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IP Blog — non fiction

The Alnwick Poison Garden by Jane Canaway

Narrelle Harris non fiction Stuff Sherlock would know

The Alnwick Poison Garden by Jane Canaway

Happy 2017 from IP to all our readers! And we think it never hurts to start the new year with ideas of how to poison someone... Today's post is by guest blogger, Jane Canaway, a freelance writer from Melbourne, who visited The Alnwick Garden in Northumberland, UK, last year.  The original Alnwick garden dates from the 18th century. Canon Sherlock wouldn't have visited the poison garden, which wasn't established until 2005, but he would have been very familiar with the plants it contains. *** The Alnwick Poison Garden by Jane Canaway It’s all a bit Harry Potter, with the skull...

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Let's Talk About Sex (and intimacy)

Narrelle Harris non fiction

Let's Talk About Sex (and intimacy)

I sometimes conduct writing workshops. One of the most interesting and blush-inducing is the one I give about writing sex and intimacy. Sex and intimacy arent the same things, of course. You can have sex that's not very intimate and you can have non-sexual intimacy that's full of sensuality, and/or filled with affection and platonic love. Sex scenes for character and plot development The role of sex and intimacy in storytelling alters depending on the type of book and purpose of the scene, too.  Scenes of emotional and physical intimacy appear in all kinds of fiction, not just in romance...

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John Watson - The Good Doctor? by Dr Craig Hilton

Narrelle Harris Dr John Watson non fiction

John Watson - The Good Doctor? by Dr Craig Hilton

This 1996 article is being reposted with kind permission from the author, Dr Craig Hilton, who creates cartoons under the name of Jenner.  Dr Hilton first delivered this text as a presentation for the Sherlock Holmes Society of Western Australia on the 25th May, 1996. You can see Jenner's work at Doc Rat.  When I was researching The Adventure of the Colonial Boy, I remembered this essay and it was one of my first ports of call for looking at Watson's medical history and 19th Century knowledge for the story. I extrapolated considerably, and also assumed that John was downplaying...

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A Cheat Sheet to London

Narrelle Harris non fiction Stuff Sherlock would know

A Cheat Sheet to London

Writing about a city you don’t live in can be challenging, especially when the characters you write about are very steeped in a particular metropolis, the way that Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are so associated with London. It’s challenging, too, when you might be writing of Holmes and Watson in the London of the 19th Century. London remains very much the sum of its history, but new layers are always being placed over the old, and some of its past was torn down and obliterated in various building booms over the centuries. The tricks of writing about London (past...

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Book Review: How to be a Victorian by Ruth Goodman

Narrelle Harris books we like non fiction

Book Review: How to be a Victorian by Ruth Goodman

When you’re writing canon-era Sherlock Holmes stories, it’s not enough to read Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories from start to finish. Although that is something I definitely did before (and during) the writing of The Adventure of the Colonial Boy, it didn’t always tell me important things like… what was Victorian era underwear like for men in the 1890s? I was writing a Holmes/Watson romance, and although I didn’t intend to be super explicit, I fully expected we’d be getting these gentlemen out of their underthings at some point.Obviously, it was vital to know what those underthings might look like, and...

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