Search

Gwen Tuinman

NOVELIST

Tag

amwriting

Using Quotation Marks: Yes or No

I’ve been thinking a lot about the absence of quotation marks in recent literature. Our current generation of fiction writers is not the first to cast off traditional dialogue punctuation. James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and E.L. Doctorow were among the early pioneers in that regard. 

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, published in 1992, was the first quotation mark free novel I read. Readers complained about the difficulty to distinguish dialogue from narration. I remember my own concentration being pulled from the story. Oh wait, someone just spoke? Who said that? After a few chapters, persistence paid off. The story’s current pulled me forward.

Continue reading “Using Quotation Marks: Yes or No”

Indentured Servitude in Canada

In mid-1800s Canada, there existed the core ingrained settler values of independence and self-reliance that dissuaded municipalities from lending financial assistance to the poor in rural areas. As urban populations grew, the incidence of poverty and crime escalated. Poor laws, like the ones that obligated Englands municipalities to assist impoverished locals, did not exist in Canada. With no effective welfare infrastructure, communities responded by “auctioning off” able-bodied poor children and adults who had neither family nor local relations to help them.

Continue reading “Indentured Servitude in Canada”

Trip to a Goat Farm

Oh my gosh—goats! Since choosing to incorporate a small herd into the novel (in progress), I’ve become completely enamoured with the little scamps. My curiosity was fully lit after a call out to my Facebook community garnered anecdotes and recommendations on where to learn more. I’m continually grateful for the anecdotes and facts they shared, many of which will colour the pages of my story.

“When they are happy, they do a little ‘corkscrew’ dance/prance which is very comical.” ~ Mila

 “The goat, unhappy at being left alone, would invariably open the field gate with her horns and strike out for company, joining us companionably for the duration of the walk.” ~ Aisha

“Merlin is so sweet & loving, & so smart! He loves to come up to you and let out a quiet maa, waiting for a leg or head massage.” ~ Hanna

Part of acquiring context and developing authenticity in writing can involve field research. I took that term quite literally when my husband Eric and I recently visited friends, Candice and Ken at their farm in Northumberland County. They introduced their herd of Lamancha goats and acquainted me with the basics of their behaviour and care. After growing up with fairy tales and children’s stories featuring billy goats, nanny goats and kids, it’s going to take some practise to refer to them as a buck and a females as a doe, and a youngster as a buckling or doeling.

Continue reading “Trip to a Goat Farm”

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: