Tag Archives: literature

Are You Long-Winded?

If your long or descriptive sentences are anything like Stevenson’s, I’ll gladly read every last word of ’em!

SQUIRE TRELAWNEY, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17__ and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow inn and the brown old seaman with the sabre cut first took up his lodging under our roof.

I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came plodding to the inn door, his sea-chest following behind him in a hand-barrow–a tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown man, his tarry pigtail falling over the shoulder of his soiled blue coat, his hands ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails, and the sabre cut across one cheek, a dirty, livid white.

~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, Chapter I (at Project Gutenberg)

The first sentence of the story has 90 words, and the second one, a description, has 62. They are both perfectly readable.

Don’t worry about how long or descriptive your sentences are, just as long as the grammar is good and every word counts!

N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945), All day he hung round the cove, or upon the cliffs, with a brass telescope, 1911, oil on canvas, collection of the Brandywine River Museum of Art.

 

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In the Best of Company.

TO THE HESITATING PURCHASER

If Irish tales and Irish tunes,
Ghosts and mystery, warmth and cold,
If shadows, starlight, and the moon,
And diamonds, rubies, and white gold,
And all the old romance, retold
Exactly in the ancient way,
Can please, as me they pleased of old,
The wiser readers of today:

–So be it, and fall on! If not,
If studious minds no longer crave,
Their ancient appetites forgot,
Austen, or “Currer Bell” the Brontë,
Or Cooper of the wood and wave:
So be it, also! And may I
And all my creatures share the grave
Where these and their creations lie!

(Adapted from a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson,
in his epigraph for Treasure Island.)

Click on QR Code to scan:

Hardback

Paperback Vol. 1

Paperback Vol. 2

 

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To All My Loyal Readers….

Out in the Parallel Universe, it’s been eleven years since American genealogist Lana Pedersen climbed through the kitchen window in Drumcarroll farmhouse, the ancestral home of Irish journalist Dillon Carroll, and into a series of romantic adventures that she’d never imagined having. About two years later, after Lana’s dust had settled, a Muse traveled from the Parallel Universe to our Universe, and told me to start writing Lana’s story.

That was an adventure I never imagined having: experience of documenting what happened to Lana when she arrived on the inside of that window. The result was a minor-epic-length multi-genre novel, which I published in its current edition five years ago this month: Irish Firebrands.

Irish Firebrands, second printing, available worldwide in hardback and paperback.

Some may wonder why I chose that name for the book. Well, the story is full of firebrands who contributed the sparks that turned Lana’s genealogical research trip to Ireland into a wildfire she couldn’t control: Dillon, Frank, Medb – even Dillon’s deceased father and his friend, Fr Ó Tuathail.

Others may wonder, if the story is a romantic adventure, why I didn’t choose a conventional bared-bodies piece of cover art. Well, it’s not that kind of romance. Irish Firebrands is literary fiction, and the love story is only one of several inflammatory subplots it contains; thus the painting of a Celtic cross grave marker (suggesting Lana’s profession) on the background of a fiery sunset (suggesting the trouble she gets into).

And what has a wellie filled with wildflowers to do with all this? Well, Lana has two love interests, both of whom are classic bad boys, one of whom turns out to be the nice guy who finishes last. It was only when I wrote “The End” that I found out for sure which one was which – but that’s what I get for being an organic writer (a “pantser,” not a “planner”): I was the novel’s first reader, and every chapter held in store another surprise. Even now, when I re-read Irish Firebrands, I’m astonished that such a story could have emerged from my own fingertips.

 

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