Style is a word you see tossed about a lot in literary circles. There have been epic battles fought over stylistic writing vs. plot-driven writing vs. character driven writing. There are authors who understand words and punctuation and the painting of images in sequences of letters so finely wrought they can twist and turn the language into intricate pretzels of brilliance…and there are an even larger number claiming “style” to hide a lack of proper grammatical understanding, or a simple misunderstanding of the term.
My take on it is as simple as my take on most of the big writing arguments. In fact, let me qualify this by stating my opinion on most such squabbles up front. If you are arguing over style, or plot, or who is right about what particular aspect of the craft of writing, you aren’t writing.
This day seems surrealistic and there is a shift in the space-time continuum which makes it seem like everything is amorphous, even making tea or wandering across the great room to the west windows—to watch the evening hold its breath, like the few milliseconds before an earthquake... This puts me in mind of the dreamlike correspondence I enjoyed with Isaac Asimov many years ago, just before he became so ill.
"As I understand it," I wrote to him, responding to a fairly complex letter I had received from him the week before about time/dimension travel, "relativity creates a dimension irrelative to that of the starting point of travel. And although mathematical formulae are necessary for the journey, once there (wherever "there" is) there are no numbers - not as we define them.
“The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”
While bedridden with tuberculosis, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote this little homily in 1883 as part of A Child’s Garden of Verses. Before I completed recovery, I would read this and it only angered me. Doesn’t he know the world was full of bad things and that I would never be happy because so many bad things had happened to me?
Like a child in a looking glass, I saw only the pain, the ugliness, the debauchery to what I had descended. I saw a grown-up who felt as a child, one who had never had any real love and so was unable to love herself. I felt I was ugly, no good, evil, all words my mother ascribed to me.
I bought it all, completely.
Here's my debut novel, a fun beach read set in the South of France with a few dark undertones. Be sure to read "The Story Behind the Story" at the end of the book. You'll also find Discussion Questions there. Enjoy the journey! You might find it leads to some of your own.
In this historical novel, Mary Rose Tudor, the young and beautiful sister of historically infamous English king Henry VIII, is given no peace until she agrees to marry the aged and sickly Louis XII of France for reasons of state. But before agreeing, she extracts a promise from Henry, one she is determined he will keep.
Deeply unhappy at the French court, Mary makes friends with the charming and witty Francis, her aged husband’s heir and son-in-law. But lonely Mary is dismayed when her friendly overtures are taken as encouragement for something more than friendship. Too late, she finds that, even at twenty, Francis is a debauched and practiced seducer, who pursues her relentlessly. And with the death of her husband and Francis’ elevation to the throne and absolute power, her situation becomes desperate. Unprotected, she is captive prey to this new and manipulative French king.
Fearful for her reputation, the subject of spiteful gossip, Mary becomes increasingly concerned about the rumors she hears of Henry’s plans for her future. Did her supposedly loving brother really intend to push her into a second loveless marriage to another distasteful bridegroom to suit himself and the State?
Trapped in an impossible situation, caught between Francis and the ruthless self-interest of her older brother, the spirited Mary Rose makes a fateful decision aware, even as she does so, that she is taking her very life in her hands.
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