Putting emotion into Fiction

March 11, 2019

A good way to grab readers’ attention is to tap into their emotions.  One way is to include humour in a narrative, even if you do not set out to write a funny story.  I have written two humorous novels under the penname, Jack Lindsey and hope those that read them found them entertaining.

I have also written two thrillers under the pennames of Luke Johnson and Keith Jahans (my real name).  By using these names I could distinguish between my comic writing and these last two novels.  But there was a great temptation to insert a little humour into even these, which I did sparingly as I think, in the instances where I used it, it served to flesh out some of the characters and to relieve tension to give the reader a chance to draw breath.  This device is used by some truly great writers and arguably the greatest writer of all, Shakespeare, used humour in his tragedies (The grave diggers in Hamlet and the porter in Macbeth).

Making a reader cry is the hardest emotion to evoke.  I have experienced this when watching movies directed by expert storytellers.  I was moved to tears by the impending possible death of Spielberg’s character ET who was not and did not even look human and did not in the end die.  But I have rarely experienced this emotion when reading novels.  But perhaps this is just me.

A few of my readers have contacted me to say that they were upset about the death of two characters in my first novel, Cogrill’s Mill.  But I think this may be because they thought that I had wasted further comic potential of characters they had grown to identify with rather than morning their loss.  This was a surprise in what I had planned to be a comedy and not a tragedy.  But I suppose this only serves to show that a writer can forget that comedy often turns out to be tragic.

Keith Jahans

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Genera/categories

February 27, 2019

Deciding on which genre or category your book fits into can be a difficult decision for any author.  Of course the easiest way is to decide this before beginning writing but it is not always that easy as the book evolves during its creation.  Yet this decision is important for anyone who is serious about its marketing as it is the means by which any bookseller, librarian or online marketer places it on their shelves.

The largest online seller is Amazon and, if you use this outlet, it will place a book into one of its categories if you decide not to do this yourself when completing its online submission form and sometimes it can get this wrong.  The best way to seek this out yourself is to search for a book which is similar in subject matter, style and tone to your own and look at the category Amazon fits it into or how other booksellers and libraries place it in their catalogues.  Concentrate on those which top the best seller lists and try to identify the key words used in searches.

This method is not necessary foolproof as I have found that sometimes Amazon alters the categories even after you have listed them using its KDP direct website.  It may have even found a better slot than you first envisaged so make sure you keep this under review.  Amazon allows authors/publishers a chance to choose two categories for its KDP publications so it is better to slot your book into two different subgenres to help prospective readers find it (see example below).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This comedy thriller ebook is available at
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K2ACUOW.
The paperback can be found via
http://peatmore.com/giffordsgames.htm

Keith Jahans


Book Excerpt – Magic Bullets Prologue

January 3, 2019

The bullet crashed through the plate glass window and into the customer’s forehead.  It smashed through his skull and embedded itself in the wall behind him.  People screamed as the plump middle-aged man was flung off his chair away from the table where he had been dining and the shooter stepped through the shattered opening into the restaurant.
    He had not wanted to waste bullets by spraying rounds indiscriminately so he had set the Kalashnikov rifle he was holding to fire single shots.  These were to be surgical killings and he wanted to shoot dead all who crossed his path.  His feet crunched on the broken glass as he trod carefully forward and shot a woman, sheltering beneath the table in the back of the neck.  A man who looked like a waiter made a dash for two double doors and he shot him in the back before he could reach them.  Some people ran, but those who were not quick enough or those who cowered on the floor he shot one by one.  Dark blood flowed with food, drink and broken crockery among the unturned chairs.

http://peatmore.com/magicbullets.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Books – The ideal Christmas presents

December 12, 2018

One of the most enjoyable experiences anyone can have during Christmas is to receive a book as a present.  A hardcover or paperback book is an ideal shape to be wrapped and, if the giver is tuned in enough to the tastes of the recipient, when the wrapping is opened it is certain to delight.

It is a gift suitable for all ages.  Small children love turning pages to admire pictures and be read to by an attentive adult.  Those of us who are older can curl up by a fire or somewhere warm knowing that someone close to us has been thoughtful enough to bestow such a delightful personal gift.

So when out shopping for someone close to you at this festive time of year your first thought should be to buy a book.

 

Keith Jahans

http://peatmore.com/jacklindseyholidaydeals.htm
http://peatmore.com/thrillerholidaydeals.htm


Villains in Fiction

November 30, 2018

Just as every book needs a good hero, the same book needs an even better villain.  Good heroes linger in the memory long after the story has finished, but what makes them memorable are the actions of the villain and I give and example of those encountered by one hero below.

James Bond is probably the best known thriller hero but what makes him so good is his confrontation with a really nasty villain and he comes up against some very unpleasant ones.  Most come across as deluded madmen who seek to dominate or destroy all that is good in the world.  But my favourite is one of the most unexpected, an evil woman called Rosa Klebb, who appears in the novel and later movie “From Russia With Love, and trys to kill Bond with a poisoned blade in the toe of her shoe.

