Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

The 7 ways of the tale teller
May 23, 2013

sevenDid you think there were more? Well of course there are as many ways as people but a little bit of delving around reveals a strange and perplexing truth about storytelling – all the stories anyone ever writes are based around one or the other of the following seven themes:

1.       Overcoming the monster :dagger

Think of St George and the dragon, The War of the Worlds – and so topical now – Dracula and his gluttonous vampire army. Monsters represent our fears – dark and dank, and that we have to beat to achieve happiness. So of course that is why we are buried under a ton of vampire and werewolves  YA (young adult) fiction at the moment. What more dank and drear source of fear is there than adolescence?

 colours2. Rags to riches:

Oh easy, I hear you say – I’m getting the hang of this now. Cinderella, right? Well, yes, of course – and The Ugly Duckling, Jane Eyre, Slum Dog … it crosses all genre, cultures and  centuries. It gives credence to our belief in ourselves – we may start out mundane, poor, struggling, but we can – through hardship and trial, achieve the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and return home – bad boy done good etc. It may sound trite, but seeing the underdog triumph does us all good and gives us hope – so we love to read about it too.

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3. The quest:

Another very topical one here – Lord of the Rings is the best and most spectacular example of this – and it’s an epic journey too, but you could go for Watership Down, or Raiders of the Lost Ark as well. There must be a hero, a lure or pull to an all-important goal and thrills, spills and almost death along the way before success brings the conquering hero home again with their spoils. Uplifting, inspiring, escapism – wonderful!

4. Voyage and return:

The Wizard of Ox  – I had to have that one as it is the production my daughter is dancing in this summer, Alice in Wonderland, The Time Machine … Traveling out of everyday surroundings, the hero(ine) and the group of people traveling with them have to cope with the strangeness of another world, face shadowy threats  and make a thrilling escape back to a normality they now appreciate where they had found it boring and mundane before  – ‘there’s no place like home…’ (And of course there isn’t!)

5. Comedy:shoes too big man

Bridget Jones had us laughing all the way here and back with her, and then – if you’re a Shakespeare fan, so does The taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream etc . It’s all good clean fun where the central character is blinded to the reality of things by their ego, short-sightedness, one track mind, whereas the reader/audience sees the wider picture and the humour lies in seeing the two juxtaposed. Of course our hero(ine) sees the error of their ways and All’s Well that Ends Well but not before they’ve been led a merry dance along the way. The end result is self-knowledge and reconciliation where there was harmony and unrest.

6. Tragedy:

Ironically the same as comedy – and essentially the same as all the other story lines ultimately, where there is a problem to solve, ordeals to overcome and a journey in search of the goal – but rather sadly, the outcome will involve – for some of the characters, at least – death, destruction or disaster. And if you’re watching  a Jacobean tragedy the body count on  stage will probably be higher than the numbers in the audience (I love a bit of blood and guts!).

And finally there is…

daffodils7.  Rebirth (as one would expect after death, destruction and disaster):

Again a journey to achieve self-realisation, but the enemy is often – at least in part – from within. Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, The Secret Garden are all based on rebirth. Often there is a direct confrontation between dark and light to achieve self-understanding and healing.

So let me think which of these I have written so far.

front cover CM

Chained Melody has to be rebirth, with an element of tragedy involved too. Someone or something has to fail, suffer or be lost in order for self-knowledge to enable the two main characters to achieve their form of happiness.

Web Web cover design - draftis dark and dire at times, and funny and lighthearted at others, but its message is all about seeing oneself and others clearly and putting that understanding together to create a whole. Two of the characters are so immersed in their own machinations they fail to see the most dangerous aspects of the whole until it is almost too late, and the other character is dark, dark, dark – confronting themself, and allowing the darkness to take over… It has elements of a tragedy too but is again a journey towards rebirth for my two dipsy daisies in it.

Then I have left to consider Falling Awake Falling awake draft cover design 2– which is definitely all about overcoming a monster – but defining the monster is as intriguing as finding out how it is overcome – or is it? And Patchwork People, which I have just started, is a quest, pure and simple.

Job done.

