Writing Violent Scenes

November 18, 2020

Violent scenes have more impact when they come as a surprise.  I am not talking about those in horror stories where the suspense leading up to the action is often more effective than the violence itself.  Battle scenes tend to be ongoing and have violence surrounding them but a sudden violent act amongst the turmoil can have a devastating effect.  A good example of this can be found in the book, “Against All Odds by Jacqui Murray,” which I reviewed recently.  Here the author expertly describes battles between primitive peoples but in the last battle the impact of a sudden violent act against an individual comes as a shock.

My novel “Magic Bullets,” opens in a prologue with violence perpetrated by a single terrorist.  This is not referred to again until well into the story but I hope has the reader wondering how this event effects the narrative.  I feel that placing such violence in a novel without any lead up to it can be much like what happens in life.  The real effect is in the aftermath and comes when the characters in the story deal with it.  Post traumatic stress is an occurrence which happens to many people who experience violence, including professional soldiers.  The skill of the writer is to examine how these effect the characters in the story.

 

Keith Jahans

Published by Peatmore Press
as a paperback and an ebook


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.


Opening sentences

October 15, 2012

Opening sentences are important they must grab the reader’s attention.  They litter the great works of fiction.  To see a list of some excellent examples go to http://www.openingsentences.com

Peatmore Press has done its best to make these stand out well in its published novels.  Whether they work or not will only be born out if the reader carries on reading and then comes back for more.  Only time will tell.

Corgrill’s Mill:
George Cogrill was uneasy.

Victim of Compromise:
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.

Gifford’s Games:
Guy sat back from the computer screen, folded his hands behind his head and sighed with satisfaction.

However, the first sentence may not be enough.  The real proof may be in the first paragraph.  It is the words at the beginning which must hold the reader’s attension.

Corgrill’s Mill:
George Cogrill was uneasy.  It was a bright sunny day in June and it was his birthday, but he had received a summons from his aunt.  No matter what the weather, or the occasion, his aunt always made him feel uneasy and a summons from her could not be ignored.

Victim of Compromise:
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.”

Gifford’s Games

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.”


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