This and That…

Fotosearch_k25788172The “This” in my current title (I’ve used a similar title before) refers to BBC audio-book plays. The “That,” is my name being used in a novel. I don’t think the two are connected, though I’ve experienced writing ideas and connections coming at me from surprising directions. As I found out with my current WIP.

I’ve tried, but don’t have the knack for writing screenplays, much less a regular play, much less a BBC type radio drama. But I’m thinking there is something to be learned from dissecting your novel down to acts or segments. Especially if back stories, scene painting, character development, internal thoughts, etc…are what you/I like to write. And also, if forever-in-length compound and complex sentences with parenthetical phrases, asides, and flashbacks are what one(me) likes writing.(smile)

Recently though, over the last year or so, I’ve become very fond of “This”—BBC radio broadcasts offered by Audible that I can download to my Kindle and listen to as I’m falling off to sleep. My current favorites are Simon Brett’s[i] novels with the leading character Charles Paris. Adapted for radio, with Bill Nighy in the lead as Charles Paris.[ii] I’ve read many Simon Brett novels, and I’m very fond of his books and characters: now, I am also so impressed at the skill, ability, and writing-ear of the novel adapters for BBC Radio. (Of course Bill Nighy is also an extremely good actor-film and voice.)

As you may have already guessed, from “This,” my thoughts have gone down the ThinkingHeadtoBookpath of—how the essence of the character, the basics of the plot, and setting, are all capsulated into two-to-four hours of narration with a few sound effects to produce a really enjoyable play/radio adaptation. Though I’m still thinking about this particular tightrope,  I have noticed in my latest edit of my latest WIP my “what’s necessary” filter seems heightened. Of course, there are items not crucial for a “hearing” experience,  that I still think are necessary to the reading experience to enable escape to/into a different world through a character’s eyes. Indeed, both well done BBC plays I’ve heard, and many loverly novels I’ve read exemplify story-telling at its best–but from different perspectives.

The “That” is—my name used in a book. Marilyn Meredith, a wonderful writer with two series[i] I follow had a blog tour contest wherein a person who left a comment on each post during the tour went into a drawing . The Prize—Marilyn would use your full name in an upcoming book. What a wonderful promotional idea, I thought, and still think. I won one of her contests.

But I must admit, at first encounter on the printed page, seeing and internally hearing my full name was disconcerting . Marilyn’s Madeline Gornell, was of course quite different from me (I think!) Except for her hobby. It was a unique and enjoyable experience, and this Sunday here at Writers in Residence, I will be posting a short interview with Marilyn with some questions about Spirit Wind, Turbines, ghosts, and more…

I am combining the first names of two lovely ladies I know into one for a character’s name (with their permission of course). LydiaRose. And  given my own feelings and reactions now, I’m now wondering if I should. I liked my name “in lights,” but will they too, once the deed is done? Hmm…

A further follow on tidbit and unexpected connection—and to my joy—seeing my name in Marilyn’s latest Tempe Crabtree novel also led me down the character names path,[iv] and yet again, out of the blue, a serendipity connection was made—I realized what was wrong with a recently dumped WIP that I just didn’t like! I changed a name, and with that simple revision the “underlying” plot fix popped right out—A change of character emphasis, and whose mind to start the darned thing in. Now I’m back to Rhodes The Caretakers rewrite/editing. Hope to have out by July…

As always, love hearing your thoughts on my meanderings—such as audio books, BBC radio dramas, character names, ideas coming out of the blue, unexpected connections–this and that…

Happy Writing Trails!


[i] Simon Brett, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Brett

[ii] Bill Nighy, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Nighy

[iii] Marilyn Meredith https://fictionforyou.com/

[iv] We have several great posts on character names on Writers in Residence!

10 thoughts on “This and That…”

  1. Interesting piece, Madeline. I have a hard time listening to audio books. My mind wanders too much. But I do like what you said here, “But I’m thinking there is something to be learned from dissecting your novel down to acts or segments.” That’s how I write, in acts, based on screenplay structure. It seems to work for me.

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    1. Yes, Paul, I even have a book club friend who says they find audio books annoying! Not everyone’s cup of tea. So interesting to hear about how you write–and quite successfully I must add–using screenplay structure. I’m not very good in that direction, but thinking a little more structure like that could cut down on my rewriting time…need to re-wire my brain a bit(smile) Thank you!

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  2. Madeline, so much here popped out at me: Bill Nighy (love him!), a heightened “what’s necessary” filter (I’m battling that danged filter right now in my editing). And fixing your plot via a name change recalled a recent conversation with a writer: she merely changed a character’s’ job and voila—plot dilemma solved!
    I recently read and reviewed Spirit Wind and enjoyed seeing your name “in lights” along with Lorna Collins. I’ll look forward to your upcoming post on SW.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Maggie for stopping by, and your supporting words. Sounds like we’re on several similar brain waves. Isn’t it amazing sometimes what one little change can do. Rewriting/editing often brings out questions for me on the writing trail. Yes, Lorna and I are literary stars! It was definitely a unique experience seeing/reading my name connected to someone else. Marilyn is a delight and a constant inspiration for me. She does so much…

      And thank you for mentioning this post on Face Book, much appreciated!

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  3. How fun that you will be in someone else’s novel–or at least your name will be! And I nearly always try to incorporate screenplay plotting into my books since that seems to work for me.

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    1. Yes, Linda, it is fun. Not that many people recognize my name, but it’s sort of like having a copy of yourself that’s completely different. A unique experience for me for sure.

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  4. Listening to our words really does make a difference. When I teach writing I tell people to use Text-to-Speech to hear what they are writing. It helps eliminate what isn’t necessary and to add what makes the story sing. As for using names of people I know, I might give a friend a guest shot in a story or maybe let them act as an extra, but it does limit the writer if he feels he has to stay within boundaries. Most of the time I won’t use a living person in a story. But it sure makes the writer think about the possibilities.

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  5. It is interesting, how hearing and seeing, combine or don’t combine in a readers mind. If I’m reading something I’ve already heard (or seen on TV) I can hear the voice or see the film actor in my heard. Especially for someone like David Suchet and Hercule Poirot–I think you’re very wise to teach hearing your words spoken back to you, not just reading your words aloud.

    Yes, the name thing is still iffy in my mind–though I so much like the name “LydiaRose”–I may end up abandoning though. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for the mention of Spirit Wind. It was fun naming a character after you, though you had little in common except the one tidbit I just had to add.

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