I try to portray the villains in my books in the same vein.  In the novel “Magic Bullets”, a few characters appear to the hero as people who have harmed him or hindered his progress in some way but turn out to be “good guys”.  The real villain starts out as being entirely opposite but towards the end of the novel turns out to be entirely despicable.  In this way I hope the various twists in the story serve to keep the reader on his or her toes.

Keith Jahans

http://peatmore.com/magicbullets.htm


Book Excerpt – Victim of Compromise by Luke Johnson

November 27, 2018

The naked body of a young woman lay face down on the double bed like a discarded doll, a towelling cord wrapped tightly around her neck.

            “Dressing gown cord,” explained Donovan.  “The ‘otel supplies gowns for their guests.  The room’s been checked and photographed.  Mr Wallace said everything should be left as it was found till you arrived.  The doctor’s been and gone, and Forensic are waiting to move in when you’ve finished.”

            Ray had no idea why he had been summoned.  He had only received news of his promotion a month ago and was due to take up his new post in the Serious Crime Squad in two weeks.  The previous night he’d been out with the lads from the Flying Squad celebrating his promotion.  The evening had started well, then some bastard had put something in his drink.  Now his head was pounding and his tongue felt like an old dish-rag.  He had no track record of leading a murder inquiry.  However, investigating a suspicious death was part and parcel of police work, and he’d seen far too many corpses in his career – more than he cared to remember.  At least this one was relatively fresh and thankfully there was no blood.

            “When was she found?” he asked

            “About nine o’clock this morning, by the cleaning maid.”

            Ray looked at his watch.  It was one p.m.  He bent over the body, hoping he gave the impression he was an expert.  The girl was a brunette with short straight hair, cut in a bob, and may have once been pretty, but the blue and swollen face had changed all that.  He checked her fingers.  There was a silver ring containing a semi-precious stone on the right hand.  Her left hand showed no sign of jewellery, past or present.

            “Has her next of kin been informed?” he asked.

            “Yes, sir.”

            “Was she married?”

            “I don’t think she was.  We’re checking ‘er background – boyfriends etcetera.  The room was registered in the name of Mr and Mrs Roberts.  The receptionist says the register was signed by a man who was probably in ‘is forties.  She thinks she recognised him from somewhere but can’t think where.”

            Ray straightened up, glad that the examination was over and he had not felt sick.  He surveyed the scene.  A pile of clothing lay in an untidy heap on the floor.  His eyes registered a smart-looking black dress, black tights, black bra and pink panties.  He knew better than to touch anything.  They were in a double bedroom, expensively furnished with oak panelling, matching furniture and a marble en-suite bathroom.  In the bathroom, the towels were neatly folded and it looked unused.  The weather outside was hot, the hottest spring ever recorded, but both rooms were cold and he found himself shivering.

            Donovan noticed.  “I turned the air-conditioning up.  The doc suggested it – we didn’t know when you’d get ‘ere.”

            Ray nodded, relieved that it wasn’t the proximity of death that chilled the air.  He spoke quickly to maintain his air of professionalism. “Okay, tell me what you know.”

            Donovan opened his pocket book.  “The victim, as yet not formerly identified, is thought to be Mary Rayner, a twenty-two-year-old white female – up until the end of December, last year, she was a Detective Constable here at Wellstone.”

http://amazon.com/dp/B005HFLB4C


The fate of fictional heroines

November 22, 2018

I have often wondered what happened to the heroines that James Bond ended up with at the end of Ian Fleming’s novels.  It is a long time since I read the books but I seem to recall that Bond fell in love with all of them.  I like to think that there must have been a breakup scene between one book and the next.  Two died (Vesper Lynd and Tracy Draco) so any problem Bond might have had with dissolving his relationship with those were resolved.  But it seems more likely he just abandons them without so much as a goodbye when he begins a new adventure.

Another hero I was a fan of at about the same time was the Leslie Charteris character, Simon Templar, better known as the Saint.  Templar seemed to treat his women in the same manner as Bond but one heroine, Patricia Holm, appeared as his long standing girlfriend in some of the novels despite the fact that he had other lovers in between stories.  Again, like the Bond girls, I have no idea how he broke up with these beautiful women, as they were always described as being beautiful.  It must have been hard on all concerned.

The above are only a few examples of heroines from two popular thriller writers and their effect on me is such that I may have regarded them as models for female characters in my own stories.  But the problem of how to resolve what happens to them at the end of a story remains.  I remember watching the TV western series Bonanza as a teenager in the 1960s and pitying the women who fell in love with Adam, Hoss, Little Joe or even Ben (Pa) Cartwright for they were most always doomed to die.

I have been tempted to develop some of my books into a series.  Such series can help to develop a fan base and become very profitable so it is extremely tempting.  But I am not a great fan of sequels.  My heroes tend to be men and what to do about their heroines will remain a problem that I have a difficulty in grappling with.

 

Keith Jahans