Showing posts from May, 2017

Love ‘em or Loathe ‘em – Creating Characters. Guest Post by Jenefer Heap

Without characters, there can be no stories. Whether your protagonist is Sherlock Holmes, Emily Dickenson’s dog, or a dining room table, they have to be believable within the realms of their fictional world. So how do writers go about creating satisfying, rounded characters? The stories in my collection The Woman Who Never Did are mostly character driven, so I’ve spent a lot of time trying out tricks to bring them to life. There’s plenty of advice out there in books and on the internet to help you develop your character, whether they originate from real life or your imagination or, most often in my case, both. Here are some of my favourites: Create a character profile sheets to flesh out them out as physical and emotional beings, their relationships, where they live, their tastes in food, literature, even what sort of shoes they wear. In Gloria , the character of Jean is epitomised by her ‘gorgeous’ shoes which are very high and often embellished by a bit of diamante. Look a

Always Leave Them Wanting More: The Joy of Writing Series of Books - by Debbie Young

Celebrating the joy of Sherlock Holmes with BBC Radio Gloucestershire earlier this year  (Photo: Dominic Cotter) A great way for authors to build readership and to enamour loyal fans is to write series of books about popular characters and settings. It's much easier to sell stories about familiar heroes and heroines than to persuade readers to try new ones.  As the author of the first in a proposed series of seven Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries , I have naturally been happy to learn of easy marketing tactics to sell series: You can offer the first in the series at a reduced price to get the reader sufficiently hooked to buy the rest at full market price. Even better, if you're marketing ebooks (and most indie authors, like me, will make the bulk of their sales in digital form), you can even offer the first in the series for free, because you have no production costs to cover once you've set up the digital file.   Then there are the prequels you can use as

The unbearable inevitability of repetition: N M Browne

I've been writing for a while. Long enough to recognise its patterns. I blogged about them on my own blog One of the patterns is to forget about the patterns. I started a new blog and a new business as a 'book doctor' and writing tutor as yet another form of procrastination and I was going to write about procrastination. To procrastinate I checked if I'd ever written about it before. Yep - another pattern I'd forgotten- at some point in the blogging year I write about procrastination Here is one from way back in 2008: ' I have a confession to make: I am a procrastinator and a time waster and there is no twelve step programme to help me. I waste a lot of time reading blogs and I mean a lot of time. I love the clever ones with multiple links, the erudite ones and the guilt-inducing ones that demand I lend support to obscure causes. I adore the witty ones and the bitc

ERIK SATIE, MOVIES and the PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE of having to WAIT by Enid Richemont

Every Monday morning I go to a class at my local Health club. The class is called Chi-Balls, and is a very satisfying combination of T'ai Chi, Yoga and Pilates. It's performed against a background mix of someone's idea of other-worldly and meditative music, which certainly works for me. One of the pieces it uses is the very-well-known "Gymnopedie No 1" by Erik Satie. If that sounds a bit obscure, google it and listen - the chances are slim that you won't know it, as it's used - over-used - in so many TV dramas, especially the mystical, atmospheric, and deeply psychological kind. We used to have an Erik Satie CD, but I seem to have lost it, so I thought I'd try looking for him in my local libraries and music shop with - astonishingly - no luck. I turned to the Web, where there is, of course, masses of information about him. I was grabbed by a performance of the ballet "PARADE" - a collaboration between Satie and Picasso. I knew nothing at

Bill Clinton and James Patterson - So Who Will Actually Do the Typing? By Andrew Crofts

Two of the biggest names in the world, Bill Clinton and James Patterson, are “collaborating on a novel”. But who is actually going to be sitting down and doing the typing? Will there be a ghostwriter involved? Would anyone care if there was? So where does ghostwriting end and collaboration begin? And what roles will the two “big name” editors who have been announced play in the process? I guess it all comes down to how many megawatts of star power each member of the team can muster. How far up the billing in the global media pantomime do their names appear? Bill Clinton is about as high as you can get in the international fame game. Anyone who might be a potential buyer of this thriller will know who he is. His name will give the book credibility because he actually knows what goes on behind the scenes – dare we say, he actually knows “where the bodies are buried”? He reputedly wrote every word of his autobiography, “My Life”, and unkind critics complained

Lessons On Panelists For A Most Excellent Book Launch : Dipika Mukherjee writes from Malaysia

The very first book launch I had to organise was for The Merlion and The Hibiscus ; it was an anthology published by Penguin, and designed to market the best of Southeast Asian writing worldwide. I was the lead editor with Kirpal Singh and M.A Quayum but a total newbie. I honestly thought that all my subsequent book launches would be like this, with the legendary Raffles hotel in Singapore sponsoring hors d'oeuvres, a leading statesman and writer the Guest of Honour, and a ballroom packed with people sipping wine, eager to buy the books that the publisher had imported in large quantities. That was in 2002. I had no idea that publisher-backed anthologies are a very different beast from single-authored books and debut novels can be a hard sell.  In 2011, at the launch of my debut novel  Thunder Demons at the India Habitat Centre in Delhi, it rained incessantly. It made the bad Delhi traffic virtually unnavigable (it rained at ALL the launches of Thunder Demons, until I wou

"How To Be Free" - reviewed by Susan Price

  Life is absurd.    Be merry. Be free.   This sentiment appears on the cover of How To Be Free and runs throughout the book. It's a most entertaining read. Half the time I agreed with  Hodgkinson's arguments so wholeheartedly, I wanted to cheer. The rest of the time I thought them so crack-brained, I wanted to throw the book across the room. I always enjoy books like this. They make you think . Tom Hodgkinson, The Idler Tom Hodgkinson is the editor of The Idler and the author of How To Be Idle. From page one to the end, he rages against the 'mind-forged manacles' that keep people in jobs they hate in order to pay, often, for things they don't need or even really want. They just think they ought to want them. (In his opinion.) Modern society, he argues, is in all but name, a slave society, but the chains are all 'mind-forged.' It forces people into a rigid system. First it educates them to believe in passing exams and '