Wednesday 15 December 2010


When I love the book I’m reading, that alternate reality can occupy anything between 40% and 100% of my real life. This could not happen, unless I cared. 
  • Plan strengths
  • Consider weaknesses
  • Weigh them down with expectations
  • Give them goals
  • Nothing should ever be easy 
  • Make them moral - so they care
  • Light the path to evolution

When the characters are well-written the reading experience is so intense it can make real life seem an intrusion. Real characters can do that. 

Last Friday, I went to Chalfont St Giles.
I said to my son, “Do you want to go to Rickmansworth?”
This is shorthand for go to buy second hand books and a sausage roll from the bakery.
He answered, “No, I want to go to Chalfont St Giles.”
I took time to unpick why. There was a signpost my son drove past each day on his way to school. He had complex ideas about seeing the name but never being able to get to the place.
I resisted the need to panic - because the SATnav was in the other car – considered it an adventure and we set off.
I didn’t know Chalfont St Giles was where John Milton wrote Paradise Lost (school made me study it.) The author crafted Adam’s struggles and Satan’s ranting in a beautiful cottage at the top of the hill.
Reading Paradise Lost was the first time I’d learned to appreciate Archangels. Raphael, in Near Edgware, was named for his form and function – fiery protective, his role was to argue for truth in every situation. Blast. I still love that book.


  1. Hey Elaine, I still love that book too and I only read the query.

    The charaterizations were beautiful. I'm hanging that up too.

  2. I'm still working my way through it but it is amazing. I have, however, had to look a number of words up and some of them have made me wish for my own copy of the OED

  3. Hi Anne
    Thanks :) As for NE - who knows? It is time-non-specific.

    Hi mshatch
    Olde English is a challenge - I read with study notes and a dictionary but quite a lot of the time I slid over words-hoped-and took a lot on faith ;)

  4. Old English is a very hard thing. I took a class a few semesters that had to do with it and man o man was it hard. I'll be taking a class about Chaucer next semester and in some ways I'm looking forward to it, and not at the same time.

    I have never read "Paradise Lost"

  5. Love me some Paradise Lost. Probably the greatest poem in our language.

  6. I liked those seven elements you mentioned. I need to remember those.

  7. Followed you over from my blog, because of the blogfest, and found this wonderful post. Nice to meet you.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author