Web will be released in the Autumn, Falling Awake Spring 2014 and Patchwork People towards the end of 2014 (unless I get lost on the quest).

Which one of the 7 are you working on?

Follow me on twitter @Storytellerdeb

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DeborahMartin.Author

Or find me on my website: www.debbiemartin.co.uk

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His, yours, theirs or Gods – picking a POV.
April 28, 2013

daffodils

‘I wandered lonely as a cloud …’ (William Wordsworth)- 1st  person POV

 

 

‘He rammed the dagger hard under his victims ribs and watched the blood ooze stickily over his hand …’ (Debbie Martin) 3rd person POVdagger

 

And the tricky question is – ‘to be or not to …’ No, the trickier question still is ‘which POV to use?’

 

There are in fact several on offer – the five types of point of view (POV) are:

1. 1st Person Point of View – the person telling the story does it through their own eyes ‘I’. It allows the author to develop the inner workings of their characters mind and emotions in fine detail, but can be hard to pull off unless the character is completely ‘real’. Wonderful for psycho’s and deeply philosophical themes as you can really delve into motivations, but be careful not to get caught up in too much tell and not enough show..

2. 3rd Person Point of View – the characters actions are reported ‘he/she/they’ but can be expanded on by some explanation of why they do what they do… ‘she stole him. She thought Carrie must have known that she would steal her lover. Why wouldn’t she when she’d always been a bitch to her? It was just too easy not to …’ This POV reports fully, and has the advantage of being able to comment on the motivations behind the characters actions but is not ‘inside the head’ of the character as one could be when writing in 1st person POV. A useful mix of show and tell.

3. 3rd Person limited POV – the characters actions are reported but without the advantage of examining why they do as they do. The author has to really concentrate on showing why, rather than POV confusiontelling. ‘She stole Carrie’s lover. She’d always been a bitch towards her in the past …’ (but why had she?)

4. Omniscient Point of View – everything is revealed to the reader but not to the characters – often by a narrator, so the reader knows why everyone does everything, but the characters don’t. It’s rather like standing on the top of a tall building and watching the people scrabble around like ants below – you know who is about to be squished and who run off with the big crumb some other human dropped, but they don’t.

5. Limited Omniscient Point of View – like the characters, there are hidden parts of the story that the reader doesn’t know either  – a lot like real life, actually!

Once you’ve picked your POV, the trick is to stick to it – or rather, the trick is not to get unstuck by it and find you’ve switched POV half way through, without realising it…

‘He watched her approach from a distance, marvelling at the easy way she picked her way through the molehills that had erupted overnight on the smooth green lawn. She was slim and lithe, the way he liked women to be. The old fat woman who ran the site office disgusted him with her rolls of fat. This woman enchanted him.

She in turn was amused by his close scrutiny of her, wondering if he watched all women as closely as this…’

confusionIn the first paragraph, we are in 3rd person POV, which is fine.

 

In the second paragraph, we are also in 3rd person POV – which is also fine – but it is a different character’s 3rd person POV. Whoever you start with, stick with them; and whichever POV you are using, keep within it. Consistency is key.

 

I used 1st person POV all the way through in my novel Courting the Dark, which is due out in July. The twist though was that I have three heads I jump into to tell the tale – and one of them is very sick indeed, but the others don’t know that – and neither does the reader know who it is either! If you are telling all in 1st person POV, remember to also keep your reader hooked along the way. They either have to absolutely love and identify with the character your writing as, or be fascinated to know what is going to happen next despite being already in their head …

A little on characterisation  coming up next time …

Follow me on Twitter @Storytellerdeb

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/DebbieMartin.Author

or via my website: www.debbiemartin.co.uk

 

 

 

14 ways to turn a true tale
April 9, 2013

Style is a tricky tale. It’s not the letters and words that count, it’s the way you put them together – a bit like size not mattering. What’s even more difficult is that appreciation of style is completely subjective – what one person likes another hates. The most important aspect of style is finding the one YOU like.

