Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cranford

Cranford is a delightful British TV series that aired its first series wayyy back in 2007. A two-part Christmas special followed in 2009.

From The Guardian.

Cranford might just win a competition of TV Series With the Most British Actors That You've Seen In Other Things Crammed In, Ever. There's Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton, Jim Carter, Andrew Buchan, Claudie Blakley, Simon Woods. Tom Hiddleston appears in the Christmas special, along with Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Dockery, and Tim Curry.

Based on novellas and short stories by Elizabeth Gaskell (which you can buy cheaply via Kindle), Cranford is about the comings and goings and characters in a small Northern English village, some twenty miles from Manchester, in the 1840s. The Industrial Revolution hums along in the background of this series--the railroad's approach toward Cranford is a big deal throughout--but the village itself continues on as it has for centuries, most likely. Like Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell was writing about familiar surroundings and about her own time.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Too Modern? Downton Abbey and other period drama storylines

Yes, this is a rant.

I am a Downton Abbey fan. I wouldn't call myself a casual viewer--I read fanfiction once in a while, for God's sake--but I'm not as fandom-involved as some Downton fans are, for my own sanity. I prefer to keep the Downton discussion amongst friends--and blog visitors, should any be brave enough to comment.

This goes back to my opinions on costume dramas and my preferences for them, as expressed in a past post, Why I Like Tom Branson.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Beacon: Or, why I could never be a journalist


In another fit of recent almost-spring cleaning, I found a yellowing copy (cheap newsprint, what can I say?) of that eminent school paper, The Forest Hills High School Beacon. I worked on said paper during my junior year and part of my senior year. I saw it go from a punky little operation with, like, 10 kids in a room with a couple of laptops and an advisor who repeatedly told us not to plagiarize---

"I have two goldfish, a wife, and two kids--I will not go to jail for you."

--To a larger staff (about twenty, maybe, all told, including two of my closest high school friends), a slightly higher circulation (or, at least, less kids threw it in the trash) and seriously old computers. Seriously. Giant, old computers.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Men's Fashion, 1790s

Now I've finished writing the first act of the third draft of the book...time for a post.

I was writing a scene where my MC gets dressed for a fancy-ish dinner party. I wondered if he would wear the longer pantaloons or knee breeches with stockings. And that was when I realized that I was hopelessly confused between the Regency gear men wore:

Coat, waistcoat, shirt. Cravat. Long, tight black pants. Boots. Hat.
Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

More English Accents in My Head

In a further example of "English Accents in my Head," I give you Andrew Buchan as William Garrow:



The 18th century use of English has a lot to do with this. I feel utterly inarticulate watching Garrow's Law.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Garrow's Law


Andrew Buchan as William Garrow
I came across a BBC TV show recently. I'd heard about it before, but never watched. It's sort of like Law & Order: Georgian England.

Garrow's Law takes place in late 18th century England. William Garrow is a young barrister. He becomes an Old Bailey lawyer case by case, bit by bit, challenging the accepted methods of trials and defense attorneys in Georgian England. Watching the show adds another dimension to Georgian England, one that's more about the normal people rather than the upper classes.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Favorite Female Characters

I'm not sure what this list says about me as a person. Also, this is sort of an all-time kind of list, so while I liked Katniss, Hermione, Bryony Asquith, Mulan, Sybil Crawley, Eowyn, Jo March, and many, many other female characters, these are the ones I felt most connected to and still feel an enduring connection with.

I've read NaNo threads and writing articles and AW threads expressing anxiety about how to write women, both from guys who aren't sure how to deconstruct the female mind in order to write it, and from women who say they don't really like other girls, don't want to write stereotypical females, don't want their one female character to have to represent all of womankind.

Here, I hope, are a variety of female characters, from different mediums. The fact that most of my favorites have horrible tempers probably say more about my own fictional preferences than what I think is necessarily effective in writing women. But who knows.

Who are your all-time fave female characters? Why?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

From My Grandmother's Basement: The Oldest Books I Own


When my dad's mother died in 1995, the family decided to sell her house. Which involved cleaning out all her stuff--including the basement. And though I was only 9 years old, the thing I remember about the clean-out process were the books.

Stacks of them. In the basement.

My grandparents, uncles and father are readers. Big readers. Coupling that with my grandmother's inability to throw anything away, the books resembled an episode of Hoarders.