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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 15 Feb 2012, 21:26 
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Beecharmer wrote:
What do other people find harder - writing your own characters, which is harder to start perhaps but then you are less restricted by the canon, or having to be aware of an EBD character's traits and history?

I find writing EBD's characters easier - but by the time they've been filtered through my interpretation, they're not exactly the same as EBD's characters - they become my version of her characters, which is probably somewhat different.

I imagine, when reading EBD, we all interpret her characters slightly differently, and that's bound to come out in not only what we choose to write, but also how we choose to write it.

That's why I like the summaries and categories available on the SDL - you can see in advance what the basic tenets of a drabble are, so if it would upset you to read about Nancy and Kathie as a couple, or characters dying, or whatever, you can avoid those drabbles, and everyone is happy :)

jayj wrote:
rather than starting a discussion asking why on earth Con Stewart set a rather bloodthirsty Milton sonnet as punishment for Margia, for example, it was more interesting to try to work out the repercussions of that in a drabble. And EBD leaves such intriguing hints and clues it's sometimes very hard to resist.

Don't resist them, then :mrgreen: We could definitely use more of your Fragments :D

I think for some people (and I would be one of them - in fact, probably quite a few people posting on this thread would be), it feels more natural to fictionalize rather than discuss a point - and then discuss the fictionalization afterwards :mrgreen:

And I've had the same issues as Alison H with writing based on the Armadas and then finding myself contradicted by the hardbacks!

Lesley wrote:
I've never seen Hilda and Nell as being gay or having a sexual relationship. I do, however, see them as loving each other

I tend to think of Nell as being gay, but not Hilda, so I don't really see them as being a couple, although I can see why other people might read them that way, and I find some of the Hilda/Nell drabbles very enjoyable to read.

Beecharmer wrote:
In a straight context, the sexual side of a partnership is implied (though obviously not guaranteed) by the characters marrying and having children. In writing from a gay perspective, the absence of things like that to show a partnership of that kind is perhaps why a bit more focus is occasionally on the actual physical attraction as well as the emotional.

I think, also, that if you're dealing with two mistresses being a couple, you're hampered by the fact that you can't really show a lot of little domestic details. With them living at the school, you can't show them having a quiet breakfast together, or one making sandwiches for the other the way Joey does for Jack in one of the Swiss books (can't remember which one). Given how much of an ethos of groupdom (is that a real word?) there seems to be about the CS, particularly in the Swiss years, it feels unlikely that it would be approved for any mistress not to spend almost every evening either with the girls for games, prep, evening entertainment etc, or in the staff sitting room. So those of us who write about pairings amongst the staff might be more likely to hint at the physical side of the relationship, because so many other aspects are simply off the table.

Beecharmer wrote:
"Whoops we are having our 73rd baby" might be a part of a straight story.

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Beecharmer wrote:
Adding the complication of them being gay in a less enlightened time can add a different perspective to thinking about the characters, it doesn't necessarily need to be approched as if it sullies those characters.

When I first read the books, naturally I didn't think about the characters' sexuality either one way or the other - I was too young to consider the issue at all, even with characters who married and had children.

As a teenager, one of the things that appealed to me about the books was that there was no overt sexuality in them. While other people might have been ready for Judy Blume and books that dealt with adolescence and similar issues, I wasn't, and I loved my CS books precisely because they didn't cover topics that I wasn't ready to confront.

So, discovering CS fanfic as an adult, it was a bit of an adjustment to suddenly start seeing these familiar characters in terms of their sexuality and of the subtext that can be found in the books. But, once I'd got used to the idea that you could read the books in that way, I liked having that added dimension to them, in much the same way as I like the fact that, with the books showing both adults and children, they're not something that I feel I've grown out of as I might have done with other children's books. For me, with the CS universe, the adult characters, the subtext that can be read if you so choose, and the fanfic all combine to make them as satisfying a read as they were for me as a child, just in a slightly different way.

