HappyLondonPress : Stories Sharing inspiration for Readers

   2020-04-17       45        Books
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Channel Description : Bringing words of wisdom from amazing authors and writers from across the globe.  Learn from the best and get inspired as we share their writing tips and unique reading insights.
Channel Link : https://happylondonpress.blogspot.com/
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Title : “The storyless story is a VXXXX with teeth.”
Description :

“The storyless story is a VXXXX with teeth.” ― Scarlett Thomas


Secret Life: The many facets of the short story
By Amber Duivenvoorden


Abraham Cahan maintains that Chekhov’s genius is best recognized in stories that are so “absolutely storyless that there is not enough even to fill a nutshell”. These short stories reveal only ‘a little piece of life’ and are the same kind of stories that fascinate me as a short story writer. What truly concerns me is the manipulation of mood and feeling, establishing a tone which mirrors the characters’ emotions and I found the short story to be the best medium in communicating this. 



Chekhov was a master of this skill, expertly projecting emotion on landscape. In a story like “The Kiss”, Ryabovitch has been kissed, and everything appears differently, he ‘looks at the light and fancies that the light looks and winks at him, as though it knew about the kiss’. On returning to the village after some time, it becomes clear that he shall not see the woman again and although everything looks as it had when he’d first been kissed, there’s no ‘sound of the brave nightingale, and no scent of poplar and fresh grass.’ This projection of mood on the environment has worked its way in most of my stories.Valerie Shaw also sheds light on Chekhov’s mastery and comes to regard his stories as conforming to the form Virginia Woolf described as ‘a succession of emotions radiating from some character at the centre’. In these stories, everything comes from and returns to a ‘dynamic centre’ and ‘emotions radiate’ because as Charles E. May puts it, the writer ‘maintains a distanced objectivity from the story’. This is done by avoiding the obvious revelation of a protagonist’s state of mind and making it clear only through his or her actions and surroundings, a skill Chekhov believed highly in, since “when you depict sad or unlucky people, and want to touch your reader’s heart, try to be colder- it gives their grief as it were a background, against which it stands out in greater relief. As it is, your heroes weep, and you sigh’. 


This is also touched upon by Frank O’Connor, when he talks about truth in literature and concludes that ‘sentimentality always means falsity, for whether or not one can perceive the lie, one is always aware of being in the presence of a lie.’ Over sentimentality makes writing reductive; the ending of A Farewell to Arms, for instance is powerful because the irony is so understated that it leaves its mark; the protagonist who has lost his lover in childbirth goes ‘back to the hotel in the rain’. There are no qualms about the height of the tragedy, however Hemingway’s approach is simple and effective; he doesn’t allow himself lengthy paragraphs, going over the grief and misery or shock the protagonist is experiencing. 
Taking on board this advice, I have worked at depicting emotion solely through a person’s actions. If there’s an instance of suicidal behaviour, nothing is ever made explicitly clear through direct thoughts, I maintain a distanced objectivity, for example, a woman pushes a plate in a tub full of hot water and despite that it’s scalding her hands, ‘she presses the plate further down, then lifts it up slowly’.
Despite that events occur in the ‘wide-awake daylight of the everyday world’, reality is not expanded on and becomes illusive. Mostly, short stories work by presenting ‘hard facts’ within a figurative form so that their moments and objects become significant metaphors. May also suggests expressing complex inner states ‘by presenting selected concrete details’, thereby ‘creating an illusion of inner reality by focussing on external details only’.  In Carver’s “Why don’t you dance?”, although we are not told directly about the reality of the man’s situation, we know that there is something very wrong from the fact that he arranges the furniture on his lawn exactly as it is inside his house. One of my stories opens with the protagonist unable to remove a stain from the tap’s spout, only to discover at end that she had indeed removed it, which is to be taken as a metaphor of her independence and ability to take control of her life. 
The novel is credible because its ‘metonymic details’ allow the reader to believe that they understand what they are reading in the same way that ‘they know external reality.’ However, in a short story these ‘metonymic details’ are given meaning according to the particular themes of the story that directs them. This is done by ‘repetition and parallelism’. Thus, in a short story every small detail must matter. Courttia Newland also emphasizes the importance of economy in the short story, that ‘a protagonist should not be characterized too heavily, and the mention of minor characters brief.’ In the short story, there is no time to switch perspectives, important information is withheld and the writer has the power of directing the reader’s thoughts in any direction. 
The modern short story does not aim for plot, but as May suggests, it aims for ‘a certain tone of significance’. The two sources of this significance according to May, could be ‘the episode itself which … seems to have a ‘latent value’ that the artist tries to unveil’ or ‘the subjectivity of the teller, his perception that what seems trivial and everyday has, from his point of view, significance and meaning’. Most of my stories are an attempt at revealing a hidden emotion, or a character’s trait. In “The Prickly Pears” which was published in the Bristol Short Story 2017 Prize Anthology, everyday reality is broken by a crisis; a family who is waiting for their son to return home find out that he is not coming. His nonappearance is tragic because the family have been preparing all day and they haven’t seen him in years.