quillSomeone once told me never to compromise myself or my values as whilst someone might detest me for my principles and manner of delivering them, someone else will love me and it whilst the person who loves me will read avidly and delightedly whatever I write, no amount of persuasion will coerce the detester to read the detested.  So what useful tips are there to be passed on about finding YOUR style? Here’s a flighty fourteen that I can think of, but there will be many more if you regularly listen to other writers views on writing and styling, starting with possibly the most important:

  1. Be true to you – be authentic. No –one else is you, and no-one else will express themselves like you so be you and be proud of you, whatever your thoughts, ideas, use of language or tone. You are unique: revel in it.
  2. Don’t worry about going over the lines. When we were children we learned how to carefully colour inside the lines and follow the required rote in class. Individualism is all about throwing away the rule book and devising your own so don’t worry if you express yourself differently or unconventionally. It is that too, which makes your writing unique and fascinating.
  3. Give your ideas room to breathe. If you cramp yourself up in either thought or response, you can never let anything grow and develop. Be prepared to let your mind and imagination wander, examine new and unexpected possibilities, learn new skills and question old ways. Open your mind and your style will follow.
  4. Say it aloud. When you read something aloud you have to out in the breathing spaces and intonation. If it doesn’t flow, make sense or has little impact, reading aloud will highlight the defects very quickly indeed.
  5. Tread the hire wire without a net. If you want to be fresh and inspirational, you have to be prepared to go out on a limb, examine ideas or concepts you may be uncomfortable with yourself, experiment with styles and words and content you might otherwise fight shy of. Don’t. Embrace a challenge and ‘blow the ****** doors off’!
  6. How do I ‘sound’? It isn’t only what you say it’s how you say it, so say it in a way that is both easy for you to express and for a reader to read. Your tone is as important as your content and style. If you moralise, you will potentially antagonise. If you judge, you will potentially alienate and if you don’t approach the issue with equilibrium, you will miss valuable aspects and opportunities to engage your readers.
  7. pen and bookDon’t worry if you aren’t the first. Plagiarism is word theft, but our ideas are nevertheless all the aggregates of every book we’ve read, film we’ve seen, discussion we’ve had or experience we’ve shared. Don’t be afraid to use these influences to bring your writing and your ideas to life because the take you have on it will be yours alone, and therefore, no matter how many times it may have been considered before, your treatment of it will be brand new.
  8. Write every day. Practice makes perfect, and more writing will encourage more writing – simples.
  9. Believe in yourself, because in order to write you MUST. You are the centre of your writing universe and in order to engage your readers, they have to believe that is so too.
  10. Don’t drivel – know what you mean and your reader will too. If you’re not clear on anything, research it until you are. Your reader needs to respect you and your information must be accurate.
  11. Study yourself know who you are so you can express yourself openly, honestly and with clarity. If you don’t know your own mind, no-one else will either.
  12. Write with passion. Become an artistic beast, not a domestic pet and express yourself freely. Don’t be prim, or proper, be bold and bad – readers want to read something inspiring and riveting- grab them, hold them and take them with you.
  13. Know your own values – much like knowing yourself, but values are the outward demonstration of your inner beliefs and they need to be apparent in your writing for your voice to be authentic and your writing to be credible. Take some time examining your belief systems and values so you know what it is you are subconsciously or consciously interpreting through your writing.
  14. 14.   Don’t follow the crowd – be unpredictable. You are, after all, aren’t you? You’re a writer …chinese writing

And if you want to try a bit of fun, see which writer you write most like here:

http://iwl.me/

and check out another useful blog/handout here (if you ignore the Americanisms):

http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/style/

Follow me on Twitter: @Storytellerdeb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DebbieMartin.Author

Website: http://www.debbiemartin.co.uk

 

Finding a style
April 9, 2013

Writing style:

What is it? Is it genre-specific – a certain format that stamps the writers presence on their prose? Is it content specific – dependent on what you are writing about? Or is it all down to intent? An underlying principle that delivers a specific impact aside from the words it is conveyed through.

Probably all of these- and more. Style is a writer’s personal signature created through their collection and use of words. It seems easy, when we refer to a writer’s style, to assume that as soon as anyone starts writing, they immediately adopt their personal style and that’s it.

