Category Archives: Novel

Yossarian slept here: when your father betrays you

Would you feel betrayed by this? Imagine that your father, a famous author, wrote a novel that was clearly based directly on your own family, that it was negative in tone, that it described all his dissatisfaction with his wife, and that … Continue reading

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Crazy Japanese religious cults: how I got the idea for my first book

Today I thought about why I used the Japanese religious cult “Aum Shinrikyo” as the starting point for my first novel. My ex-wife and I stopped in Japan on our way back from Europe in 1985, and we visited Tokyo, … Continue reading

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How many characters spoil the plot?

Last night I saw Prometheus, the supposed prequel to 1973 film Alien, with Sigourney Weaver. Frankly, the plot didn’t impress me, and the film suffered from what I suspect is a common fault in films and books: too many “main” … Continue reading

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Why is John le Carre such a good spy / thriller writer?

I first came across John Le Carre’s novels 30 years ago. The first book of his I read was “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold.” It dealt with a theme that recurs constantly through the remainder of le … Continue reading

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Describing setting in novels.

I’ve been thinking lately about setting: that is, how we describe the place where the action in our novel is happening. Think of the things your character can observe about a place.  Interiors What color are the walls? What color … Continue reading

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Passing as another race – what I’m reading this week

Passing as another race: what I’m reading this week. The book-reading group I belong to is going to be talking about Philip Roth’s “The Human Stain” next month. This deals with a topic I’ve only seen mentioned in one other … Continue reading

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Photos at La Trobe Uni (for the article on the Afghan member of parliament Malalai Joya, scroll down)

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