Gosh, this was a long post! :roll: I'll shut up now :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 15 Feb 2012, 23:37 
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See that's funny, I can't see Hilda in that light at all - whether she was straight/gay/neither.

She doesn't ever seem a "loved and lost" type of person to me - she seems happy and confident in who she is, what she is doing, and I could much more see her just not being interested in a relationship, than pining for a sweetheart.

Eta I don't mean she wouldn't be devestated by the loss of someone she had known for a long time, like Nell, but I can't necessarily see her swearing off a relationship because of losing a sweetheart when she was 16 / 17.

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Last edited by Beecharmer on 15 Feb 2012, 23:48, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 15 Feb 2012, 23:42 
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Eleanore wrote:
Given how much of an ethos of groupdom (is that a real word?) there seems to be about the CS, particularly in the Swiss years, it feels unlikely that it would be approved for any mistress not to spend almost every evening either with the girls for games, prep, evening entertainment etc, or in the staff sitting room.


I'm not sure how any of the staff manage to pursue any sort of romance :lol:. If younger mistresses hadn't been at a boarding school, they'd presumably have been living at home and had their parents insisting that they be home by a certain time and sitting in the next room (or even in the same room) if they brought a partner home, but it would've been far worse at the CS! Can you imagine Hilary bringing Phil Graves, or Biddy bringing Eugen Courvoisier, back to the school and them having to sit in the staff room because there was nowhere else to go :lol:? Even for two staff members who were best friends rather than romantic partners, it must have been difficult to find any private space to discuss things you didn't want everyone else to hear.

I tend to write things set away from the school: I haven't deliberately decided to do that, but with adult characters I think it's easier.

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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 16 Feb 2012, 17:17 
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Beecharmer wrote:
See that's funny, I can't see Hilda in that light at all - whether she was straight/gay/neither.

She doesn't ever seem a "loved and lost" type of person to me - she seems happy and confident in who she is, what she is doing, and I could much more see her just not being interested in a relationship, than pining for a sweetheart.

Eta I don't mean she wouldn't be devestated by the loss of someone she had known for a long time, like Nell, but I can't necessarily see her swearing off a relationship because of losing a sweetheart when she was 16 / 17.

One of my first drabbles was a very short one where Hilda lost a fiancé when in her late twenties, one who had been just a friend while she was at Oxford, which is why she came to the CS. I couldn't see any other reason for an attractive and experienced teacher taking up a post in a tiny school far away from home where she would then lose all chance of promotion and where her experience would gain her nothing. A new country, a fresh start... because she didn't want to spend her life repining nor did she want another relationship particularly.

Somebody mooted she could have lost a fiancé in the war, but she would only have been 18 at the end of the war, if one follows the dates people have worked out.

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Last edited by MaryR on 17 Feb 2012, 22:35, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 16 Feb 2012, 17:37 
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There are a lot of fictional and real life stories about dedicated female teachers of that generation who'd lost fiancés/sweethearts in the war, and I'd think that probably applied to at least one of the early CS mistresses. We never find out what happened to Herr Mieders, so maybe he was killed in the war.

There's never any suggestion in CS-land that any of the women are actively looking for partners, although that must have been exactly what people like Wanda and Frieda did as soon as they left school :wink: , so it's very hard to know whether Hilda or anyone else didn't want to marry, wanted to marry but never met Mr (Dr?) Right, wasn't particularly bothered or was in a relationship with another of the mistresses. For example, it may very well have occurred to Madge that by taking herself off to Briesau she was drastically reducing her chances of meeting a suitable marriage partner, but if it did then we never hear about it.

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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 25 Feb 2012, 20:42 
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Just occurred to me - slightly silly question in a way, but which Miss Marple are people imagining with the current Miss Marple drabbles ? Other than Agatha Christie's one pf course ! But which television version? I'm imagining Joan Hickson, but on occasion I hear Geraldine McEwan's voice when reading them too.

Just thought it be interesting to know which people assiciate with the current drabbles.