Generally, short stories that focus on single situations that occur over a short period of time are more effective than those is which time is not limited to a day or a significant moment. In fact, Tania Hershman advises against cramming a man’s life into about 3000 words, since in doing so, one fails to reach the emotional impact of specific moments in time, which tell us more about the characters and their importance in the larger frame of the narrative. 
Alice Munro finds the concept of ‘time’ to be very interesting, ‘the past and present, and how the past appears as people change’. Reading her stories has allowed me to understand better how to compress the complexity and variation of a novel into ‘several dozen pages’ with intricate events and complicated characters. For instance, in “Something I’ve been Meaning to Tell You”, Munro goes over the lives of Char, Et, Blaikie and Arthur. The story goes back and forth in time and yet, despite there being a lot of doubt about the plot and what actually happens in the end, the characters are strong and Munro manages to tell their individual stories without summarizing anything. However, despite their ‘novelistic’ nature, her stories ‘do not communicate as novels do’, because of their sense of mystery. They are hidden stories about ‘the secret life’. In some of my stories, I attempted this sense of ambiguity; leaving out details about where a family goes to live at the end of a story or what a protagonist’s mother dies of.
Despite these differences in style, a similar element in all the stories that fascinate me is the development of what John Dewey refers to as ‘an experience’. This constitutes ‘a single quality that pervades the entire experience’. For most of the stories I would say that this quality is a sense of realism. This realism manifests itself also in the choice of character. Much like Chekhov, I am concerned with the individual. He wrote about ‘ordinary love and family life without villains and angels … smooth, ordinary life as it actually is” and believed that ‘in literature, the lower ranks are as necessary as in the army’. All the characters that pique my interest are ordinary people with ordinary lives; they are unremarkable, people you might see on the street, people you might know, but their problems matter, insignificant as they themselves might be. They matter because everyone else has felt like they have at some point, their pain is understood. Their significance is strengthened by less important characters who enter their lives briefly or who have been there for a long time. 
~

Hi writing & reading community 😊

Sorry to interrupt your blog but we need to ask for a little bit of help…
Could you have a look over 3 book covers and let us know your favourite?
The story is called ‘Coals to Newcastle’ by Andrew Segal and is a short tale about romance, marriage, deceit and madness - affairs of the heart and mind.
Once you’ve decided on which you think is the most gripping - comment below with your favourite (1,2 or 3) & please do let us know what you think of the graphics more generally. We’d love you to critique them so we can improve 😊
Thank you so much 🙏 We really appreciate your support ❤️

~
Frank O’Connor says that ‘the short story has never had a hero’, but it has ‘a submerged population group’. The people in short stories have been defeated by ‘a society that offers no goals and no answers’. These are the misunderstood, the unheard, ‘the outlawed figures wandering about the fringes of society’ and all the stories that fascinate me display ‘the intense awareness of human loneliness’, outlined by O’ Connor. Ultimately I feel that this is the real purpose of the short story, a study of the common man and his struggles, through ‘a little piece of life’.



Introducing our 2017 shortlisted writers 



About 
Amber Duivenvoorden

My name is Amber Duivenvoorden. I am a first year PhD student in Creative Writing from Malta. I am doing my PhD at Bath Spa University and am writing a collection of short stories set in Malta. In my research I am investigating how the outcast developed from the 1950s to contemporary times in relation to colonialism and the effect that the latter had, and continues to have on society’s perception of the outcast. My short story ‘The Prickly Pears’ was shortlisted and published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology 2017 and another  story, ‘Amazing Grace’, was published in Antae Journal, issued by the University of Malta. My short story ‘The Kingdom’ was also longlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2018. 



Hope you enjoyed this week's stimulating read

References
Awano, Lisa Dickler, An Interview with Alice Munro (2006),
Carver, Raymond, “Why don’t you dance?” in Collected Stories , ed, by William Stull (USA: Library of America; Definitive ed. edition, 2009).