Child writing Of course it’s hardly that simple. Personal style is something that develops over a period of time- like the way children grow. The five year old shows only the tantalising whisp of the promise of the adult they will become. Professor Winston, in his documentary series of ‘7 up’, ‘14 up’ and so on tried to demonstrate how the adult-to-be was clearly present in the child, and in as much as he could indicate certain traits in  them, but it was very much down to the experiences they had and the opportunities that came their way that shaped their future. It’s the old nature/nurture argument. We have latent abilities  but we have to do something with them to develop them into skills, so writing style doesn’t automatically flow from the first piece of prose we write, it grows from practice and experimentation.

How to?

Trial and error, experimentation and repetition, and wide reading help, but in the end it will be down to time, volume and feedback that will ultimately develop the style you stick with – how you feel about it, how well it delivers the message you want to give, and whether your readers get that same satisfaction and understanding from reading it in that format. That is where writing exercises and prompts and subsequent feedback and critique has most value.

To play around with possible forms, look at a variety of writing styles amongst well-known authors – the flowing-thought style of Sylvia Plath in The Bell Jar , the densely descriptive and somewhat turgid style of Hilary Mantel (Bring up the Bodies), the pacy style of Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine (most recent – The Child’s Child)  or the almost conversational style of Julian Barnes (The Sense of an Ending). These are just a few ideas – pick a favourite author, or a new one you’ve not read before – or one that is a current award winner – of the Costa etc. Now, try out writing in their style and see how it fits with you. Take any piece of prose – it can just be taken from a newspaper article, if you like, and write it in the style you’ve chosen.  How does it fit with you? Are you happy writing in that style? How have you instinctively modified it? Do you like reading that style of prose?

writing 4

 

writing 3

 

writing 2

 

 

 

 

 

Now turn it around and take a section from one of their books and try paraphrasing it into your words. What comes out the other end? It will almost invariably be the style you instinctively slip into and that will form a basis for how you style your future writing, although you may adopt several styles depending on the work you are doing at the time. For instance essays and academic articles will almost certainly have a more literary and formal style, magazine articles more conversational and fiction may have any style you like to adopt as long as it melds with the genre you are writing in. After that, it is a case of write, write, and write, and you will hone your style more and more; and invite feedback and positive criticism whenever you can.

Do not take criticism personally; take it as a means to improvement, after all, the most successful style – however it is formed – is the one a reader wants to read.

Follow me on Twitter @Storytellerdeb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DebbieMartin. Author

Website: http://www.debbiemartin.co.uk

Do you have an evil twin?
December 29, 2012

Do you have an evil twin?

You know the one that eats the packet of biscuits when you’re on a diet, or flirts with someone’s partner at a party, or secretly uses the credit card you’d hidden at the back of your purse when you know the credit balance is already too high, or eats the last rolo … the bad side

Yep, that’s the one. It’s your alter ego. The one you really don’t want to admit to but who is there with you, every step of the way, dogging the nice, kind, principled things you do with the mean little comments about what you’d really like to do…

Now that sounds bad – and a little weird, but actually its ok for us to all have that BAD person inside because comparing like with like doesn’t work, but comparing good with bad lets you see what is really the right thing to do and what really is not! Good and bad luck work the same way. If you didn’t have bad things happen to you occasionally, you wouldn’t be able to leap about in quite the same way when something good pops up. If it was all good, there would be nothing different to notice would there?

So why do we have a good and a bad side? Freud, Jung and a whole host of others psychs have plenty to say about it. Maslow is famous for proposing that human motivation is based on a hierarchy of needs. The lowest level of need is physiological and survival needs, such as hunger and thirst. Further levels up include belonging and love, self-esteem, and finally self-actualisation.

Self-actualisation, hmm – what the ****** is that? Well the nearest in layman’s language to it is

  • the discovery of one’s vocation or destiny,
  • the realisation of life as precious,
  • acquisition of important experiences,
  • being able to developing choice,
  • and having a sense of accomplishment.

