A-Z of Fictional Characters: D is for Dorian

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
IMG_1896It took me ages to come up with a ‘D’. Eventually it came down to Dante or Dorian Gray, and to be honest, I just didn’t feel up to re-reading Inferno again right now. (Lazy? Possibly. Busy? Uhuh. To read pile stacked sky high? Oh yes!)

Did you know that there have been at least eleven movie versions of this book? Certainly my first introduction would have been on the old Saturday night Hammer Horror double bills that my sister and I used to stay up to watch. But whichever version it was, it led me to the novel, just like Masque of the Red Death led me to Poe. (I was such a cheery teenager!)

So, what’s so special about Dorian Gray?

Well, I think he’s kind of unique. There are thousands of vampires and seekers of eternal youth, but I can’t think of anyone else to have their soul painted into a picture. There are lots of stories of people disappearing into paintings, but not – I think – as a proxy for their sins. (This is not an invitation for you to now list every example just to prove me wrong.)
(Actually, go ahead – I’m always up for learning something new 😉 )

But I digress. (I know, no change there).

In many ways Dorian Gray is really quite shallow. It’s the circumstances and the concept that are interesting. He’s easily led, which is what prompts him to get into trouble in the first place. Then the portrait takes his culpability off the hook and so we see how this gives him the excuse to abandon morality.

We don’t really feel him as a character. As a writer there’s a lot to learn from here; we’re told a lot about how debauched he is, but whereas today you’d be expected to show this, I guess the culture of the time (at least, in mainstream literature), didn’t allow for it.

It’s interesting that the movies actually add to the story. All too often a movie has to remove so much detail, but the need to produce this as a script meant having to replace lengthy sections of prose with a bit more active story.

I had to re-read this. A good job I did as it turned out that I’d mis-remembered a lot. Memory had turned him into a depraved monster and he doesn’t actually come through that way on the page, because the parts we see of him is where his conscience is trying to get free.

And that, ultimately, is what redeems him.

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Back in the Chair

I’ve been coasting for the last couple of weeks.

scrumpled notesIt’s not like me. Usually I can’t wait to get the pen on the page.
A couple of weekends away may have something to do with it. That can affect the flow, but it often provides ideas as well as the need to get back in the chair.

I think it’s linked to rejection. Even though I’d been expecting it (because my child-like optimist is quite well balanced by a realistic pessimist), it still affected me.

Let me explain.

If you read my blog from a couple of weeks back, you’ll know I submitted the first two chapters of my novel to the Bath Novel Award.
As you can probably guess from the lack of shouting, I didn’t make the longlist. 🙁

There were a lot of entries, and the BNA tweets were positive even about the ones they turned down. But how much of that was spin and whether I came in at 51 or 1051, I’ll never know.

Coupled with this, I’ve had a short story consistently turned down. Actually twice. That’s pathetic now that I put it in writing. The story was shortlisted in Writing Magazine and as well as good feedback, even the rejections were, “Not what we’re looking for, try elsewhere” rather than “Burn it”. So I suspect this is bruised pride more than anything. I just need to figure out a home for it.

Anyway, for some reason I’ve spent the last two weeks procrastinating. Is that a form of writer’s block? I don’t know, fortunately I’ve never suffered from it and even if it is, it’s only a very mild form because I’m coming out the other side.

Oh yes.

I’m back to my 30 minute timed stints, I’ve finished a short story and I’m about to tackle some crit feedback on chapters 3 and 4. Although every time I look at it, I think of something else to do.

But I’m getting in there. I’m back in the chair and the timer is on.
…although, maybe I should just make a cup of tea first…chair

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IWSG May: Fail to prepare…

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, when the…


…founded by Alex J Cavanaugh, blog about their hopes, dreams and fears. If you want to join this merry band of writers Click here to add your name to the list…
The awesome co-hosts for this month are; Stephen Tremp, Fundy Blue, MJ Fifield, Loni Townsend, Bish Denham, Susan Gourley, and Stephanie Faris!

So, this month I am revisiting one of the worst moments in my life. Continue reading

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Storytime blog hop!

storytime bloghopSome of you may recall that I’ve taken part in the Storytime Blog Hop in the past. I haven’t managed it this time but here are the latest stories from my buddies over at Holly’s Writing Classes.

Sit back, grab a cuppa and enjoy these great stories from around the world;

Katharina Gerlach Wet Kisses
Marie Lee Grandpa
Barbara Lund Changing Space
Juneta Key Instinct
Elizabeth McCleary Window
Karen Lynn Williams


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In which I meet a childhood hero and put my professional knowledge to use

It’s ages since my last post and I missed the IWSG posting for April. I’ve realised that Easter is a busy time for me. I looked back over last year’s blog posts and found a similar gap then too.

Me & K9

Me with K9 (childhood hero ;))

I made things a bit more awkward for myself this year though. On top of the Easter holidays and my son’s birthday (which to his delight included a trip to the Dr Who Experience in Cardiff. Where my top moment was seeing K9!) I decided that I was in a position with my novel where I could enter it for the Bath Novel Award.

Two weeks before the deadline.

Hahahahahahaha! Continue reading

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