Know Your History – 1st December – Candace Bushnell born

know your history - writingOn this day… 1st December, 1958 – Candace Bushnell born

Candace Bushnell (born December 1, 1958) is an American novelist and television producer. She wrote a column for The New York Observer (1994–96) that was adapted into the bestselling Sex and the City anthology. The book was the basis for the HBO hit series Sex and the City (1998–2004) and two subsequent movies.

Bushnell followed the best-selling work with the international bestselling novels 4 Blondes (2001), Trading Up (2003), Lipstick Jungle (2005), One Fifth Avenue (2008), The Carrie Diaries (2010) and Summer and the City (2011).

On Writing

Take Inspiration From Reality, Carefully

It’s no secret that Carrie Bradshaw is based on Bushnell, and that many people and events in her other works are also influenced by the Candace Bushnell women fireauthor’s real life. That’s not a bad thing — but, as Bushnell advised, it’s important to remember that fiction and reality do not intersect when taken literally. Putting an actual person on the page rarely works well, because fiction is about creating your own world, with a unique vision and voice that may be inspired — but not entirely based — on real life.

Did You Know?

Bushnell has suffered from depression

In an interview on Oprah when asked the biggest obstacle she had overcome Bushnell responds,

“Depression. Stone cold depression where you cannot get out of bed and you’re convinced you have a horrible disease and spend all your time writing half-baked suicide notes. And, of course, nobody can tell you what’s wrong with you. But that was

Know Your History – 30th November – Jonathan Swift born

know your history - writingOn this day… 30th November, 1667 – Jonathan Swift born

Jonathan Swift (30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745) was an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for the Whigs, then for the Tories), poet and cleric who became Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.

Swift is remembered for works such as Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, Drapier’s Letters, The Battle of the Books, An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity and A Tale of a Tub.

On Writing

Swift published A Tale of a Tub and The Battle of the Books (1704) and began to gain a reputation as a writer. This led to close, lifelong friendships with Alexander Pope, John Gay, and John Arbuthnot, forming the core of the Martinus Scriblerus Club (founded in 1713).Jonathan Swift - vision.PNG

Swift later began to turn his pamphleteering skills in support of Irish causes, producing some of his most memorable works: Proposal for Universal Use of Irish Manufacture (1720), Drapier’s Letters (1724), and A Modest Proposal (1729), earning him the status of an Irish patriot.[20] This new role was unwelcome to the Government, which made clumsy attempts to silence him.

During these years, Swift began writing his masterpiece, Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts, by Lemuel Gulliver, first a surgeon, and then a captain of several ships, better known as Gulliver’s Travels.

 Did You Know?

There are almost no certain facts about Swift’s personal life that we would be completely sure of.

The work of his biographers should certainly be a painful one, for the simple reason that they have to work with very inadequate amounts of information. Mystery surrounds not only his writing (some of his works are so strange that it is virtually impossible to establish any objective truths as to what they, in fact, mean), but his life as well. What exactly were his relationships with women he nicknames “Stella” and “Vanessa”, was he married to either of them, was he really kidnapped by his wet-nurse when he was a child, was his mother’s husband, who died before his birth, really his father – nobody can answer these questions for sure.

Know Your History – 29th November – C.S. Lewis born

know your history - writingOn this day… 29th November, 1898 – C.S. Lewis born

Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963) was a British novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer, and Christian apologist. He held academic positions at both Oxford University (Magdalen College), 1925–54, and Cambridge University (Magdalene College), 1954–63.

Lewis is best known for his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy, and for his non-fiction Christian apologetics, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain.

On Writing

It is said that nearly every morning Lewis spent at least an hour reading the mail he received and crafting thoughtful and detailed replies. A selection of these replies are gathered together in the beautiful collection C.S. Lewis’ Letters to Children, edited by Lyle W. Dorset and Marjorie Lamp Mead and first published in 1985.

In one of these replies Lewis shared some very practical writing advice with an aspiring young American writer named Joan Lancaster.

  1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.
  2. Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.cs lewis quote - hardships
  3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean “More people died” don’t say “Mortality rose.”
  4. In writing. Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feelabout the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make ussay “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers “Please will you do my job for me.”
  5. Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something reallyinfinite.

 Did You Know?

J.R.R. Tolkien did not like the Narnia stories.

Lewis and fellow novelist J. R. R. Tolkien were close friends. They both served on the English faculty at Oxford University, and were active in the informal Oxford literary group known as the Inklings. Despite being good friends J.R.R. Tolkien did not like the Narnia stories. Tolkien did not like the Christian allegory, nor did he like the mixing of myths. It appeared he was fond of Aslan though.

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**Phew – I can’t believe I nearly missed todays KYH post and its an amazing author whose work I adore.

