Novels by Karen Stephen...

Blogging Oxford 2013

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Blogging My 2013 Oxford University Summer School Experience

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Eagle and Child--Best Oxford Pub

Thanks to Pastor Scott I got my first recommendation for my visit to Oxford and it's only a short stroll from Rewley House.

The Eagle and Child lays claim to a number of interesting literary connections. J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and fellow writers met here and dubbed themselves 'The Inklings'. They nicknamed the pub 'The Bird and Baby'. Just the place for an aspiring novelist.

And check out this menu! Our spring-summer selections are all about zesty tastes, vibrant colours and delicious textures. Savour starters like succulent crayfish tails in gazpacho mayonnaise. Then move on to mains including smoked haddock pie with a creamy cheddar and spinach sauce, or steamed Scottish salmon fillet with garden peas and buttered baby potatoes. Ginger-beer glazed pork belly, ribeye steak and other gourmet treats make our salads irresistible. I'm drooling already!

Sat, June 22, 2013 | link          Comments

Join me at Oxford this summer

Welcome Friends, Family, and Fellow Authors.

I'm blogging my Oxford experience this summer. Please join in with comments about your own summer adventures, your favorite writing courses, or whatever comes to mind.

I am delighted to be taking a week-long residential course on "Creating Character" at Oxford University's Summer School for Adults (OUSSA) starting on July 13th. I will be staying at Rewley House with persons from all over the world enrolled in the wide variety of courses offered by this unique program. I have already submitted two assignments to the course tutor, Dr. Jonathan Miles. Each student has individual sessions with their tutor to go over these assignments. Every morning there are two class sessions. The afternoons and evenings are devoted to "homework" and exploring the many sights and events around Oxford.

I already have made plans to see The Taming of the Shrew put on by the traveling troupe from the Old Globe Theater--complete with an Elizabethan stage set up outside the Bodleian Library--touted to be one of the most thrilling settings to see a Shakespearean play. This production features an all-female cast. I saw the same play this past spring at Ashland--that production was set in the 1950s on the boardwalk. So two very different interpretations of a classic comedy.

I am looking forward to finding new ways to further develop character in my newest novel, MOTHER TONGUE. Even with just reading the assigned materials, I made a decision to alter the background and motivation for my protagonist and am currently revising the entire novel with that new vision in mind.

Sat, June 22, 2013 | link          Comments

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A bit about OUSSA

I will be taking a one-week residential course on "Creating Character" by well-known author Jonathan Miles,  July 13-20, 2013, at Rewley House, Oxford

I will be joining people from the UK, Europe and further afield (me!) for enjoyable, yet serious study with some of the finest tutors in the country. For over 100 years the Oxford University Summer School for Adults (OUSSA) programme has been making it possible for everyone to take advantage of the Oxford system of expert tuition in small groups.

This intensely practical course explores character. Through examples stretching from Chaucer to Becket, you will identify the ingredients that give fictional beings life. When, does a character take on an archetypal status? When does a character degenerate into a two-dimensional stereotype? Most people feel comfortable creating characters that they know well. But what about those figures that are more distant from our everyday experience and yet who seem to demand a place in our stories? And what about the possibility that there may be no such thing as character? This writing workshop explores different ways of approaching and building rounded, interesting, recognisable but not cliché-ridden characters.

The only entrance requirement for a summer school course is enthusiasm for the subject and a commitment to undertake the required coursework before and during the summer school.