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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April 14th, 2017
First, thanks to Douglas for last week’s blog. It really goes to show that you should never shy away from approaching experts if you need facts for your writing. There are innumerable museums, stately homes, art galleries, and state-of-the-art tourist attractions out there. A quick email to their PR department or to the address indicated on their website could put you in touch with someone who can help you with your research. Who knows, you may even get a personal guided tour!
And don’t dismiss factories, garden centres and retail outlets. If you want food facts, information on how things are made, or grow, don’t be afraid to ask. What’s the worst that can happen? They might say no and you’ll have to move on to the next source on your list. Have confidence in yourself – think positively and act positively! Read the rest of this entry »
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April 7th, 2017
A while back – maybe a year maybe two – I’d listened in to a radio article about the public clocks in Edinburgh and how they were all to be fully automated by the end of 2016. I wrote a flash fiction out of that listening. Then early this year I re-read the flash and thought there was a fuller story to be told, so I started in on it… only to discover how little I knew about clocks and big mechanisms. I needed to do some research.
Usually my research involves trawling the internet, but what was missing for my story was the feel and the smell and the sound of turret-clocks. There are no records for that. I needed to see for myself. I wrote to St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. I knew they had one such clock and I knew they did tours of the Cathedral, but I did not know if these tours took you inside the clock-tower. I was put in touch with David, The Beadle. Read the rest of this entry »
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April 3rd, 2017
As usual, I’d like to thank Simon for last week’s blog. The advice given is really worth taking. If you’ve got an interest, or a hobby, then why not start out small and try writing articles about it for magazines and websites. Not a huge project – something you can fit in around your other work. But there will come a time when you can look back at what you’ve written and you may realise that there’s enough accumulated knowledge to actually make the basics for a book.
Obviously it would be great if you could get a publisher interested in this. It would be even better if they were willing to give you an advance and ensure that there was plenty of publicity after publication, but these days perhaps that’s expecting too much! The other – and increasing popular – way forward is self-publishing. If you are interested in going down this route then an ideal opportunity to find out more about it is at The 5th Self-Publishing Conference. It’s being held on Saturday 22nd April from 9am to 6pm at the University of Leicester. The registration fee is £65 per person and this includes a delegate’s pack, morning coffee, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, a drinks reception and a choice from more than 16 sessions on different aspects of self-publishing. To me, that sounds great value for money! Read the rest of this entry »
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March 24th, 2017
When I worked for a high street bank I was taught all about standing orders. These allow you to pay the same amount of money to the same person/company on a continuous basis. It’s a regular commitment.
Whenever a new customer opened up a current account with us we encouraged them to open up a savings account too. Then we’d set up a standing order to transfer a small amount to their new savings account on the day after payday.
Transfer £50 every month and after 12 months those small little deposits mount up to £600. Not a bad little sum: ideal to put towards Christmas, or perhaps a summer holiday.
What I didn’t realise when I embarked on my freelance writing career was that writers should make standing orders too. Not financial ones, but time and word standing orders. Read the rest of this entry »
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