I must say today’s quote is also one I think I will cherish. In fact it reminds me of a very inspirational young man who has recently began blogging on wordpress. His story is amazing and there are very few words to describe it – but his own are certainly the best he was attacked by a youth who “rammed a 10 inch screwdriver through my temple, so deep that the handle shattered my skull”..he had “brain surgery to remove the shards of skull left in the destructive wake of the screwdriver, I was not expected to survive. If in the unlikely event I did, I was expected to become a persistent vegetable.” …”When I awoke from my month long coma, I couldn’t speak, sit up, and was paralysed down one side.”

…”To cut a long story short (it seems like an eternity), I’ve defied all predictions and done the opposite of what was expected.. My motto has always been “I REFUSE TO LOSE” – ’nuff said! I’ve broken just about every rule in the medical profession, including dying being the end of your life. It was the beginning of mine and I wouldn’t change a thing”

So for those who haven’t come across his amazing inspiring blog yet I truly urge you to pop over to Nick’s Blog – http://nickverron.com/ – it is probably one of the best blogs to be found on wordpress that will restore your faith in the human spirit and human courage. His story is proof that “Hardships often prepare ordinary people  for an extraordinary destiny.”

Enjoy. KL 🙂

Know Your History – 28th November – William Blake Born

know your history - writingOn this day… 28th November, 1757 – William Blake born

William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age.

On Writing

As a writer and thinker Blake espoused the value of humanity and played a crucial role in developing our understanding of the ‘sixth sense’ of imagination. “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite”, he said in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, influencing the writer Aldous Huxley and a certain LA rock band called The Doors among others. Throughout his life, Blake championed the imagination, and its power.William Blake Quote

So radical were his thoughts that many considered him mad. A view not helped by Blake’s claims to have seen visions from an early age of God, various angels and, on one occasion, Satan himself, in an encounter on the staircase of his South Molton Street home.

Did You Know?

Blake could be called the first graphic novelist

Blake married pictures and words together in a single process on one printing plate, developing new techniques to do so. He taught himself to write backwards, so he could work straight onto the copper plate. And, to open up the very strangest side of Blake, he claimed that one of his revolutionary techniques was dictated to him by his dead brother in a vision.

Know Your History – 27th November – Frederic Warburg born

know your history - writingOn this day… 27th November, 1898 – Fredric Warburg born

Fredric John Warburg (27 November 1898 – 25 May 1981) was a British publisher best known for his association with the author George Orwell. During a career spanning a large part of the 20th century and ending in 1971 Warburg published Orwell’s Animal Farm (1945) as well as Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), as well as works by other leading figures such as Thomas Mann and Franz Kafka. Other notable publications included The Third Eye by “Lobsang Rampa,” Pierre Boulle’s The Bridge over the River Kwai, Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

On Publishing

Secker & Warburg. The firm became renowned for its independent left-wing position, being both anti-fascist and anti-Communist, which put it at loggerheads with many intellectuals of the time. Among the books the firm published were C. L. R. James’s World Revolution, Reg Groves’s We Shall Rise Again, Boris Souvarine’s Stalin and André Gide’s Back from the USSR. When George Orwell parted company with Victor Gollancz over 1984 published - George Orwellpublication of The Road to Wigan Pier it was to Secker & Warburg that he took his next book, Homage to Catalonia. The firm published all of Orwell’s books from then on, and he and Warburg became intimate friends.

In 1940 Warburg introduced Orwell to another of his firm’s authors, T. R. Fyvel and between the three of them they planned the creation of Searchlight Books.

Did You Know?

In 1954 Secker & Warburg was prosecuted for obscenity after publishing The Philanderer, a novel by Stanley Kauffmann

Warburg was offered the chance to plead guilty and escape with a minimal fine, but opted for trial by jury at the Old Bailey. The book was found not to be obscene and the summary by the presiding judge at the trial, Sir Wintringham Stable, was added as an appendix to later editions of The Philanderer.

Know Your History – 26th November – Alice in Wonderland published

know your history - writingOn this day… 26th November, 1865 – Alice in Wonderland published

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. Its narrative course and structure, characters and imagery have been enormously influential in both popular culture and literature, especially in the fantasy genre.

Response to the Writing

After reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Queen Victoria, having loved the book, suggested that Carroll dedicate his next book to her! And so, his next work, An Elementary Treatise on Determinants, With Their Lewis Carroll_Alice in Wonderland_different yesterdayApplication to Simultaneous Linear Equations and Algebraic Equations, was presented to the Queen – perhaps not quite what she’d had in mind…

In 1890 Lewis Carroll released a shortened version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for smaller children aged “from nought to five”. It includes 20 of John Tenniel’s illustrations from the original book coloured, enlarged and, in some cases, revised.

Did you know?

The novels were banned in China in 1931

On the grounds that “animals should not use human language”.

