Celebrating the Short Story

September 20, 2016

In August 2011 I published a blog about the rebirth of the short story (see https://peatmore.wordpress.com/2011/08/22).  Now it seems that this form of fiction writing is going from strength to strength.  The BBC is once more running its annual competition for its National Short Story Award and all this week the short listed stories are being broadcasted on BBC Radio 4 until Friday 23 September (http://tinyurl.com/hzbtokk).

In addition  the BBC Readings Unit have chosen some of their favourite Radio 4 short stories to listen to again (http://tinyurl.com/zrgva4y).

Not to be outdone Peatmore Press has launched my Kindle ebook short story collection, “New Beginnings” as a free download for 5 days beginning today.

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Go to http://amazon.com/dp/B00MTK5FAO or http://amazon.co.uk/dp/B00MTK5FAO to grab your copy.

Keith Jahans


Fiction and Lies

February 23, 2015

Fiction by its very nature is not true. Writing novels and short stories means writing lies. But for good fiction to work it has to be believable which means that it has to be a good lie.

In 2010 Peatmore Press published a police procedural crime novel, “Victim of Compromise”. The author took great pains to make the police procedures described in the story as accurate as possible but it is practically impossible to get every detail exactly right. Police and forensic methods change over time and between different forces. Many crime writers set their stories before the advent of technologies such as genetic finger printing and the widespread use of CCTV cameras to save the need to describe up to date modern forensic techniques. Indeed when writing such tales even when setting stories in the present day it is best to make it clear when and where the story is set particularly if you hope it will be read again in the future.

To celebrate this theme within fiction writing, Peatmore Press has posted the short story, “The Lie”, taken from its “New Beginnings” collection published in August last year, on its website. It is available to read for free at http://www.peatmore.com and there is also a link to it on the side panel of this blog. We hope you find it both enjoyable and thought provoking.


Providing entertainment and quality writing

September 7, 2014

Peatmore Press was originally setup to provide entertainment, information and quality writing. Unfortunately, the information aspect of this mission statement has been taken too generally as we are receiving many comments asking about website development and computing. I am afraid our expertise in this area is extremely limited as we concentrate solely on promoting writing and hopefully provide entertainment along the way.

We welcome the comments we get about writing (particularly our writing) and try to answer most of them. Please address your technical questions about websites, blogs and computers elsewhere (you will probably get a better and more accurate reply if you simply type such questions into Google) and note that the word “information” has been removed from the mission statement on the Peatmore Press home page at:

http://peatmore.com


Support your local Art Centre

July 23, 2013

In these times of austerity there is little money available for the arts.  Despite this many towns in the UK have their own centres which are a haven for struggling artists to showcase their work.  One such place is The Phoenix Cultural Centre in Woking which opened its doors in early June.

The town has always provided places for art to flourish.  There is a notable Martian statue near the main square, musicians such as The Jam hail from here and the writer H G Wells set the beginning of his novel “The War Of The Worlds” on nearby Horsell Common.

Yesterday I spent a wonderful evening at the Phoenix centre listening to live music.  I even recited a couple of poems and sold one of my audio books.  It is encouraging to find that there are still opportunities for artists to take advantage of the local facilities available.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press.

Phoenix Arts Centre
http://phoenixculturalcentre.org.uk


More thoughts on writing murder mysteries.

January 31, 2013

Writing a murder mystery means getting in the minds of both murderers and detectives.

With the murderer, it is understanding what motivates them.  A good way to do this is to build up a profile for each character containing as much information about them as possible such as what they look like, where and when they were born, what they like to read, how they like to be entertained and what they like to wear.  The writer should amass as much information as possible and can keep it as a separate file but it should be used sparingly in the novel.  The reader should be able to work out most of it for themselves.

In the case of the detective, the author should investigate the murder as if it was a real crime.  A good way to do this is to draw a map showing the position of the body and each suspect at the time the killing took place.  If it is a police procedural thriller then the story should be as scientifically accurate as possible.  Here internet search engines can be helpful to gain access to forensic science websites.  Different police forces follow different procedures which change over time.  It is not necessary that they are exactly right but they must be believable.  The same is true for historical fiction where modern methods such as DNA analysis have yet to be invented.

Once these basics are followed then the various twists and turns can be wound in and around the investigative procedures to provide a narrative that entertains both reader and writer.

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Writing murder mysteries.

January 28, 2013

Writing murder mysteries must be made enjoyable.  It is important that the author entertains himself or herself as much as the reader.  Plot twist and turns are essential to keep readers and authors on their toes.

The master at this was Agatha Christie who did not know herself who the murderer was until almost the end.  Then she chose the most unlikely of her characters as the culprit then went back over the manuscript altering it so that the plot fitted the ending.  I must admit to using this style.  However, the danger is that the result can look too contrived and so the sense of realism which all narratives in this genre should maintain can suffer.

In attempt to make the story more realistic and bring about a sense of atmosphere the Peatmore Press novel, Victim of Compromise, was set in a southern English town during a drought.

To illustrate this I include some scenes from the book video trailer below

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Some say that describing the weather in a detective story should be avoided at all costs but I feel that it is up to the author and the reader to decide if he or she feels it works.

 


Minor characters can play an important part in novels

January 3, 2013

Bit actors seem insignificant in films.  They are largely there to fill in and help the stars pass from one piece of action to another by such means as selling them a plane ticket or serving them with food.  In novels they can serve a similar function but in some cases they can come to an Author’s aid by resolving a tricky situation with the plot.

This happened to good effect in Peatmore Press’s novel, “Cogrill’s Mill”.  Here the author brings back a minor character, Miranda Flit who has been removed from the narrative for some time, to help bring a satisfactory resolution to the story.

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There is a tremendous temptation for the author to go back and build up the character’s role in the story particularly if he or she has helped him or her out of a jam.  The author can become overly fond of the character, maybe more so than of the hero and heroine.  But this is a bad idea.  In film a minor actor can steel the picture from the star but for the author to let this happen a novel is a mistake.

However, it can be rewarding to develop such minor characters outside the story by letting them help promote the book.  In this way the author is made to feel that their creation has not been wasted.

In Cogrill’s Mill a mediocre poet, Frank Witterworth, expounds on the virtues of the book in a mock celebrity interview on a chat show in a video trailer.

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In the same way temptress, Roxy Russell, is used to provide eye candy for the video promotion of the crime thriller, “Victim of Compromise.”
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In Peatmore’s latest novel, “Gifford’s Games”, the hero’s father comes into his own at the end of the story and indeed the end of the promotion video.

Minor characters are indispensable tools but they must be used wisely.

Cogrill’s Mill, Victim of Compromise and Gifford’s Games are available from www.peatmore.com
These photographs, with the exception of that of Frank Witterworth, were provided by http://dreamstime.com