April 21st, 2017
Many readers will not have heard of Edgar Wallace who lived from 1875-1932, and few will have read his fiction. He was, though, the most prolific and popular author throughout his adult life in Britain and America and one of his works will be known by most people. He authored the story behind the film, King Kong, a picture which has been made four times (the latest this year) and has led to dozens of related spin-offs. Ironically he never saw the film because he died in the year before the 1933 version was released.
Wallace wrote many crime novels and stories and he once said that there were five motivations for murder: jealousy, envy, greed, despair and revenge. If you write crime stories, needless to say, your criminal must have a good motive for their actions. Are there other motives than the five suggested by Wallace? Probably, and it is worth thinking of them. One motivation not stated by Wallace is a character which rarely appeared in early 20th century crime stories – the psychopathic serial killer – and this character has become common in more recent crime fiction. The psychopath’s motivation is more to do with intrinsic evil than the motives cited by Wallace. Read the rest of this entry »
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November 28th, 2016
First, thanks to Colin for last week’s blog. As he points out, there really is nothing new under the sun and today we’re still following the same ‘rules’ as writers were centuries ago. And they’re still helping us to write successful and gripping stories.
Long after readers have forgotten many other features of your book or short story, it will be your characters who will live on in their minds. And the stronger, the more striking your characters are, the more memorable they’ll be.
So, here are some tips for ensuring that your characters are unforgettable. Read the rest of this entry »
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November 22nd, 2016
Little read today, Somerset Maugham was one of the most popular and bestselling authors of novels and short stories in the 20th century. He once challenged himself to write a short story about a totally good man. It is probably his least successful story.
There is a good reason for this. While most people are not villainous, neither are they perfect – or totally good. And characters in fiction are more interesting if they have weaknesses and, occasionally, are very bad. They don’t come much nastier than Hannibal Lector in Thomas Harrison’s The Silence of the Lambs, yet the character and the novel have been immensely popular. Regrettably, perhaps, goodness can be boring. Read the rest of this entry »
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