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Tagged With: Van Aken

Looking for dialogue – Part 1

What drives me to want to use dialogue in non-fiction writing project? One year, two months and three days late I finally manage to post a blog about my efforts to find sources for real dialogue that can be used in non-fiction writing.     Action novels and deliciously trashy domestic stories have lots of dialogue that … Continue reading »

Categories: How we write, Miscellaneous | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I Write – Thanks to George Orwell

I’m having a bit of sabbatical from writing about Arnold, Joseph and Alexander van Aken (Heacken).  Instead I’m reflecting on some of those niggling questions  – which of the several spellings of the brothers’ name to use, is Arnold truly one of the brothers, where did the three recurring dates of birth come from and … Continue reading »

Categories: Books we've read, How we write, Legacies | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

18th Century Romance – The way to a Man’s Heart

In the eighteenth century, romance was a story and marriage was comfort and security; a sentiment that Thomas Fuller seemed to promote in his book Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs; Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings, published in 1732:  ‘Of soup and love, the first is the best’. My Mum always told me the way to a … Continue reading »

Categories: How we write, Legacies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

London Severe Winter Weather: Frost Fair 1740 – Part 2

Frost Fair 1740 Engraving: View of a frost fair on the River Thames in 1740. Figures can be seen visiting a printing stall and a coffee stall amongst others erected on the ice. Engraver unknown.[i] While John Evelyn noted in the winter of 1683/84 that, “The fowls, fish and birds, and all our exotic plants … Continue reading »

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London: Severe Winter Weather (1739-40) – Part 1

The British are well known for their obsession with the weather, but the current severe winter warnings seem over dramatic when compared ‘big freezes’ in the past.   Imagine the winter of 1739-40 that the two surviving van Aken brothers, Joseph and Alexander, lived through.    It started with the easterly winds that brought heavy frosts in … Continue reading »

Categories: 18th Century, How we write, Legacies | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The van Aken brothers’ Christmas – Part 2

Early Christmas pudding Recipes The seventeenth century diarist Samuel Pepys wrote that he ate ‘…… mess of brave plum-porridge’[i] as part of his Christmas dinner in 1662.   Its less festive name was Barley Gruel, which was a mixture of: 50g (2oz) pearl barley, 25g (1oz) currents, 25g (1oz) raisins, 2.5ml (half teaspoon) ground mace   Stirred into 1.1 lt … Continue reading »

Categories: 18th Century, Festivals and Customs, How we write, Legacies | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The van Aken brothers’ Christmas – Part 1

As Christmas approaches I am wondering how the van Aken brothers, Arnold, Joseph and Alexander, would have spent the Holy day; what rituals and traditions were typical in the first half of the eighteenth century.    I know that the glorious, highly decorated evergreen trees lit by tiny twinkling candles, families gathered around roaring fires and … Continue reading »

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Red Cavalary – the restrained telling of a brutal story

I find that reading memoirs and historical non-fiction while I am writing my own 18th century story about the van Aken brothers helps me to analyse the ways in which different writing techniques have been used and how a writer creates their voice. Red Cavalary by Isaac Babel[i], is a fictional story told in a … Continue reading »

Categories: How we write, Legacies | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

5 Minutes a Day

At some stage during our last Writing Family History group meeting a suggestion rippled around us that when writing gets difficult, if nothing else, just write for 5 minutes a day. Emails followed and Patrizia committed to the whole group.   ‘You can call me on it at the next meeting,’……, and that got me thinking.  … Continue reading »

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Verify! The most chilling word for a historical non-fiction writer

The most chilling word to me in historical narrative non-fiction writing is – Verify!   I find some pieces of my writing seem to end up having as large a word count in footnotes, citing sources and giving reasons for statements made that add interest and colour to the writing, as the historical story itself. For … Continue reading »

Categories: How we write, Legacies | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment