Coming Soon! RIP – the greatest story adventure!

RIPSubscriptions will soon start for RIP – a scifi, paranormal and  alternative history adventure in the online magazine format.

There is a RIP in the fabric of time space which allows two spirits, joined by the dream of a world that might break out of a cycle of progress and destruction, to seek each other out, again and again. Omah is a man with a key, but he knows not what it will open. Bri is an empath of outstanding ability. Together they will find a way to open up the RIP and find man’s destiny.

Subscriptions will be for $0.99 for 2 chapters per month (RIP Prime), or $0.49 for one chapter per month (RIP Stream 1 or 2), of a story that will build into seven novels of up to a million words and take years to complete.

You will be able to get all chapters or choose your genres from two streams:

Stream 1: Mostly Alternative History and War thriller, with some Romance

Stream 2: Mostly Science Fiction and Romance, with some Alternative History

The first two chapters will be FREE! And you will get one month free after you subscribe and a further month’s trial subscription after that.

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How to Write a Good Book – Post 4. Structure

pen4So Rudolph is desperate to guide the tractor on Christmas eve, but his nose won’t glow properly. Erma makes him an enormous apple pie to make him happy and promises him a good night in bed afterwards. She wants that new TV!

How do you you get the structure of your story right?

First Draft

For your first draft, don’t worry about structure. Just get the story down. It will come out chronologically, that is, with the events in the order in which they happen. They may not stay this way, but that’s fine for now. Too many writers worry about writing a blockbuster with their first draft. You won’t. All writers have to write a second draft, so don’t try and avoid it.

Second draft

By now, you will have the basic story written, and hopefully the characters will be starting to interact naturally and seem real. You will also have enough ideas to keep the reader’s interest, but the pace may be uneven and the first few pages may seem a bit bland.

All stories, including those of Tolkien, J K Rowling and plays by Shakespeare, have a beginning, a middle and an end. In plays, these are called the first, second and third act. But they can be subdivided. Your story needs to have this basic skeleton:

  1. Beginning
    1. Hook
  2. Middle
  3. End
    1. Climax
    2. Optionally, a twist
    3. Ending or denouement

What is a hook?

The hook is really what happens on the first page, and probably in the first paragraph or even the first sentence. It is the bit that hooks a reader into wanting to read the whole story. Research has proved again and again that when a potential reader sees your book description, likes that and then decides to read the first page (as they almost always do in a bookshop, or on Amazon), they will decide within a few seconds, thirty at the very most, whether they want to read the rest or not.

That is all the time you have to really grab them! So make your first paragraph, and if possible, your first sentence, really grab them. Make it unusual, even odd, and make sure it contains some emotive words. For instance, have a look at this first draft of the first sentence of our Rudolph and Santa story:

Santa asked Rudolph to meet with him. He then proceeded to tell Rudolph that he has lost his sleigh, so they will have to hire a van. Rudolph says okay but he has to check with Erma, because he told her he should always check any changes to his working conditions with her. ….

That is okay, but it’s not going to make somebody want to read the rest of your book. Let’s try again:

The telephone rang in Rudolph’s apartment.

“It’s for you Rudolph!” his wife, Erma, yells up the stairs. “It’s Santa. Says its urgent!”
Rudolph turned away from the bathroom mirror and ran to the phone.
“My nose will never glow properly again!” he told himself.
“Rudolph! Is that you?”
“Yep, it’s me Santa.”
“I’ve lost my sleigh! It’s Christmas Eve. You know what that means?
“No.”
“I will have to use a van! That means I don’t need you!”
“I can’t pull the sleigh? Okay. Wait, Erma is trying to tell me something.”
Erma tells her husband. “Your union rules say you have to deliver the present. That means you have to drive the van!”

Now this is much better. First of all there is a lot of dialogue. Readers tend to prefer dialogue. They want the characters to show them what’s happening. They don’t want the narrator to tell them. It’s called ‘show, don’t tell,’ and is an important trick for story-telling. Basically people want to work things out for themselves. Good writing should have at least 50% dialogue, or monologue.

You can see also that there is a sense of urgency and tension with the dialogue. And already we can see that Erma is going to be instrumental in the events that follow.

The Climax

How do you write a climax? First of all, you should work out in your head what sort of climax it is. If its action, then you will need to use many more action words like ‘ran,’ ‘desperately lunged,’ ‘screamed,’ ‘screeched to a halt,’ etc. Try to use shorter sentences at this part of the story too; it makes for more tension. By now the reader should have had all the insight they need into the main characters’ emotions and motivations, so you can spend much less time on this. Focus on the action and make the reader anticipate the moment of climax by building a scene of terror or dramatic tension or scenery.

On the other hand, your moment of climax might simply be psychological. If you are writing an emotional love story, it might be the scene when the man finally proposes to his long lost love. Draw it out. Use lots of warm phrases like ‘heart burst with happiness’ or ‘finally she knew she had found true love.’

In our story it might be that Rudolph delivers all the presents on time and gets a big bonus from Santa. Not only can they get a really good wide-screen TV but he can take Erma on the honeymoon they never quite had (due to heavy work schedules at the time).

The Twist

A story doesn’t need to have a twist, but a twist can leave the reader feeling, ‘Wow! That was a great book!’ so you might want to try it.

There is not much I can tell you about the twist, except that you should have planned it from the start and given readers small clues that something peculiar might happen. And then when it comes, it must be as big a surprise as possible. They will feel cheated if they either anticipated it, or if there have been no clues whatsoever that something was coming. Leave them gasping or saying “Wow!” and you have a fan for life! A really good example is the twist at the end of The Sixth Sense and. In our story it might be that Rudolph’s father was actually a farm reindeer, and so Rudolph turns out to be the best tractor driver ever!

The Ending or Denouement

It might seem a bit obvious to say a story needs an ending, but it does need to be structured. It needs to leave the reader with the message you worked into the story (see the Themes tutorial) and don’t forget the character needs to show that they are changed of have learned something. You might also need to explain the twist a bit. But if you know there will be a sequel, you might not want to explain anything, but simply put the twist in the last sentence and leave the reader desperate to read the next book (as I have done in The Synchronicity Code). This is the moment when you want all the strands to come together so that the reader says, “Ah! Ha!”. Then they will be satisfied and want to read your next book.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this tutorial, you might need to address other matters of structure during the second draft.

Structural editing

The second draft is really where you take the first editing step; structural editing. If you are paying a very good editor, they will suggest these changes to you. But what is structural editing?

If you have a lot of background and character building to get into the first chapter, it’s going to seem slow to some readers. Other readers won’t even buy the book, unless they get a feel for how good the climax is going to be. Fortunately, you won’t need to worry about this once the reader has read a few of your book. But how do you get round this problem with your first book?

I have found that sometimes it helps to take a preview out from just before the climax and put it in near the beginning or even before Chapter One. For instance, in Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate, the climax is a confrontation between the main character and his arch enemy. Fortunately for us, he has recorded what happened on a tape-recorder, so his wife can set down the events. This is done in the form of a small insert, in italics, at the beginning of each chapter. In this way, I feed the reader a taste of what is to come later, and make them want to read more. Judging by the reviews, this technique seems to have worked quite well.

Take a Tip From the Movies

Lastly, I have discovered some very useful techniques used by movie makers. You might not want to try these ideas at all, but here is the structure for Gladiator. See how it develops the tension and keeps the watcher glued to the screen? You might want to try something similar with your books, especially if they are action adventures.

  1. A film should start with a scene that shows the main character doing what he/she does best
  2. Then comes the opportunity
  3. And then the new situation

Find out more at: http://www.whatascript.com/screenplay-structure-11.html#sthash.nsU1CVMf.dpuf

See you next time when we discuss 5. Varying the Pace.

And if you are wondering about the third draft, this will come later, in tutorial 6. Editing.

Let me know what you think of my tutorials by commenting below.

Get 2 eBooks and the December Radio Paperback for $16!

Get 2 eBooks and the December Radio Paperback for $16!

Now in UK too!

December Radio cover

December Radio cover

To celebrate December Radio’s release I have arranged a bargain offer for you! The paperback ( click here to see on Amazon ) is available to order in USA and UK book stores, which is by far the cheapest option.
Click here for my other books at Amazon.

List of book stores stocking December Radio

If you can’t get to a book store, you can still get 2 eBooks free by ordering December Radio paperback online at Amazon or Barnesandnoble.com. Simply email me the receipt!

But if you are near a book store, here’s the deal for 2 eBooks:

1. Call or go into any book store in the USA or Waterstones in the UK and order or buy my book (B&N: $16.19, Waterstones: £15.50). This is the cheapest option but you can order online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble and pay delivery costs if you wish!

December Radio by Lazlo Ferran. ISBN-13: 978-1942981473

My other eBooks are priced at up to $9.99 and you can choose any of these formats: pdf, ePub, pdb, lit, html, kindle format. So you can’t lose!

2. And either:

Go to my Facebook page and post a selfie of you with the book there with the title “I bought December Radio” (or on your Instagram or twitter page) and message me.

Or email me a photo of your receipt: lazloferran@gmail.com

Don’t forget to specify which 2 books and formats you want!

Read Chapter One of December Radio in FREE eBook Inchoate: (Short Stories Volume I): on Amazon or Google Play (pdf version only), or start reading the preview at top of the right hand column.

NB. I am sorry but the December Radio eBook is not included in this offer.

That’s it! Have fun.

Continue reading

How to Write a Good Book – Post 3. Characterisation

writing3Basic Rules of Characterisation

So, in our story about Santa’s sleigh problems, we have Santa, Rudolph, and Rudolph’s wife, Erma!

Now how do you create characters for them? There are no hard and fast rules, but be wary of simply writing the story as it comes into your head without setting the characters. If you do this, the most likely outcome is that all the characters will sound like the same person, or sub-personalities of the same person. For instance:

“Wow! I got an egg for my birthday. Thanks Erma. I really love you. It’s exactly what a male reindeer wants!”
“It’s okay Rudolph. Wow! I really love you too. I’m glad it’s what you wanted.”

Can you see some things wrong with this conversation?

  1. The both say, “Wow!” In reality, two people rarely use the same expressions as each other. Erma, being female, is probably younger than her partner (I am being politically correct here!), so she might say, “Dude!” instead.
  2. ‘Rudolph’ is a name of 2 syllables, unlike ‘Erma.’ If they have been living together for years, she would probably have shortened it to save time. ‘Rudy’ is more likely.
  3. She is female, he is male. Males don’t say, “I love you” as much as females. Males usually cover their  emotions so he is more likely to say something like, “You’re sweet,” or, “So nice of you.”
  4. And men tend to say as little as possible in emotional conversations. So Rudy probably wouldn’t expand by saying, “It’s exactly what I want.”
  5. Males tend to be less expressive of their emotions at all times, so there will be less exclamation marks in their conversation.

Now let’s try the conversation again:

“Wow! I got an egg for my birthday. Thanks Erma.”
“It’s okay Dude! I really love you too. I’m glad it’s what you wanted?”

See how the dynamics have completely changed. Now we begin to see their characters emerge. I deliberately left in the word ‘too’ in Erma’s reply because it accidentally adds something Erma might add on purpose; if she wanted to be sarcastic and elicit a further response from Rudolph. Also note that I added a question mark at the end of her reply. She might be uncertain whether she had satisfied him; women are more sensitive to the emotional state of partners so they are constantly probing to find out what it is. They also like to engage in conversation more than men so add cues in this way.

So you have seen how factors like gender, age, race etc. need to be taken into account in conversations between characters. And ALWAYS been vigilant for signs of them sounding the same. If you are unsure, swap the speech round. Pretend that Rudolph is saying Erma’s lines. If it sounds false, then you need to rework it.

But those are only the basic rules. The reader will want to see character development.

What is character development?

When writing any novel, there are certain elements always seem to enhance a book’s appeal. One is that the main character should always be changed by their adventure or learn a lesson from it. In this way, the reader sees that the character grows and the reader can grow with them. Great examples are:

Harry potter becoming more worldly as his adventures progress

Frodo Baggins learning that pity can be a good thing and in general becoming so wise that the Elven folk invite him to go over the sea and into the West with them at the end.

Luke Skywalker growing from a farm boy to a worldly Jedi knight.

As in real life, this is a long process so don’t make it happen in the first few pages. Plan what things will change them and plan the scenes to show this. But in order to do this, you will need a sense of the person’s core character.

The Character’s Core

It may seem a little odd to you but I will come to the character’s physical appearance last. The core of the character is what we are concerned with here. The trap that many writers fall into is to make the main character in their own image. In other words, the main character seems just like the writer. It’s very easy to do, and in fact, almost impossible to avoid completely. You need to develop a good deal of depth for the main character (MC), so it’s natural to draw on your own traits and experiences.

But we all have sub-personalities. We all have a side that gets angry very easily or is prone to love too easily. As we grow, we learn to control these ‘sides’ of ourself. However, writing is a great opportunity to let these people back out into the open again. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I love writing so much!

For instance, my main character in the Ordo Lupus books 1,2 and 3 is an ex-secret agent with the rare gift of being able to see Evil before it happens. He is also incredibly unlucky, but because of his talent is always able to survive and even turn these events to his advantage. I based these characteristics on myself. Although such moods or events are rare in my life, they do seem to happen. Readers seem to recognise these traits in themselves and many have written to me saying how much they identify with the MC.

If you use this technique, you will find endless inspiration in your own life without giving too much away about yourself. If you are writing about somebody in a bad situation, writing about it as a sub-personality will also keep you more sane that writing about your whole self! This technique works equally well if you are writing about somebody of the opposite gender to yourself.

For secondary characters, you could use sub-personalities of your self but I like to use 2 other techniques.

The first method is to think of somebody you know well or have known well in the past. It needs to be somebody with whom you have laughed and cried with, or at least had an argument. Base your character on them, and use the same physical attributes if you like. If you are really bold, you can tell your friend you are doing this as a compliment. But ALWAYS change the name! Don’t embarrass somebody. Also be aware that if your friend knows that the character dies horribly or does something terrible, they may not like it.

The second is to use somebody famous; maybe an actor or actress. This can work very well if the actor/actress is very well loved and has done great emotional scenes in movies or on stage. I have used this technique to good effect in one of my books.

Appearance

I left this until last because in many ways it is the least important factor. But a physical appearance can reinforce a trait and become an effective cue for the reader.

For instance, dark hair or dark eyes can often suggest a malevolent personality. It’s probably a Western prejudice but nevertheless it exists. If you make a baddy blonde, good-looking and blue eyed, be prepared to make him or her really bad to compensate. Two examples that work well are Bond’s adversary (played by Xavier Bardem) in Skyfall and the priest assassin in Angels and Demons.

My MC in the Ordo Lupus books 1,2 and 3 has eyes of a different colour. This not only suggests a weakness but also a strangeness and rare gift of sight.

In general, you should always give a weakness or fault to a main character. Without this, it will be harder for the reader to identify with them. In our case, le’t say that Rudolph’s nose only shines brightly when he has had too much to eat and he is happy. So at the moment it is not shining, which means that he cannot guide the sleigh properly. See how you already feel sorry for him? Or at least, I do!

Lastly, I always keep a separate word file filled with a list of characters’ physical and psychological traits. Not being able to find out whether you gave a character blue eyes or brown at the beginning, and having to hunt to find out can be very frustrating.

So to recap:

  1. Take gender, age, race, sexuality, culture etc. into account when writing dialogue
  2. Use sub-personalities of yourself for the main character(s)
  3. Use friends for lesser characters
  4. Use actors or famous people for lesser or minor characters

In the next tutorials we will look at:

4. Structure

5. Varying the pace

6. Editing

If you want to ask me anything, or have an opinion to express on these tutorials, don’t hesitate to leave a comment:

 

 

 

 

 

2 Film Reviews: Fury and The Yakuza

fury_article_story_large

Brad Pitt as Wardaddy in Fury.

Fury (2014)

I first saw this film when it came to cable TV. I wasn’t impressed. The penultimate scene, whereby one of the main characters gets blown up by a grenade, looked totally unrealistic. German grenades were about half as powerful as allied ones but in a confined space like the turret of a tank, there would be still be little left of a man to identify, let alone a complete body with only a few stylish blood stains on its face.

