Who you are, where you’re from, your writing credits
I wrote this bit under palms in the Brazilian jungle, sipping a freshly-made caipirinha. All nine family members – including two charming grandchildren – were visiting our daughter-in-law’s relatives for Christmas.
Born in (old) Jersey GB, my father was Swiss, my mother of French Huguenot stock. I studied physics in London and met my Finnish wife in Geneva during a research project at CERN. After many moves, we have settled in a beautiful village near Zürich, Switzerland. I’m now facing the prospect of retirement. Continue reading →
Cerbonius was a colourful character — priest, refugee, hermit, bishop, bear-tamer, animal-lover, miracle-worker and sensational papal visitor — who was later canonised by the Roman Catholic Church. He is remembered for his intimate relationship with God, “a man with a venerable life, who gave evidence of great holiness”, as St. Gregory the Great wrote in his “Dialogues”. Continue reading →
Many aspects form a novel – plot, pace, voice, character arc, setting, backstory, etc. But a novel wouldn’t be anything without characters. And readers want to get to know the main players. Among other things, they want to discover what they look like. And that, in turn, means they want to see their faces.
I’m not good at faces. Legend has it that I didn’t recognise my mother, although we had arranged to meet outside a certain shop. Often it’s only when an acquaintance I haven’t seen for a while does something – raises their eyebrows, speaks or walks in a characteristic way – that I realise who they are; their personality shines through.
Q: How can I, who don’t notice faces, learn to describe my storybook characters’ appearance?
I’ve come to a point in my story where Silvanus engages in heart-searching exchanges with his wise old mentor, Cerbonius. They don’t do much. They talk. This, I realize, can quickly become boring for the reader, who is hoping for more excitement.
As an aspiring author, I’ve read several books on the art and craft of writing. They confused me. I didn’t even understand the terminology, let alone the principles they advocated.
There’s nothing better than jumping in the deep end and getting feedback from more experienced authors. My hesitant attempts at posting individual chapters of my book for others to critique, have taught me a lot. Continue reading →
Every author stresses how important revision is. The trouble is, one easily overlooks one’s own weak points, omissions and errors. The solution sounds easy: Get a good Critique Partner for reciprocal manuscript correction.
But how? There aren’t that many budding English-speaking authors in Oberlunkhofen! Continue reading →
I’ve come to a juicy episode, part of chapter 6. And the strange thing is that I feel deep emotion for the character I’m creating. The chapter introduces a runaway slave, whom Silvanus finds in the woods. Listen to the story and let me know what you think…
“Aren’t you afraid of Jupiter and Mars and all the others? Do you pray to that god of yours?”
“Well, yes, but I don’t really know much about him.” I notice tears forming in his eyes and his voice begins to tremble. “My Mother used to talk a lot about him. Before they… killed her.” Continue reading →