Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Become a Writer: Sir Walter Scott

Statue of Sir Walter ScottImage via Wikipedia

Brief biographical notes

Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) was in Edinburgh; his father was a solicitor and his mother the daughter of a doctor of medicine. Inclined to reading and writing from an early age, he studied for the law under his father tutelage, becoming a clerk to the Court of Session in Edinburgh in 1806. Despite the fact that he was born with a deformed leg and visible limp, he became a man of great physical fortitude.
Although he achieved fame as a writer, his attempt to become an entrepreneur landed him in near bankruptcy. Laden with enormous debts, he managed to pay most of them through his writings.
With an international towering reputation Scott was considered Scotland’s beloved son. To honor his name, a Scott’s statue was placed in the center of Edinburgh.

How to become a writer

Not only was Sir Walter Scott a prolific writer of essays and fiction, but he was also a much admired poet. His enormous reputation grew beyond the United Kingdom. Textbooks and anthologies propagated his works through school, colleges, and universities. Some of the selections became aphorisms that the public in general would repeat, as for example, this stanza from Marmion:
Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive!
When Scott was at the peak of his glory as a writer, he wrote a fair of review of Jane Austen’s Emma, which solidified Austen’s fame as a serious novelist of manners.

Waverly

The success of novel Waverley (14th published work) established Sir Walter Scott as Scotland's most famous serious writer.
Waverley (subtitled 'Tis Sixty Years Since') is a historical novel that has the distinction of being the first of its genre. In this novel Scott combined real events with fictional episodes. The novel deals with the rebellion of 1745, which attempted to restore a Scottish family to the British throne. The hero young Edward Waverley, an army officer, falls in love with Rose the daughter of a local noble. Later as he moves around he meets Flora, the daughter of a Highland chieftain. Young Waverly finds himself in the midst of intrigues and conspiracies from which he escapes by following his moral compass. In the end he returns to Rose. The chieftain is convicted of treason and his daughter Flora goes into a convent.

Other works
In 1802-03 Scott's first major work, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border appeared. In 1805 he published a book of poetry entitled The Lay of the Last Minstrel about an old border country legend. In 1808 he published Marmion, a historical romance in tetrameter. The Lady in the Lake appeared in 1810 and Rokeby in 1813. Rob Roy (1817) a portrait of one of Scotland's greatest heroes. The Heart of Midlothian appeared in 1818, followed by The Bride of Lammermoor (1819) and A Legend of Montrose (1819). Ivanhoe (1819), set in the reign of Richard I, may well be Scott's most read novel today. In the 1820s appeared Kenilworth (1821), The Fortunes Of Nigel (1822), Peveril Of The Peak (1823), Quentin Durward (1823), The Talisman (1825), Woodstock (1826), The Surgeon's Daughter (1827), and Anne Of Geierstein (1829).
To become a writer I write essays every day. Since English is my second language, in writing essays I consult Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers. When I write fiction --or fiction writing of novels and short stories-- I consult Toolbox for Writers.


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