But recently, I had to do some research for a book I am writing so I watched it again. Having written off the movie as an authentic document, I took a more relaxed approach and, I must say, I enjoyed it a lot more.

It’s probably a habit of historical writers to watch WWII movies with the intention of nit-picking the details. We forget most movies are made as metaphors; they are not literal and are meant to be taken as a mirror of what is going on inside the soul of the main character.

Once I reminded myself of this I saw that the movie has a lot to recommend it.

The music is unsettling. The uneasy main theme is a just couple of chords, like a fragment from of Beethoven’s late quartets, which does not resolve, but keeps burning a feeling of desolation and loss into your brain.

It’s debatable whether the director considered Pitt or Logal Lerman to be the main players in this ensemble piece. But PItt and Lerman are equally good and their deepening relationship is well portrayed. If you take away the tank, and replace it with a Shakespeare stage, its the simple story of a father figure trying to shield a young man from the worst of life while saving his only sanity in the process. ie Prospero.

As an ensemble piece it relies on the crew of the tank, named ‘Fury,’ to portray a tightly knit crew in the last weeks of the War. All the supporting actors do a fine job and the scene in the house of the mother and daughter, who are terrified of the German civilian concept of Americans as rapists and murderers, is a particularly fine example of their efforts. While Pitt’s character ‘Wardaddy,’ attempts to steer Lerman’s character ‘Norman’ through his first taste of glory, while himself enjoying some civil comforts, the rest of the crew act as obscenely as possible, attempting to remove the meal to an ogre’s party. You can really feel the tension, and when the young girl bursts into tears, you know how fragile the humanity trait is. It may be an unconscious metaphor on the part of the director, but the eggs they are eating reinforce this idea.

There is one moment I particularly like, which underscores Pitt’s growing ease with his own talent. Norman has just seen the death of his first lover and is miserable. Pitt, with a slightly wry smile, simply watches the emotions rippling across Lerman’s face. Wardaddy is indulging a feeling of protectiveness, and at the same time, almost disgust, at his young charge’s naivety.

Penultimate scene aside, this film is worth taking a second look at. I don’t know what it is that really works about this movie but I think its the cyclical, double-act of the hypnotic music and Pitt’s understated performance. When I went to bed after the movie had finished, the music and ambiance of the film continued to drill into my subconscious remorselessly, much like the horror of war, I suppose.

The Yakuza (1974)

I have seen this film several times over the years but never really ‘noticed’ or rated it much. Its a quiet film with little pazazz in its presentation.

It’s main attraction has always been it’s star. If you are a fan of Robert Mitchum’s understated acting, you seek out any of his films. Even mediocre westerns are lifted by his acting performances, underrated at the time, but now considered to be some of the finest.

It’s also probably the first Hollywood take on the Yakuza story; man insults honour of a Yakuza and has to pay the price but his friend is going to try and save him… You know the story. It’s been done many times. Later movies like Showdown in Little Tokyo, Year of the Dragon, Rush Hour II and any number of modern martial arts movies made a formula of it but this was one of the first.

The cast includes Richard Jordan, a fine actor who is seriously underused here in a supporting role with few words to say, and Brian Keith, who does a solid job in the kind of supporting role that either George Kennedy or Brian Dennehy would have done equally well. It’s good to see Christina Kokubo popping up too in her first and last major international movie since Battle of Midway as Eiko’s daughter. Curiously, Mitchum was also in that film. I wonder if he suggested her for the part?

I won’t waste time on the main plot, except to say that Mitchum’s Kilmer, an ex WWII military police officer, now retired, has to go to Japan to save the life of his mate, Brian Keith’s character.

But it’s the subplots where the film scores. First of all you have a delicately portrayed love affair between Kilmer and Eiko, a flame lingering long into the shadows of late life. She cannot marry him and he cannot forget her. There is a beautiful scene where he sees her for the first time in 20 or 30 years and asks her again to marry him. She again says no and he says something like:
“Well, at least we got that over for the next 20 years.”