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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 25 Feb 2012, 20:56 
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Beecharmer wrote:
Just occurred to me - slightly silly question in a way, but which Miss Marple are people imagining with the current Miss Marple drabbles ? Other than Agatha Christie's one pf course ! But which television version? I'm imagining Joan Hickson, but on occasion I hear Geraldine McEwan's voice when reading them too.

Just thought it be interesting to know which people assiciate with the current drabbles.

Always Joan Hickson for me. No one else comes close....

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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 25 Feb 2012, 21:08 
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Margaret Rutherford (I think that was her name?) or Joan Hickson for me. But more Rutherford. I can see Miss Marple as being nice, a bit chubby and so grandmotherly looking and Margaret Rutherford embodies that a bit more for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 25 Feb 2012, 21:41 
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This is a fascinating thread!

When I first started reading CS (early 1952, btw) it didn't seem at all strange that the mistresses were unmarried. My own teacher at that time was a war widow from WW2, we had one fairly young married teacher who left when her first child was due and the other women teachers, some in their forties,fifties, and one or two in their sixties, were single, possibly through choice but maybe because the men they would have grown up and married died in the awful slaughter of WW1.

There was also the fact that prior to the outbreak of WW2 it was next door to impossible for a married teacher to get or keep a post. Her husband was expected to keep her unless he was an invalid.

I can't remember who it was upthread who mentioned the infamous Section 28/2A, (enacted by the Thatcher government in the mid-80s in a moral panic engendered by a couple of London boroughs subsidising the publishing of LGBT literature for use in schools, and repealed in Scotland in 2000 and in England and Wales in 2003) but before that I do not remember any legal prohibition on homosexuality being discussed in class or any local authority funded situations. It was a favourite topic in our Higher English class though this was at a time when I managed to go through my entire education, collecting a Higher in Biology on the way, without instruction pertaining to the mechanics of human sexuality of any sort being on the curriculum! Thankfully, I was given the proper information at home.

My recollection is that people were not that interested in the sex lives of others beyond the odd whisper about "that insurance man is in her house for a long time, must be getting a Paris Bun with his tea" or "I hear Davy Smith's getting the name of Bella McCorduroy" (an odd circumlocution that indicated that a raging affair was in progress.)

It wasn't an easy life, of course, particularly for the men who risked imprisonment but people did not automatically assume that two people of the same sex sharing a home were necessarily a couple. There were those who were and as long as they were good neighbours and took their turn washing the stairs no-one bothered. Overt displays of affection between adults, heterosexual, homosexual or familial, were looked on as unseemly anyway unless it was New Year or a Silver Wedding!

There was a woman teacher at one of our local schools who always had a short back and sides haircut and dressed in a man's suit, shirt, tie, and shoes and AFAIR it never caused a stushie with the parents. I believe she was an extremely good teacher and certainly her pupils were very protective if kids from another school made remarks.


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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 25 Feb 2012, 21:46 
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Joan Hickson was the nearest anyone ever got to Miss Marple but Julia Mackenzie would be the ideal one if they didn't keep messing about with the stories!


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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 29 Feb 2012, 23:06 
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Don't know if I'm allowed to comment on this (!) but it's Joan Hickson I'm imagining.


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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 29 Feb 2012, 23:21 
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Dizzy Miss Lizzie wrote:
Don't know if I'm allowed to comment on this (!) but it's Joan Hickson I'm imagining.


Good. She's the proper Miss Marple.


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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 02 Mar 2012, 17:24 
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Hope I didn't stop the conversation dead (if you'll excuse the pun!). So if the general consensus is Joan Hickson for Miss Marple, which actress would play Miss Annersley and who would play Lucy?


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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2012, 11:47 
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Dizzy Miss Lizzie wrote:
Hope I didn't stop the conversation dead (if you'll excuse the pun!). So if the general consensus is Joan Hickson for Miss Marple, which actress would play Miss Annersley and who would play Lucy?


No answer to this, for one simple reason - and I'm interested to know how other people are about this - but I don't see characters. I mean, I can judge their height and approximate weight, and I can always see hair colour, I'm pretty good at that, and also I can see how they move, but as for anything else, such as features, clothing, eye colour, I just do not see it.

