Denise M Taylor

Writing Consultant I Editor I Proofreader I Teacher

There is no question that writers who approach me for an objective assessment of their unpublished manuscripts are passionate about what they have written, whether it is a work of fiction or non-fiction. However, even though some writers have more ‘talent’ than others, many lose the ability to be objective; it takes courage to plunge into the icy, foreign waters […]

Verbs not only convey action and reveal personality in fiction, but they are capable of sharpening communication and meaning in non-fiction writing. The featured painting of horses by Lucy Kemp-Welch (‘Horses bathing in the sea’, 1899) captures the personality of each horse as they engage with the shoreline waves: one or two show fear, a couple rear, another hesitates, others submit. […]

Travel writing often ends up being fantasy. The idea of the writer-artist as an independent traveller embodies a romantic notion that the source of his or her inspiration is an unrestrained inner life. English travel writer, Bruce Chatwin (1940-89,) was a post-Vietnam-War traveller, content to travel alone and live in ‘native’ standards of comfort. His writing style is as intoxicatingly […]

When I read the first page of a novel, or a manuscript that crosses my desk for appraisal, I want my senses to be immediately engaged and on alert. There may be intrigue, which grabs my attention, but if I don’t get a visual hit that stimulates my senses, and in particular, a sense of place, then I’m often disappointed. […]

The famous literary Brontë family lived in Haworth Parsonage, Yorkshire, between 1820 and 1861. Their austere grey-stone home, surrounded by dark-green trees, prickly hedges and bleak moors, is infused with gothic imaginations. Even though it is now the Brontë Parsonage Museum, and nothing can be touched, this is a place where astonishing art was created by three sisters. I imagine […]

The cast of characters in the Christmas story is as extraordinary as it is ordinary: a spectacular archangel, a modest mother, a holy baby, a protective ‘father’, rustic shepherds, exotic wise men and adoring animals. I’ve chosen four of my favourite Renaissance and Baroque paintings of the main events; they date from around 1445 through to 1622. There is little […]

Categories: Musings on Art

It takes courage for writers to ‘go out on a limb’ in order to develop, and commit to, an individual writing style that satisfies readers. On 9 March 1895, H. G. Wells, English writer and commentator, wrote a review in the ‘Saturday Review’ of Grant Allen’s controversial novel, ‘The Woman Who Did’: “The whole book … is strenuous without strength, […]

He said, she said . . . the all-knowing, all-seeing narrator drones on . . . A few years ago, in a creative writing class focussing on autobiography, I was persuaded to use dialogue in a short memoir. It took a while to get my head around including unrecorded conversations that occurred decades ago. However, memoirists and writers of creative non-fiction […]

For most of us, Christmas takes us back to our childhood: Christmas stories, dressing up as Mary or Joseph or the shepherds (with a tea-towel head covering) in the kinder nativity pageant, family gatherings indulging in traditional Christmas food, leaving out milk and cookies for Santa Claus, the Christmas tree and Christmas carols. Since the 1970s and the Vietnam War, […]

Categories: Musings on Art

“I am now got into a new world . . . ” wrote Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) from Andrianople (now Edirne, on Turkey’s border with Bulgaria) on 1 April 1717. Lady Mary was an avid letter writer and I imagine that she would have loved the immediacy of communication via twitter and email if she lived today. Her direct […]

Categories: Musings on Art