Ok, what has that to do with good and bad? Well, the crux of that is as we approach a new ‘New Year’. Are your choices and your 2013 going to be ‘bad’, or ‘good’? Is your alter ego who grumbles about everything, criticises everyone, refuses to do anything new, and is dissatisfied about life in general because it is all ‘bad’ going to take the first step into 2013, or is your ‘good’ persona going to beat it there?

midnight approachesWe are all about to face the New Year’s resolution crisis point any day now in a time when the economy is in recession, businesses are failing and everyone is finding it tougher and more depressing than any time since the 1930’s. Those New Year choices will take you at least a year forward; maybe much further, so don’t let your alter ego keep you in the old ways of 2012. Be pro-active if you haven’t, brave even if you don’t think you are, optimistic even though you’re not. It’s not surprising to know that ‘self-actualisation’ is in your hands, and so is the fate of your evil twin …

I have given life to two evil twins in Courting the Dark which is coming out next year. One of the characters is my weak and silly side, and another is my very wicked one. Now you have to read the book when it comes out to see what they’re like, don’t you 😉

Come and read more on www.debbiemartin.co.uk

Follow me on Twitter @StorytellerDeb

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Disturbing times ahead …
November 12, 2012

There are always moments of crisis or change in our lives and often they produce insights and inner knowledge we didn’t have before. They change us – maybe indefinably to those who are the onlookers of our lives, but subtly and irrevocably to us, the intimate viewers of our own landscape.  I call these exciting, but disturbing moments, transformations because they do transform us in some way. And transformations do not have to be earth-shattering or mind-boggling. The most significant ones are often quiet realisations of a tiny part of the bigger whole, because that’s exactly what we are most of the time – a part of the whole.

And so, obviously, I write about transformation in my books. Maybe the transformation is frivolous and fun – changing a shrinking violet into a gaudy sunflower as they read and laugh at my embarrassingly naïve antics in ‘Are you the One?’ (You can do that too here:

Buy Are You The One? Here 

Maybe it is gaining confidence from defining a route forward by taking on board

the ideas in ‘The  Strategy’ – which by the way can be downloaded free from Amazon:

Download the Strategy here:

on 1st December – but be quick about it, and please leave a review as a thank you …

However, some transformations are massive, and create a massive impact in the lives of not only the person transforming, but those around them too. I want to introduce you to one such massive transformation that has and is taking place in the lives of a small minority of the population but nevertheless one that makes us question many of our principles and attitudes and sometimes find ourselves and our empathy sadly wanting. I have written a book about it, called Chained Melody which will be published in January 2013.

Some very talented people have taken beautiful photographs of it and they will be on display in Bournemouth Library, and Flirt Café Bar, also in Bournemouth from the 18th to the 25th January 2013:

http://www.flirtcafebar.com/Events.html

And some very brave people will be telling and showing what that transformation meant for them as a result:  Transsexualism.

Have a look at the links and find out a bit more about another life, lived in what might seem like another world to the one you inhabit, but which is actually only just next door.

What spurred on a very hetero heterosexual to write a book about it?

This from Shakespeare:

‘For such as we are made of, such we be.’

Twelfth Night Act 2 Scene 2 line 3

And,

‘There is no darkness but ignorance.’

Twelfth Night Act 4 Scene 2 line 41

 

To take ourselves out of the darkness of ignorance, we have to experience something new and often disturbing – to have our own transformation.

Here we go – the back cover blurb fom the book to get you going, and next week a little sample of what’s inside the cover:

 

‘Chaos is rejecting all you have learned, chaos is being yourself.’ – Emil e M Cioran

Can the flutter of a butterfly’s wing cause a ripple in the world, so big it can change not just one life – but many? Chaos theory says it can, claim the theorists. Two men, two lives, one seemingly small incident, but it changes one man’s whole view of himself and the chrysalis transforms into a butterfly whose fragile wings cause shockwaves beyond those imaginable in the lives of the people around him.

Set in the 1970-80’s, the hurricane whipped up by this butterfly’s wings brings not only dramatic change at a time when the sexual revolution was already under way, but death, damnation and forbidden love. Transsexual transformation, the nature of love, and finding a true self from within are all set against a backdrop of life in the permissive eighties – and a suspicious death which creates the test of whether true love really exists or whether the chains of social convention will keep it forever imprisoned.

