November 16, 2018
I find writing crime fiction easy but the editing process is hard as I am slightly dyslexic. I am also lazy which is why my stories take a long time to write. I began my newly released novel, Magic Bullets, a ridiculously long time ago in the 1970s.
My first draft is always bad and contains all kinds of spelling, grammar and continuity errors because I am a story teller and not a literary writer. I write ideas down as they come into my head while I sit at a computer. I do think about the story as I go about my daily life, planning plot lines and sometimes endings. But the story really evolves into something I feel worthwhile publishing during the editing. The advantage of this style is that I do not recall getting writer’s block. I subscribe to the Raymond Chandler view, “When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand”. I don’t take this literary but I do like to throw in something to put my protagonist reader, and occasionally even myself off guard.
I self publish and therefore have to be extra vigilant with my editing. Online and offline spelling and grammar checkers are invaluable. Oh, if only I had these when I grew up in the years BC (Before Computers) when dyslexia was unheard of. But even these tools are not good enough. I get computer text-to-voice software to read my writing back to me and at least three people, whose views I respect, to read through what I consider to be my final draft. In reality it never is. Even after all these checks a few mistakes creep through. But the beauty of self-publishing and publishing-on-demand means that I do not produce more than ten or twenty copies at a time. This means that by the time my work gets to the reader the mistakes are gone and, who knows, some of the early error filled copies may eventually be worth a lot of money as collectors’ items.
November 13, 2018
Guy sat back from the computer screen, folded his hands behind his head and sighed with satisfaction. “Great, I’ve just withdrawn five billion from the Bank of England.”
“That’s cool,” murmured Howard from where he was sitting huddled over his monitor on only the other computer console in the room. “Great hacking.”
The room was part of the Telesoft offices. The main entrance led from the twin lift doors. To the left of the lift was a coat stand on which hung two wrinkled anoraks, one green and one blue. A large desk spanned the left wall. It contained the two computer consoles and two telephones. Guy and Howard were each sitting at one of the consoles.
“Not me this time, my son, Trickster Trader,” explained Guy. “It’s a game I’m road testing. You’ve got to withdrawal as much money as you can from the world’s largest banks, escape from Hong Kong, keep out of jail and catch a plane to the Bahamas without the world’s press, your wife and your mistress, in Newport Pagnell, being none the wiser.”
November 2, 2018
Being on the top floor, we were also exposed to air raids and doodlebugs but I couldn’t leave the board. The Commander would send the teleprinter girl down to the basement during raids, but he instructed me to stay at my post, to always wear my tin helmet and if it got very noisy to get under the board for a bit. If it got very busy, the Commander would send for a matlow in Royal Albert Dock to come over to KG5 to give me a break for half an hour. Our board was manned for 24 hours. There were 4 of us and we took it in turns to have weekend breaks.
There were also, girl boat crew members, termed ships messengers, who would deliver messages to the ships to tell them the next destination of their boats. Part of my “Board” worked for Dock Turco which controlled the arrival of the boats and when they could go across the channel ferrying troops and supplies for the D Day Army.
As mentioned earlier, we were also known as Port Radar. The radar equipment on top of the boats were very vulnerable to attacks from the German aircraft and army and the view from my window at KG5 was excellent for watching craft return from across the channel often with their radar antennae shot to bits. My board had 3 or 4 private wires (PWS). Telephone engineers would climb up ladders and tap on my window for me to open and let them take a wire through to attach to my board. Then crew on the ship could ring for whatever was needed so that the ship would be ready for the next crossing.
There were a number of switch boards around and we would chat to each other to pass the time. One matelow had a great voice and would sing “When the blue of the night meets the gold of the day”. Sadly the Albert Dock had a direct hit and I believe he was killed.
October 30, 2018
My room was pitch black as the electricity supply had been cut. The screaming had stopped but the floorboards creaked. Before the silence I had heard someone cry out, “He’s got an axe!” I heard the sound of dripping. Was it blood falling from the axe? Sounds like scrapping came from the direction of the door. I cowered on my bed pulling the blankets around me. Then I heard a voice.
It was a raspy male voice which spoke in a whisper. “Open the door, Dorothy. And it will be over quickly.”
There was a pause while he waited for a response which I dare not give.
“If you do not comply I will use my knife and not the axe.”
Another pause followed.
“It will be slower. First I will cut your vocal cords so you cannot hear yourself scream when I cut you open. I have a light with me so you will see everything that happens to you. You will see your internal organs as you die but open the door and I will use the axe. Any pain will soon be gone.
It was if I was in a bad dream. But I was not.
October 13, 2018
Absent-mindedly, he stuffed his right hand in his jacket pocket and felt the jar. He drew it out, looked through the glass at the white lumps of organic matter inside and said aloud to himself, “Magic I don’t think so.” He tossed it in the metal waste bin then, as the clanging sound his action had caused resonated around the room, he had another thought and looked in the bin. The jar was still intact. He retrieved it, put it down on the laboratory bench, discarded his jacket and put on his labcoat. What followed next led to the discovery of Floracillin.
September 23, 2018
Derek put down his trumpet and asked, “What do you think of that?”
“Far out, Man, “whispered Clive. “It were great.”
“It was certainly the best piece of improvised Jazz I’ve heard in a long time,” agreed Clare. “But I don’t understand why you made that vulgar noise in the middle.”
“It sort of went with the mood,” said Derek.
Clive nodded his approval and murmured, “Cool.”
“Well, I think it spoils it and should be taken out.”
Derek studied the three members of his trio carefully. Clare, the clarinettist was the most recent addition and had classical training, but he had known the drummer, Clive, since childhood. “It stays in,” he said. After all this was a democracy.
The remainder of the rehearsal centred on what the piece should be called and it turned out to be Raspberry Jam.
September 12, 2018
There have been many celebrated scientists in fiction. A disproportionate number of these have been depicted as mad, working on outlandish experiments to change the world and often nearly destroying it in the process. They usually end up destroying themselves. I often wonder if it is because of these fictional caricatures that people regard scientists and the science they produce with suspicion. However, the real reason is almost certainly because of their inability to communicate properly with the public.
I have spent most of my working life as a biological scientist while writing fiction in my spare time. Up until a few years ago I have been reluctant to publish any fictional science. I know how much effort goes into researching real science and getting it to work. Fictionalising it, by making it up goes against the grain. But what in the past has been regarded simply as science fiction is often now becoming science fact and so this form of fiction is now a real force in driving fact.
My novel Magic Bullets at http://peatmore.com/magicbullets.htm