Yesterday we discussed how a memorable character need not be described in more than a few phrases to stick in our mind (as seen in Jane Austen's minimalistic approach in describing Elizabeth Bennet). When an author uses this approach, we may not know the character's hair color, their overall height or appearance, but a feature … Continue reading Describing Memorable Characters: Anna Karenina
This Monday, we looked at the general state of pregnancy in literature, and today, I wanted to highlight two examples that I felt did an amazing job of keeping their focus on the pregnant women involved in their narratives. One is dramatic, the other comedic, but both have the woman front-and-center. The first passage is … Continue reading Birth and Pregnancy in Literature, Part Two
After finishing the novel this past week, I’ve been trying to figure out what Anna Karenina is about. Despite pop culture and most movies, it isn’t just about Anna and Vronsky and their love affair, about how a woman’s extramarital relationship ruins her life. There are a lot of other characters, and a whole lot … Continue reading The Soul in Anna Karenina
I’ve been writing quite a bit about Anna Karenina lately, since I have been reading it over the last month and a half. Amidst the drama, turmoil, and politics, here are seven pieces of practical wisdom to be found from the pages of the great classic (roughly in order of the plot). Don’t talk with … Continue reading Practical Wisdom from Anna Karenina
Lately, the trend in writing has been to avoid omniscient narration. Whether you write in first person or third, present or past tense, writers are still advised to avoid omniscient narration as a thing of the past. They say it lacks immediacy and fails to connect the reader with the characters. Unless we have third-person … Continue reading Narration: Is Omniscience Working For You?
This week, I wanted to look at the beginning of Anna Karenina (Chapters 1-25), examining some of the obscure references I came across. Dickens and Anna Karenina In the eleventh chapter, there is a bizarre reference to Dickens. It comes up quite naturally in conversation, which means there is no page references, and the character … Continue reading Reading Matters: Anna Karenina
The very last chapter of Laurie Alberts’ Showing and Telling is the best one of all, I think. In it, she writes about beginnings and endings, and she encourages us, as writers, to forget all about making it good and just make it. She writes, “[A]ny way in is a good way in. You can’t … Continue reading Never Mind Formality; Just Write