Join me on Facebook:

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Twitter:

@StorytellerDeb

And on my website:

www.debbiemartin.co.uk

And please do talk back – I love a good conversation …

Debbie Martin

Echoes
October 22, 2012

Have you ever been somewhere, and felt like you’ve been there before?

Or met someone and been convinced you already know them?

Or something sounds a distant chord in your memory and you’re sure you’ve spoken those words before or faced that situation in another time and place?

They are all echoes, but of what? A communal memory, a past life or merely similarities your mind perceives in an experience now that echoes shades of an experience from the past? Complicated , isn’t it; and far too many questions! So let’s take it bit by bit. Starting with memories…

There is an argument posed that we have collective memories. We’re all in reality part of one great big computer like structure which shares memories, experiences and emotions across a collective (no, not Borg-like, for all you Trekkies out there…) – a universal perception. After all we are all part of the universe as a whole… We are created out of it atom by atom, and we return to it in the same way – ‘dust to dust…’ not that I want to be too depressing first thing on a Monday morning! Could that be the reason that you are feeling this strange resonance with a place, person or situation you don’t recall ever having come across before? It’s not your memory, but someone else’s that you are sharing? That in itself brings all kinds of allusions to writing for me. Writing is a way of sharing an experience – one which you may personally not have had, but the writer has, and by picturing it in words, enables you to experience it too. The most successful and empathetic writers will take you right to the place, the moment, the intensity of the emotion as their character experiences it second by second. That, ironically, is a very real way to share a collective memory, but perhaps we are able to do that without it taking form or shape. Maybe it can be in a sense or a thought that we all have access to if we are open or perceptive enough, and that moment when you feel a sense of deja vu is precisely when your mind is receptive enough to make it happen?

Mumbo jumbo maybe, but if you think that, you will like even less my supposition that there are times and places we have experienced before, here or in another way. Our world is full of explained phenomena – black holes (1), Dark Matter (2) and other multi-dimensional possibilities (3). Could we slip sideways, forwards or backwards at any point in time without being aware of it? Or is that the rationale behind reincarnation?

Whatever your opinions, I hope I’ve made you slip-stream into other possibilities and wonder ‘if?’ even if only briefly.

I’m currently writing about a what if situation in my next novel and its interestingly taken me into looking at the era of the Salem witch trials, so perhaps a few fascinating facts and eerie reconstructions from then in my next blog – and in the meantime, to leave wondering, were you there…?

Welcome to my blog spot. I am Debbie, the Social Single, and Storyteller to anyone who wants to listen…

Come and join in my extraordinary life at

www.singlesthatmingle.co.uk

and read my stories and novels at

www.debbiemartin.co.uk

(A few notes that help:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter
  3. http://www.lhc.ac.uk/The%20Particle%20Detectives/Take%205/13686.aspx   )

Lotions, potions and nefarious poultices:
October 5, 2012

A short while ago I wrote about a magic bullet for love and how feasibly our natural hormones could be blended and  transformed into a little magic bullet to create or prolong love. To put or keep us all in the love trap. My fertile imagination immediately ran riot with the idea so now it is in the throes of transforming itself into the plot for a novel, but in the meantime a little recreational research has brought forth other interesting factors to consider.

Women are always keen on lotions and potions so I started there, only to be amazed to find that versions of the magic bullet are already on sale if you look for them. On the internet there are sites selling perfumes you can add pheromones (the little whiffs that say corrrr!) to, for a price, and lo and behold, there was oxytocin – the real ‘feel good factor’ available in a spray. Now it would seem possible for anyone to go on their first date, sprayed and splattered with the various scents which will not only make you smell good but have your date develop a taste for you too! Well, all’s fair in love and war, I suppose, but what are the motivations behind needing to trick our mate into love with us.