I don't even see my own characters - I have no idea what Susie looks like, beyond tall, blonde and slim (and she is particularly dramatic and free in how she moves), and as for Sarah, it took me ever so long to get even the vaguest image of her into my mind! All I know is that her hair is reddish-brown and she's not very pretty - but then, I can't see her face so I don't know how she's not pretty! I always feel the characters as a sort of presence, but picturing them is beyond me.

Is there anyone else like this? I thought everyone was until I was talking to Len the other day and discovered she sees Tristan and Susie and everyone really clearly. She's helped me with understanding what they look like, but still I can't bring faces into my mind! I rather feel like I'm missing out, now...

On the other hand, I do know what they all sound like, very distinctly. I think I'd be a nightmare for a casting director if anything I wrote were produced for radio or television - not so much the appearance, but the voices would have to be just right!

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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2012, 12:23 
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Well, given than I'm hard pressed to recall my own mother's face when she's not around, I can't imagine life any other way either! But as I said, I see the dimensions, hair colour and the posture and movement of my characters, I hear their voices and know the way they speak and act. I see hairstyles, sometimes (am just trying to picture my mother and am coming up with grey bobbed hair and a slim-ish figure a little shorter than me!) but I just don't see their faces and very seldom see their clothes.

I suppose (to answer your hypothetical question) I describe the bits I can see, and leave the readers to fill in the rest. But I agree with you that the adjectives you describe help to form the physical character as well as the personality, because they affect the carriage and posture of a character - and that's one of the aspects I do see.

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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2012, 14:28 
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I hardly ever see what characters look like in my head. I don't know if it's linked to the fact that I also find it quite hard to remember faces - I often have to meet someone a few times before I really remember their appearance properly, and even then if I don't see them for a few weeks their features sort of fade out of my mind (seriously - eight weeks away from my own family and I already don't have clear pictures of them in my mind!). I usually have a vague idea of what a character looks like - so I'll know if they're tall or short, or dark or fair, but I generally don't have a clear picture of their face.

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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2012, 16:24 
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Abi wrote:
I hardly ever see what characters look like in my head. I don't know if it's linked to the fact that I also find it quite hard to remember faces - I often have to meet someone a few times before I really remember their appearance properly, and even then if I don't see them for a few weeks their features sort of fade out of my mind.


Well at least that explains why you were walking away from me the last time I met you ... :wink:

I am able to see some characters' faces - though for me, Kathie Ferrars looks like she did on the Armada cover of New Mistress (the one which shows her checking someone's work)! I can't envisage Nancy or Rosalie - all I do know is that they looks nothing like they did on the Armada cover of Kenya where they're hauling Emerence up.


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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2012, 16:42 
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Catherine wrote:
I can't envisage Nancy or Rosalie - all I do know is that they looks nothing like they did on the Armada cover of Kenya where they're hauling Emerence up.

I'm not sure I could describe exactly what Nancy looks like, but I'd recognise her if I saw her, and to my mind, none of the illustrations of Nancy are right!

What did anyone think of the Reunion illustration - which characters look right/wrong in that? I rather think I recognised Joey and Hilda straight off when I first saw it, which suggests that they looked pretty much as I expected, but I still maintain that that picture looks nothing like Nell Wilson!


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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2012, 22:57 
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Veering off on another topic entirely, how many of us are Plotters and how many Pantsers? Myself, I'm completely a pantser - I hardly ever make a plot, and if I do I don't tend to stick to it. I honestly don't get how people can sit down and plan something out, and only then move on to actually write it. But I know a lot of people just can't write something if they haven't plotted it first. So how do other people on here do it?

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 Post subject: Re: Drabble Subject Discussions - all welcome
PostPosted: 07 Mar 2012, 23:05 
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A lot of my drabbles were unplanned (partially why they're so mad) but sometimes I do like to plan, especially if I'm covering several years and/or am writing something really serious.

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