10 Classic Arthurian retellings

old booksWho doesn’t love an Arthurian retelling? They’re incredibly addictive. Read one and you just want to read another. You’d think you’d get tired of reading the same story over and over but you don’t. There are so many different tales within the Arthurian body of stories, and so many fascinating characters, that a whole host of different stories can be – and have been – created in a number of genres, from young adult to scifi, from fantasy to timeslip. My personal preference is for historical fiction which attempts to bring to life the ‘real’ Arthur and his times in a dark age Celtic Britain. So, with that in mind, here are my top 10: Continue reading

10 reasons why novelists should write short stories

hand writing in notebook

When I started writing I was a bit dismissive of short stories. I enjoyed reading them but I didn’t want to write one. I was going to be a novelist so why should I bother writing short stories? However, for one reason or another, I’ve written a whole pile of short stories – 88 at the last count – and it’s turned out to be really helpful to me as an aspiring novelist – for all sorts of reasons: Continue reading

How to use the Herald Archetype

Lot, King of Gododdin and overlord of the lands of Lothian and Manau, is a fairly minor character in The Trystan Trilogy but whenever he turns up things change for my main character, Corwynal, and usually for the worse. Corwynal is very much a reluctant hero so when Lot turns up in Lothian demanding a levy of men for his forthcoming war with the Caledonians, Corwynal doesn’t want to get involved. He doesn’t want war, especially with his mother’s people, the Caledonian tribes of the north, and he’s afraid war will take his half-brother Trystan away from Lothian and out of his protection. He also resents Lot turning up after eighteen years’ absence. Lot used to be a friend but he let Corwynal down badly and he has no intention of making things easy for Lot. Continue reading

How long should your novel be?

This blog post isn’t about string but it is about length. How long ‘should’ your writing be? This is something I’ve been wrestling with for years since I’m a chronic over-writer and I’m usually editing like mad to get something down to the ‘right’ length. But what is the ‘right’ length? A quick google comes up with the following guidelines which I’ve compiled from various sources (a few of the links are the bottom of this post): Continue reading

How to write battle scenes

‘Write what you know’. That’s what they say, isn’t it? But I’m so non-confrontational I don’t get into arguments, far less a fight. So a battle is so far out of my comfort zone it’s practically over the horizon. However, I’m writing an epic historical adventure which has several fights and a battle or two so I had to write them. This month’s novel extract is the battle scene from the middle of The Wolf in Winter, the first book of The Trystan Trilogy. I really enjoyed writing this, but where did I start? Continue reading

How to use the Ally Archetype

When I began writing this blog post I thought it was going to be a simple introduction to one of my ‘side-characters’ Aelfric. But I found myself not talking so much about the character himself as what his role was in the novel. What did I mean by that? Sure, every character has a role to play in a novel. If they don’t they shouldn’t be in it. But what was Aelfric’s role? In other words, what was his dramatic function? Continue reading

Welcome!

Welcome to my revamped website and to my first blog post.

Who am I?

My name is Barbara Lennox and I live in Scotland on the shores of the River Tay. The mountains aren’t far away and nor is the sea. Indeed, most of Scotland is only a day’s drive away and I know it well. So it won’t come as any surprise to learn that my fiction is based in and around Scotland. Continue reading