Lotions, potions and magic love bullets have a long and heady history. In fact they have been the subject of salacious use since the Greco-Roman world. Spells of erotic attraction and compulsion are found within Hellenic Greek papyri and archeologically on amulets dating from the 2nd century BC to the late third century AD. Magic practices even influenced the private rituals of the Gauls. During the later mediaeval period (14- 17th century) the use of ‘magic’ artfully played its part in establishing and promoting marriage where the unions had special importance. ‘Magic’ was expensive and could cause damage to the spell caster so it was restricted to use only on men and women of status. Spells were supposed to be secret, but were rarely so. On hearing they were the victim of magic, the subject very often behaved as if a spell had been cast on them whether or not it would work – hence the self-fulfilling prophecy!

Love magic has its fair share of airings in art and literature too.  It is used in the stories of ‘Heracles’, in Wagner’s opera ‘Tristan and Isolde’, Donizetti’s ‘The Elixir of Love’ (L’Elisir d’amore), and Manuel de Falla’s ballet ‘El amor brujo’ (the magic of love). Magic and potions also appear in Marlowe’s ‘Dr Faustus’, and Shakespeare has a field day with them tragically in ‘Rome and Juliet’, and comically in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Fast-forward to the modern day, and there it is again in our beloved Harry Potter’s harum scarum adventures. Taking a quote from The Tales of Beedle the Bard,

“Powerful infatuations can be induced by the skillful potioneer…”

No less than seven magic love potions are sold by Fred and George Weasley in their “WonderWitch” line of magical doo-da’s for the ladies. Unfortunately J.K. Rowling doesn’t offer too much detail about the elixirs in question so we’ll have to assume that amongst eye of newt and tail of bat, they probably also included a teensy bit of testosterone, a pooff of pheromone and ooodles of oxytocin, mixed with very vasopressic entactogens.

But why? Why do we feel the need to trap and bind a lover to our side? Are we all so convinced of our own lack of attractiveness that we have to use potions and ‘magic’ to deceive? How you see yourself, and consequently the way you behave are all very much part of the way you live your life and what you achieve in it as a result. Psychology, right? It was around very effectively even in the middle ages; remember the poor old ‘magic’ victim who thought they were under a spell and so convinced themselves of the outcome anyway?

I don’t believe that a puff of pheromone will ultimately create happiness for you. In fact steady self-belief, solid principles, good sense and a fun-loving adventurous attitude seems far more attractive to me than snorting the stuff of dreams. I think the creation of happiness is generally in our own hands, not our spray atomiser.

Happy hunting – and mind you dodge those bullets!

Follow me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Debbie-Martin-author-and-writer/290947497649847

and on my website:

http://www.debbiemartin.co.uk/

where you’ll find lots more to read and information when my books are published.

Debbie Martin

The lock of love
September 17, 2012

The locks of Love

Recently I visited Paris again – I first went long ago when I was in my twenties, then again in my thirties, once in my forties, and here I am into the fifties so it seemed almost predestined it was time to go again. Going somewhere new makes you learn so much about yourself and what you believe in as well as about the place you visit. This time, love was on my mind – not because I have a partner, but because I’ve spent a lot of time this year thinking about the essence of it – what is it really all about? Writing Chained Melody, and now with the first draft complete, has made me examine love from many angles I hadn’t given great thought to before and one experience from Paris brought the tricky question of love rearing up again.

 

On a bridge called the Pont de l’Archeveche, near Notre Dame in Paris there are thousands of love locks –padlocks entwined and clasped to the bridge, bearing the names of the beloved and the lover.

 

The trend derives from Serbia, where a local schoolmistress named Nada, who was from Vrnjačka Banja, fell in love with an army officer named Relja. After they committed to each other Relja went away to war in Greece where he fell in love with a local woman from Corfu. The result was that Relja and Nada broke off their engagement but Nada never recovered and was said to have died of a broken heart. Young girls from Vrnjacka Banja following the story decided to protect their own love by writing down their names, together with the names of their loved ones, on padlocks and attaching them to the railings of the bridge where Nada and Relja used to meet. The two names padlocked together signified their lover was locked to them, and therefore free to no-one else.

