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.

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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.

Frank video capture
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

 


Self published writers continue emerge as a new force in the digital age.

December 6, 2012

For the first time since its inception in 2005, self-publishers will exhibit their work at the Karachi International Book Fair, which is set to kick off from today.  http://tribune.com.pk/story/475205/self-publishers-will-rub-shoulders-with-bigwigs-at-the-karachi-international-book-fair

In this age of austerity mainstream publishers are reluctant to take on untried talent and are jettisoning authors who do not sell.  Therefore it is not surprising that writers are now publishing themselves in the same way that musicians have parted company with recording companies and are producing their own music.

Self publishers have become noticed as there are fewer big named authors out there creating books.  It is true that there are many bad self published scribblers but it will be the book market not the publisher which will now choose who will be a success and who will fail.


Mainstream Publisher Acknowledges Self Publishing

November 29, 2012

Self publishing is no longer frowned upon.  Readers do not mind who the publisher is.  All they care about is having a good read.  The most successful way to promote books is by word of mouth starting with the authors themselves and spreading via their friends and family to a wider public.

Advertising is expensive particularly in this austere age.  A large publishing company will always plump for a book written by a celebrity rather than a newcomer because they know it will sell.  However, the quality of writing is often poor and the reading public are being let down.

Writers become good writers because they have been plugging away for years honing their art without success because mainstream publishers are unwilling to take a risk on an unknown talent.  There are legions of stories of authors who receive rejection after rejection before getting that big break through.  There must be many great novels out there which never see the light of day.

Self publishing means that there is now no need for this to happen.  It is marvellous that a big publisher has at last realised this.  Simon and Schuster are leading the way.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-11-27/entertainment/sns-rt-us-books-simonschuster-selfpublishingbre8aq17e-20121127_1_simon-schuster-carolyn-reidy-author-solutions


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.”


Why Self Publish?

June 10, 2010

If you feel that self publishing is an easy way to make money then forget it.  Until you become an established writer or unless you are a celebrity then you will start out by making a loss.  This is the gamble that large publishing houses make.  They can afford it as they have a large stable of successful writers.  They also work with editors and agents who they rely on to know what the market wants and spot talent.  But the stories of them missing gifted authors are legion.

The novelist with a story to tell and faith in his or her own work will keep trying and eventually someone in the industry may take notice.  To write a narrative of 80,000 words plus and reach a satisfactory ending if only for ones self is no mean achievement.   It is only natural to want to share this with others even they number only a few.

It is not surprising that most authors survive on the proceeds of the “day job” in order to earn a crust whilst satisfying the urge to write.  The compulsion to share their writing with others is much stronger than the financial and physical effort exerted in its making.  As the saying goes “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”