Know Your History – 25th November – Charlaine Harris born

know your history - writingOn this day… 25th November, 1951 – Charlaine Harris born

Charlaine Harris Schulz (born November 25, 1951) is an American New York Times bestselling author who has been writing mysteries for thirty years. She was born and raised in the Mississippi River Delta area of the United States. She now lives in southern Arkansas with her husband and three children. Though her early work consisted largely of poems about ghosts and, later, teenage angst, she began writing plays when she attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. She began to write books a few years later. Her later books have been in the urban fantasy genre. She is best known for The Southern Vampire Mysteries series, which HBO later adapted for its dramatic series entitled True Blood.

On WritingCharlaine Harris - Books - vacation

When asked what her daily schedule was like Harris says that given all the demands on her time she doesn’t really have a set schedule.  Her ideal day is getting into her office at 8:00am, writing 6 pages by early afternoon, dealing with other matters until around 3:30 or 4:00pm and then reading for a while before making dinner. You can read the full interview here.

Did You Know?

Harris has her own vampire teeth

“Once I knew it was possible to get such a thing, I couldn’t rest until I had my own fangs”, Harris told Crescent Blues during an interview. Her fangs are lateral incisors and were especially made for her by the Count of Montrose (Harris).

Know Your History – 24th November – Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett born

know your history - writingOn this day… 24th November, 1849 – Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett born

Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett (24 November 1849 – 29 October 1924) was an American-English writer of plays and prose fiction. She is best known for the three children’s novels Little Lord Fauntleroy (published in 1885–1886), A Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden (1911).

On Writing

Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett began to write to earn money for her impoverished family. Frances wrote and wrote and wrote; many of her adult books were best-sellers. She lived a very nice lifestyle and would do anything for her two sons. She once called herself “a pen driving Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnettmachine.” In 1887 she travelled to England with her family and then to Florence where she wrote an early version of the novel that would become A Little Princess, then called Sara Crewe or What Happened at Miss Minchin’s.  She later bought an English mansion whose walled garden inspired The Secret Garden.

Did You Know?

After the death from consumption of her older son Lionel, Frances turned to Spiritualism and Christian Science.

The ideas she learned from these belief systems found their way into her books, especially The Secret Garden, in which Mary Lennox persuades her sick young cousin that he can heal himself though the power of positive thinking.

Note:- At the time of posting you can buy “The Collected Works of Frances Hodgson Burnett: 35 Books and Short Stories in One Volume” E-Book for £1.25 on Amazon.

Know Your History – 23rd November – Areopagitica published

know your history - writingOn this day… 23rd November, 1644 – Areopagitica published

Areopagitica; A speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicenc’d Printing, to the Parlament of England is a 1644 prose polemical tract by the English poet, scholar, and polemical author John Milton opposing licensing and censorship. Areopagitica is among history’s most influential and impassioned philosophical defences of the principle of a right to freedom of speech and expression. It is regarded as one of the most eloquent defences of press freedom ever written because many of its expressed principles form the basis for modern justifications of that right.

On Books

Milton precedes his argument by discussing the purpose of reading. He mentions that Moses, David, and Paul, were all learned, which reminds his Protestant audience that being learned involves reading “books of all sorts”. He argues that this includes even the “bad” or heretical books, because we can learn from their wrongs and discover what is true by john_milton_good_bookconsidering what is not. Milton’s point is that God endowed every person with the reason, free will, and conscience to judge ideas for themselves, so the ideas in a text should be rejected by the reader’s own choice, not by a licensing authority. Also, the mind is not corrupted simply by encountering falsehood. Milton points out that encountering falsehood can actually lead to virtuous action, such as how St. Paul’s converts had privately and voluntarily burned Ephesian books considered to be “magick”.

 Did You Know?

Milton was quite the ladies’ man

In fact, he was married quite a bit. In 1642 he married Mary Powell, who died in 1652. In 1656 he married Katherine Woodcock, who died in 1658. In 1663 he married Elizabeth Minshull who outlived him. There are indications that living with Milton was not easy. His first wife, who was much younger than him, lived most of their married life separated from her husband.

For this and other interesting facts visit classicbookreader

Know Your History – 22nd November – George Eliot born

know your history - writingOn this day… 22nd November, 1819 – George Eliot born

George Eliot was the pen name of Mary Ann Evans, one of the leading English novelists of the 19th century. Her novels, most famously ‘Middlemarch’, are celebrated for their realism and psychological insights.

On Writing

Considered one of the leading writers of the Victorian era, Eliot is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of them set in provincial England. She used a male pen name, she said, to ensure her works would be taken seriously. George Eliot_choiceFemale authors were published under their own names during Eliot’s life, but she wanted to escape the stereotype of women only writing light-hearted romances. She also wished to have her fiction judged separately from her already extensive and widely known work as an editor and critic.

Readers in the Victorian era particularly praised her books for their depictions of rural society, for which she drew on her own early experiences, and she shared with Wordsworth the belief that there was much interest and importance in the mundane details of ordinary country lives.

Did You Know?

Queen Victoria sought George Eliot’s autograph for her collection.