The trend was popularised in Rome, with the ritual of affixing love padlocks to the bridge Ponte Milvio attributable to the book I Want You by Italian author  Federico Moccia. Padlocks are firmly in proliferation on the Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne, the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island, and the Humber Bridge in Toronto. They also abound on the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Venice, and the Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin. In Fengengyuan, Taiwan, love padlocks affixed to an overpass at the city’s train station are often in pairs, and on a fountain in Montevideo in Uruguay, a plaque is affixed to the front of the fountain that provides an explanation in both English and Spanish. The English version reads,

The legend of this young fountain tells us that if a lock with the initials of two people in love is placed in it, they will return together to the fountain and their love will be forever locked.

It seems the world over, lovers wants to trap their lover by their side and keep them forever. Yet isn’t love meant to be quite the reverse of a trap? Is it not meant to set you free? Surely love is all about choice and that is why we find it so incomprehensible at times when we see two people who we objectively regard as quite unmatched, hopelessly, helplessly and happily in love?

The odd thing about love is that there are so many different types. For example, there is the love of a parent for a child, a child for a parent. There is the love between friends. There is even the love of one’s pets. The biblical quote claims to describe perfect love:

1 Corinthians 13:4-13

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

But how do we aspire to such demanding criteria? Perhaps the central element of the quote should warrant more attention than we generally give it because normally we focus on the first part of the quote, ‘love is patient’ etc, and the last, ‘but the greatest of these is love,’ to its detriment.

Loving is all about being adult. To give and yet not expect a return is an adult concept; to face the truth of a situation and still accept, even if that truth is painful for us to bear – as in the case of rejection – is especially difficult, unless you approach it with unquestioning maturity and self-belief. Being rejected does not make you useless, or the rejecter cruel. It is simply a statement of differences. If you love someone, you allow them to choose. Actually, whether you love them or not, it is everyone’s right to choose, and not your right to impose.

Finally where love ‘does not seek its own’, it never seeks to imprison the object of its attention because in doing that, we are not truly being loving. When you love truly, you can only want the best for that person, even if they choose differently from you, otherwise all you are seeking is your own satisfaction.

So are the padlocks of love appropriate, fascinating though they are? As a token offered and accepted at the time – maybe; but only if the key accompanies it. I have a love padlock in Chained Melody, but it is left open. I think that’s the way love should be. Always offered, but never expected.

 

Future publication dates will be coming up shortly on my website as The Strategy is going onto Kindle as we speak, and Courting the Dark is with a publisher right now. Chained Melody is on track to be completed this month.

Follow me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Debbie-Martin-author-and-writer/290947497649847

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http://www.debbiemartin.co.uk/

where you’ll find lots more to read and information when my books are published.

 

Debbie Martin

 

Ireland calling
August 25, 2012

I’m away to Ireland today – the Emerald Isle, the green sceptre, land of blarney and Guinness. I love the lilting accent and the nonsensical sound to the Southern Irish voice. Whenever I hear it I always think of the old joke:

‘Paddy came up to me last night and asked – was it your brother or you who died last week?’

 

 

So what is it about Ireland that makes it so romantic, so beguiling, so charming?

Is it the accent I love so much or the dreamy vision of a future not bounded by rigid organisation, but flowing with fun and the same manyana that is so much part of the European rural culture?

How do the Irish differ from the English?

We have the archetypal stiff upper lip, bowler hat and determination to queue. Our very Englishness is what made us such a force to be reckoned with that our tiny little island was able to rule one half of the world’s surface and a third of its people (or was it the other way round?) when we were the Great British Empire. But the Irish have leprechauns and potatoes and navvies, and have never ruled anywhere – unless it’s the bar in the pub.

Let’s set aside the Irish north/ south divide, which is more about politics than people, and wonder who is the more successful? The Brits, or the Irish?

Someone once said that success is what you achieve, but happiness is what you experience. Maybe that is what is so wonderful about the Irish people I have met and which makes me associate the place with that sense of freedom and joy I so relish being part of this week – just the lilt of their voice alone makes them sound happy!

And of course

Happiness is not a reward – it is a consequence.
Robert Ingersoll

…I may add, that everyone can have – just smile …

 

 

                                                    Diddliy-i-dee-dee…

 

Follow me on Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Debbie-Martin-author-and-writer/290947497649847

and on my website:

http://www.debbiemartin.co.uk/

where you’ll find lots more to read and information when my books are published.

Debbie Martin