There are some lovely settings in Kyoto and the dialogue is kept minimal, even cryptically so. In a style that I first noticed in Point Blank (1967) and Get Carter (1971) and became accentuated later in films like Blade Runner, very few clues are given as to why certain things happen in the movie. A good example is the scene where Jordan and Mitchum’s characters go to a Yakuza safe-house to rescue some drugged girls. The only clue as to why this happens is a single line of perhaps two words spoken by Eiko’s brother, himself ex-Yakuza in an earlier conversation with Kilmer. But it’s so mumbled that I can’t here what he says, despite rewinding several times. It’s probably something like ‘Your emissary,’ meaning that he will lead Kilmer into the Yakuza territory and create a means to meet with the head of the gang, with whom they have to negotiate. I am convinced the director asked the actors to mumble these lines, because Kilmer replies:
“I couldn’t ask you that.”
But on first listening it sounds like:
“I couldn’t ask her that.”
And that  would give a whole different meaning to the film.

It’s a fine performance from Mitchum, as usual. He looks hungover; you would expect nothing less from a hard-drinking actor at his peak. The wide brow, the doleful eyes, the caved-in cheeks, the look of a crestfallen superhero cast in stone. He is truly a man in glorious decay. Still standing rod-straight and tall enough to make suits look good, he doesn’t stride thought the movie, as he once did, but meanders. Mickey Roarke later took up this style quite successfully.

I once saw the director talking of Story of G.I. Joe about Mitchum’s role in the film. The director wanted Mitchum to show shock when somebody lobs a grenade and some men die. It was a long shot and Mitchum stood up and didn’t move. At least that’s what the director saw. He shot the scene again and again, telling Mitchum;
“I want shock! Show me shock!”
To which Mitchum replied:
“I am! I am!”
The director wrote the scene, and Mitchum, off as a lost cause and finished the day’s shooting. But when he saw the rushes, on a 70 foot wide screen, he saw Mitchum’s raise his eyebrows, a subtle expression that looked totally authentic for a battle-hardened solder. The director was stunned. This probably proved the real launch of Mitchum’s career.

Brando could possibly have taken The Yakuza and done a better job than Bob Mitchum. But Brando would have quickly become bored with the lack of dialogue and started toying with it. He would have added complexity, which would have taken away from the ‘zen’ minimalism of the film.

So if you want a brash movie, forget The Yakuza. But if you want to see an underrated Hollywood great in an underrated movie, give it a go.

If you have views on these two movies, add your comments below.

How to write a good book – Post 2. Developing the Themes

Now I will talk about themes, the threads that bind a story together.

As I mentioned in part 1, no single idea will make a complete book. If it’s a good idea, it will spawn more ideas. Let’s assume you have your ten ideas as well as your main idea:

Main idea: Santa’s sleigh breaks down on Christmas Eve

Spawned ideas:
Santa has to hire a van
The hire company has no vans
So he has to hire a tractor
But Rudolph is in a union
The union says Rudolph has to be the driver for Christmas deliveries
So Rudolph has to drive the tractor
But Rudolph is a reindeer
So Santa has to teach a reindeer how to drive with specially made gloves
But Rudolph is also married and his wife won’t let him drive
Santa has to persuade Rudolph’s wife Erma

Now this is all very well but besides a funny story, are you actually saying anything? If the reader wants to hear a joke, they can watch a stand-up comedian or watch a Tom and Jerry cartoon. What they want is something that will completely absorb them. People love to solve puzzles and they very often get bored easily so you need sub plots and themes. This gives them the feeling that something is building behind the scenes and allows them to say, “Ah Ha!” once in a while.

Sub plots

Sub plots are stories within the main story. For instance, here it might be that Rudolph let Erma down last week so she is particularly angry with him. Or perhaps she wants a new TV, in which case, if Santa is going to pay Rudolph triple-time, then it makes everyone’s life easier.

You can see how subplots can vary the intensity of the main flow of the book. They can slow it down, speed it up, provide a break, give you more insight into a character or a situation, or raise or lower tension.

Themes

But even sub plots aren’t enough to keep the attention of most readers and in fact you can end up with a disjointed story.

