Sunday, November 24, 2019

Writing Fiction, and TBR Books and Utter Drivel

I know I've mentioned that I'm taking an online novel-writing class through Grub Street, a wonderful Boston-based writers' collaborative, a non-profit, that hosts seminars, classes, and, thank goodness, online classes for people like me, hundreds of miles from anywhere.
The class I'm taking has been so good for my writing. Grub Street places a priority on each class forming a strong community, where feedback to each other flows freely, and instruction filters down from a published novelist and experienced teacher. I have only kudos to offer our instructor, my classmates, and Grub Street! I've signed up for another class for mid-January through the end of February.
Does this class keep me busy? And how!

I'm reading While You Sleep by Stephanie Merritt, a gothic novel set on an unidentified Scottish island (contemporary). The protagonist is an American woman in her very early forties, an artist, who seems to be escaping a horrific past. As all gothics go, setting is extremely important, and this one is no exception. The only problem is I'm not as keen on gothics that prominently feature a ghost, and Merritt's ghost is eerily similar (in some ways identical  to Tess Gerritsen's in The Shape of Night.) BUT, I will point out that Merritt's novel pre-dates Gerritsen's by at least a year, as it was published in the UK in 2018.
Have I announced that currently I'm writing an Adirondack Gothic? It figures, right? But NO GHOST!

As far as my focus on writing is concerned, it has been a blessing in disguise that I've had to stay by Sandy's side all week, while she's been recovering from some surgery that took place last Monday. She's doing really well, but needs to be "kept quiet." (Ha!) So far so good, but we have at least another week to go before she can go back to her flying leaps and high jumps and running, and walking backward on her hind legs! (Preserve us, oh lord!)


  1. I am glad to hear that your writing is going well, and hope that Sandy has a speedy recovery. Sandy sounds like a very active dog.

    We have a fire nearby that is distracting us. It started in the same place (Painted Cave) in the mountains that a fire thirty years ago started, and that was the only one we had to evacuate from. We live in a different place now, but still close enough to be concerning.

    1. Hi Tracy,
      This particular fire must be kindling some terrible memories for you and when it's close, that's as scary as all get out. Fires are so unpredictable--it must keep you on edge all the time 24/7. I do hope it will dissipate soon!

    2. Tracy--just another note. I just went online and it seems the fire has worsened since you posted your comment last evening. I'll be hoping and wishing that your home and neighborhood and community will be spared. Take care.

  2. I love gothic...modern or not. I've never thought how I feel about ghosts however. I'll have to keep it in mind the next time I read a gothic novel. Any suggestions for me?

    LOL to the vet telling you to keep your pup "quiet" after surgery! I freely admit I have very little control over what my dogs and cats get up to when I am not looking. And when the postman comes...fuggetaboutit!

    1. Oh, Ruthiella, I'm so glad that you are a lover of gothic novels. I could recommend loads, but am not sure if you like gothics from the 1960s, later in the 20th, or the 19th century, or the sudden burst--the resurgence of gothic in our own times. Let me know, and I'll offer up!
      I know what you mean about the postman. Out here in the middle of nowhere the postman cometh not. We must drive 7 miles to get our mail. BUT!! UPS does deliver (only if there's no snow on the road!) When Sandy hears the UPS Man's Truck, she goes into orbit, leaping down the stairs toward the door. Why? Because he brings dog biscuits. What a scurry!
      Do you have any favorite gothics you'd like to share?

    2. Rebecca by du Maurier has to be one of the best Gothic novels ever I think. And while not a ghost story, it is still a story haunted by the title character.

      For more modern stuff, have you read The Observations by Jane Harris? I loved that book. Also I loved The Thirteenth Tale and keep meaning to read more from Setterfield but you little time... How about a recommendation of a modern gothic?

    3. Hi Ruthiella,
      Haunted absolutely is the main character (gosh--why can't I remember her name?) in Rebecca. A stellar gothic novel, absolutely.
      I have not read The Observations, but I am noting it on my booklist now. I'm so happy to learn of new titles. And so glad to hear you loved The Thirteenth Tale. I'll add that one to the list, too.
      I read a marvelous gothic stand-alone novel by an English writer who has written several series.
      The title of the sensational book is The Stranger Diaries by Elli Griffiths (2019). I thought it was extremely well-done!!
      I also loved The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen (2019). If you need more recommendations, please do let me know, Ruthiella, and I'll spill forth, I promise!