NOVELS WITH THRILLS
I have always loved reading novels that are fast-paced, exciting, thrilling and full of action. If you feel this way too, I hope we will eventually build a good author - reader relationship; because I also write in that genre.
BOOKS – READING – WRITING
The Story’s The Thing. May 3, 2016
Whether you love to read or love to write; most of us love a good story, we choose to characterise stories as good or bad at our own discretion. We do not have to accept a book critic’s opinion.
As readers, we realise that there are many genres of stories to choose from and we choose as many or as few genres as we like. How do we choose which stories to read? There are many ways we may choose; the choice may result in a good reading experience or not, depending on how we choose.
If you grab a book at the airport because the cover has a picture of, say a naked couple or a bloodstained knife, you have as much chance of being delighted as disappointed. Yes, you do, and you know that going in.
- If you search for an author you know and whose work you love; you are more likely to be delighted.
- If you seek out a book that has been recommended to you by someone who shares your taste, you are likely to be delighted.
- If you go for a book that has better-than-average review points by several reviewers, you are taking a gamble. Sure several people have given similar reviews, but you do not know those reviewers. They may have reviewed it for pay and not bothered to read it, they may have read it while in a drunken stupor. You will never be sure until you get into it.
Who has gone for a book using any of the above? ALL of us, right?
Who has gone for a book using all of the above? ALL of us have used all of the above at some point in time. The thing to remember here is that: until we read that book until we accept the characters and get into the plot we do not yet know whether we made a good or bad choice am I right? (Say ‘yes’).
Do all readers have a common goal when reading stories? Sure, they do; the goal is to get from beginning to end via an enjoyable process of page turning.
Are we bothered about the dénouement? When we read a mystery thriller or a crime novel, does it have to end with:
a) the antagonist being identified, or
b) the antagonist being identified and brought to justice, what do you think?
Personally, I can live with either but most people would choose option b). Nothing wrong with that; after all, look at all those old biddy sleuths in sleepy Devonshire villages. They always identify and catch the villain, as does the fifty-year-old ex-cop with a slug in his hip. However, let me ask you this, did you ever have a case of an unsolved murder in your hometown, huh? Sure you did. We all do at some time; the police do not have a 100% arrest record, murderers do elude them and escape capture, it is a fact of life.
What I am saying is dénouement is also delivered if the antagonist is unmasked but not captured; personally, I prefer this because it leaves the door open for a sequel. However, we are all different, we all have our own preferences, and there is nothing wrong with that right?
If you look on the internet, you’ll find thousands of literary courses and novel writing help sites and most of them offer good advice and helpful tips. Most of them conform to rules and they ask you to follow those rules. Some of those rules are essential because they relate to scene building, settings, characters, exposition, and backstory. You’ve seen them, you get the picture, right?
Have you ever had favourite authors whose books you love, but who don’t seem to be following all of the so-called literary rules? (Deafening ‘Yes!) Me too. Literary agents, literary editors have their place and they handle millions of best-selling authors, great. What enables those authors to become best sellers is readers; readers are very discerning they know a good read when they see it.
With the increase in self-published independent writers, the opportunity is there for authors to write good books, self-publish them and get them out here. Readers will decide whether those are good stories, whether they have been professionally edited or not. We are increasingly seeing independent authors publishing and selling quality books that readers want to read.
I look at some of my favourite authors over the years and I find it very hard to see that they have followed all the rules that the literary workshops say must be applied.
Raymond Chandler a writer of great novels and creator of Philip Marlowe, was self-taught and struggled to get his work past editors. He tried hard to break away from formulaic writing and became an acclaimed bestselling author. I like his work; many of his works like The Big Sleep have been adapted for the big screen.
Ian Fleming a novelist and bookseller of great repute, drew on his training as a journalist to write stories of protecting Britain from foreign enemies. Does he follow the rules of literary schooling? ‘I write for three hours in the morning and I do another hour between six and seven in the evening. I never correct anything and I never go back to see what I have written. By following my formula, you write 2,000 words a day.’ If Fleming had cared less about daytime drinking and having a good time with female companions, he would not have needed an editor to prepare his work for publication.
Lee Child writes good action thrillers and I have had difficulty putting most of his books down. He is an accomplished storyteller who grabs you and holds you with every scene. Action drives his stories and it gets disturbing sometimes; that is how he hooks you, he does it wherever he chooses.
David Baldacci another excellent storyteller, shows you the possibilities of how close you are to danger by pushing the coffin up to your door and letting you smell the flowers.
As authors, our priority is to write stories for people who actually enjoy reading stories; if we keep that in mind, I believe we stand a better chance of giving readers what they want.
Who Do I Admire?
April 13th 2016
This is a question that I could be answering all day long. I do not propose to do that, I'm sure you would not want me to anyway. I would,however, like to share something with you.
Many years ago, whilst holidaying in a villa I found an old bookcase full of books. There was a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction work, including some biographies.
I pulled out a thriller to read while sunbathing by the pool before dinner. The book was I The Jury, the author Mickey Spillane.
I found that book absorbing right from the off and I really got into the protagonist, private eye Mike Hammer. Here was a character who was hard as nails and took crap from no one, not even the police.
His tough attitude, coupled with his edgy, no-nonsense dialogue was served equally to the men and the women that he encountered.
Hammer is a hard-talking, hard-hitting, gun-toting knight errant with a good measure of bad attitude. One of those guys you mess with at your peril. Spillane makes sure that there are sufficient antagonists to do just that. He also makes sure that the character is enigmatic, intelligent and charismatic enough to attract and distract the females in his story.
Hammer does not suffer fools gladly. When women plot against him, his response is swift and un-gentlemanly. Remember this book was written when the term political correctness did not exist.
What About Spillane?
He had critics of course, in 1947 sex and violence were not considered suitable reading by many. The so-called sex was by no means as detailed and frequent as that found in modern thrillers. The violence was, I believe, realistic and germane to the content of Spillane's novels. Spillane, however, was perfectly capable of defending himself and his work. I find his quotes admirable; cutting, honest and from the heart.
Early reaction to Spillane's work was generally hostile: Malcolm Cowley dismissed the Mike Hammer character as 'a homicidal paranoiac'. John G Cawelti called Spillane's writing 'atrocious', and Julian Symons called Spillane's work 'nauseating'.
'Those big-shot writers could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than Caviar... If the public likes you, you're good'. There are many more recorded quotes from Spillane, they are not egotistical but they are potent and assured.
That book, that introduced me to Mickey Spillane went on to sell six and a half million copies in the US. A movie of I The Jury was released in 1953, starring Biff Elliot as Mike Hammer. I watched that movie, for the first time, just three weeks ago. Terrific! A real tough guy, a great story as noir as it gets.
More than two hundred and twenty-five million copies of Mickey Spillane's books have sold internationally. That did not happen by accident.
My service is for people who like to read.
People usually give different reasons for reading fiction:
· Pass the time
In fact, most people, when they find a good story, realise they are reading for sheer pleasure and entertainment.
My intention is to entertain people and make the reading experience a pleasurable one.
I like to think that my readers visualize my characters the way they imagine them. That is why I take care, never to describe every wart and whisker.
In the short time, I have been writing, I have interacted with many other independent authors. This has often been very enlightening to me, and I have learned from the experience. Authors I find, are happy to share their knowledge and expertise. In that vein, please feel free to approach me and ask questions, or make comments.