What you really need is subtle threads running through the story and the sub-plots, to keep the reader’s attention and bind the whole thing together. Themes also serve the purpose of developing the mood of the piece, and if you want the reader to go away at the end of it thinking about your book, it’s your chance to put in a subtle message.

In our Rudolph story we might try a theme like this:

Alcohol is corrupting Lapland (Santa’s traditional home country in the north of Sweden)

You must be very subtle about this, but you might say that some of the elves are secretly stashing bottles of Jack Daniels when they are ordered for a husband’s Christmas present. Later they drink it.

To get an idea how themes work, think of your favourite book and look for the main theme. Here are three examples:

  1. In Harry Potter, one theme is loneliness and isolation. Harry is adopted and lonely as a child.
  2. In Lord of the Rings, pity is one theme that jumps out at me. Both Frodo and Gandalf pity Gollum.
  3. In Blade Runner, illusion is a constant theme. Deckart is trained how to break down the illusion created by some replicants that they are fully human.

Try this exercise with your own favourite book. Then try it with a book you are currently working on.

Now you have to develop this theme.

In Blade Runner for instance, we have the other detective making the little origami figure of the unicorn. Unicorns are mythical so a kind of illusion. But one also inhabits Deckart’s dreams so he starts to doubt his own dreams and whether he is in fact human.

This theme is developed to its ultimate conclusion when Roy Batty doesn’t kill Deckart but dies while releasing a white dove. This says that although Roy knows he is not human, he is in fact more than humane, and in his own way, more human than most humans.

If you watch the film closely, you will find many allusions to illusions: the Japanese girl advert on the side of buildings, the snake scale, the mechanical dolls etc.

Try looking at your favourite book and writing down as many scenes as you can that develop the theme you have identified.

Lastly, do the same exercise with your own story. If you cannot find many scenes, then begin to plan how to include some.

Themes are an opportunity to get your underlying message across; perhaps something about philosophy, religion, politics or human relationships.

The next parts will be:

3. Characterisation

4. Structure

What have been your experiences of writing? Do you agree or disagree with my experiences? Are you working on your very first book and don’t know where to start? Let me know by commenting.

December Radio Paperback is out Today!

December Radio cover

December Radio cover

This is just a brief mention that December Radio is out on Amazon as a Paperback today! http://bit.ly/decradi

Watch the trailer below the description.

Description

What would have happened if the Nazi’s developed ‘THE BOMB’ first?
Based on real events. If German scientists had developed nuclear fission first, the world would be changed.
What if? Actually, German scientists were far ahead of the United States in creating the first atom bomb. It was only through the daring exploits of brave men and women that the US succeeded in obtaining the first nuclear weapon and saved the world from being subject to German Nazi rule. Hitler, driving his scientists to extraordinary means, almost achieved domination over all mankind. The thought of such a ruler is chilling, yet could well have come to past.

Based on actual events, Ferran draws the reader into the frightening concept that such a possibility did in fact take place and a few men and women were faced with the ultimate sacrifice. Could such a possibility exist today?

Grab a copy of Ferran’s best seller today: http://bit.ly/decradi

The Journals of Raymond Brooks – 2nd Edition is out!

The Journals of Raymond Brooks cover

The Journals of Raymond Brooks

Almost 2 years ago now, I edited a great book – The Journals of Raymond Brooks. It has now been released as a second edition and it looks stunning.

The link for the book is always on my Editing Services page.

Click here to see what you think!

 

 

Description

Raymond Brooks was born a thousand years ago, an orphaned boy lost in a foreign land. Growing up during the Dark Ages was no easy feat. Reaching old age was highly unlikely. Surviving to see the turn of a millennium? Impossible!

These are The Journals of Raymond Brooks, a mythical figure from the Dark Ages.Uncovering the mysteries and adventures he experienced during his unimaginable lifespan. The Journals force humanity to face a terrible realization: there are monsters of horrifying power hidden from mortal eyes. They pretend to be sheep when they are wolves, pulling our strings and making us dance…until now.

Could the supernatural creatures really walk amongst us? And if they do, they must preserve their secrecy at all cost. Why then would Raymond commit virtual suicide by revealing their existence? What happens now, when all hell breaks loose?