stick six issues under a glossy cover and called it graphic novel under the action hero’s name.

However, the term ‘graphic novel’ is broadly applied to include non-fiction, anthologized and fiction works and is distinguished from the term ‘comic book’, as this refers to comic periodicals. 

Richard Kyle, a fan historian coined the term ‘graphic novel’ in 1964 and the term gained popularity in the comic community from 1978 and especially with the start of the Marvel graphic novel line in 1982. The book industry began using ‘graphic novel’ as a book shelf category in 2001. Most comics historians agree that the first real ‘graphic novel’ was Will Eisner’s A Contract With God and Other Tenement Stories published in 1978. Decidedly adult in its images, themes, and language, Eisner’s book spoke to the generation that had first grown up with superhero comics in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

I found a fascinating link regarding the history of graphic novels. Take a look: http://libguides.marymede.vic.edu.au/graphic_novels/history