Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Cross Stitch 20 years on

our walk yesterday
I first read Cross Stitch twenty-one years ago, or thereabouts, and thought it was original and exciting. Last week I found a new copy in the library and took it home wondering how it would read, given that I'd be looking at it with a slightly different viewpoint since I've started writing my own stories now.
I read it in long snatches and found it entertaining, if a little heavy on the anecdotes about Jamie’s childhood, a tad improbable that Claire could actually kill a wolf with her bare hands, or meet the Loch Ness monster. But then, most readers would agree using a stone circle as a time machine is not a great pointer to a story based on solid facts, and read on with glee, which is what I did.

In general, I thought the book wordy for today’s world, but having said that, the writing is better than most, the storyline is entertaining and there are incidents of great charm as well as menace. I’ve followed Gabaldon’s volumes as they’ve been issued, and the latest and eighth volume is due sometime in 2013 -

Gabaldon has her own unique style, and I shouldn’t think anyone could replicate it, but she has advice to offer that is worth reading. Here’s a snippet from her on how to write sex scenes:
Where most beginning writers screw up (you should pardon the expression) is in thinking that sex scenes are about sex. A good sex scene is about the exchange of emotions, not bodily fluids. That being so, it can encompass any emotion whatever, from rage or desolation to exultation, tenderness, or surprise.”

 Read the rest for yourselves: while I start reading Dragonfly in Amber, the second volume in the Outlander series, and ponder which emotions my current hero and heroine are currently exchanging.

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