Chekhov, Anton, “The Kiss” in Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov , ed, by Richard Pevear (USA: Modern Library, 2000)


E. May, Charles “The Birth of the Modern Story”, in “I am Your Brother”: Short Story Studies (USA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013)
Hemingway, Ernest, A Farewell to Arms (London: Arrow Books, 2004)
Hershman, Tania, “The shorter end of short stories – boundaries with poetry”, in Writing Short Stories: A Writers’ and Artists' Companion, ed. by Carole Angier and Sally Cline (London: Bloomsbury, 2015)
Munro, Alice, ‘Something I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You’, in Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You (London: Penguin Books, 1974
Newland, Courttia, ‘Stories: those little slices of life’, in Writing Short Stories: A Writers’ ad Artists’ Companion, ed. by Carole Angier and Sally Cline (London: Bloomsbury, 2015),
O’Connor, Frank, “An Author in Search of a Subject”, in The Lonely Voice; A Study of the Short Story (New Jersey: Melville House Publishing, 2004)
Shaw, Valerie, “Glanced at through a window’: characterization”, in The Short Story: A Critical Introduction (New York: Longman, 1983)
Springstubb, Tricia, “Short Story Collection Shows Munro in Top Form”, in The Plain Dealer (Cleveland,  1998) in Charles E. May, “The Short Story Way of Meaning” in “I am Your Brother” 

Post Date : 08/07/2020
Title : “A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.”
Description :
“A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” ― John le CarréCHOOSING THE POINT OF VIEW 
for your protagonist.
By Peter la Trobe



Let's think about one of the questions that writers – particularly relatively inexperienced writers – often forget to ask themselves: 
Have I chosen the right point of view? 

Perhaps I should rephrase that. Have I chosen the best possible point of view to bring my story to life?
Of course, you can’t write a story without having a point of view , even if you have never thought about it before.  There it is, right in the very first sentence of your manuscript: 
‘As Jane woke up, all the events of last night rushed back to mind’. 
That’s a third-person point of view – your reader is a fly on the wall – a parrot on the shoulder, perhaps - watching somebody called Jane wake up. But there’s more too. The reader isn’t just watching the action, they’re participating  – they are sharing the character’s thoughts. They know something significant happened last night.




‘As I woke up, all the events of last night rushed back to mind.’ 
That’s the same sentence from a first-person point of view. The story is being told by the main character, the protagonist. This time the reader is getting a first-hand account. They will read on in order to let the protagonist tell them what did happen last night. But, did you notice – we don’t yet know if the ‘I’ telling the story is male or female, or if that’s important, and we certainly don’t know the narrator’s name.
You can already see that the point of view you choose is going to influence the way in which you can develop your story. First person point of view often gives a sense of immediacy – as a reader you are encountering the twists and turns of events with the protagonist.  But sometimes less experienced writers find writing as though it is their own experience inhibits them. 

If the ‘I’ in your story is a Soviet spy, an axe murderer, or a trapeze artist it’s not impossible - although it is unlikely - that you’re writing from personal experience. But if the protagonist is involved in something closer to home – the child of an alcoholic, perhaps, or the victim of a scam, witness to a bad motorway accident – then the friends or relatives who will almost certainly be your early audience and critics might begin to wonder. You’re the writer, you’re in charge, you can change that: make the protagonist imaginary – if you’re a blue-eyed girl tell the story as a brown-eyed boy. Ok, that’s an obvious exaggeration, but I’m sure you get the point.

You may discover, once you escape the idea that a first person story is a narration of your own experiences, that you can take readers on explorations of wildly imaginative, exotic worlds and adventures that are given extra reality because the story is being told by somebody who’s been there.  A mer-person perhaps, an extra-terrestrial, an animal. 
The only thing you have to remember is if you choose to tell the story from a first-person point of view, you must not tell the reader about the other characters’ thoughts: after all,  you, the writer, cannot possibly know what the people around you are thinking. 
Let’s go back to the third-person point of view – you know, where we were watching Jane waking up and could tell what she was thinking. The advantage for the writer is that you can, if you wish, depict every shade of your protagonist’s emotions and reactions. The only difficulty with that is to avoid switching points of view. Such interruptions momentarily snap the reader out of the imaginary world the author has created, whilst they work out what’s happened.  
You need to pick your point of view carefully. They all have advantages.
Here’s a thought to finish on: take the first paragraph of your story, and see how it reads if you change the point of view. You could be surprised: sometimes seeing your story from a different angle makes it sparkle. 
That’s it, for. I hope you’ve found this helpful. What’s the best point of view? The one that helps you bring your story to life.
Thanks for reading. ‘bye for now.








Come and meet our witty...

Peter la Trobe

My life has been spent writing. Contributor, then editor of the school mag; later, as an advertising agency copywriter, I worked on ad campaigns promoting cars, pharmaceuticals, food products, electronics - and much else besides. It’s not all glamour. Somebody has to write the instruction manual – you know, the one piece of literature nobody reads. If it helps to pay the mortgage, I’ll write it. But, if you did read it, you’d be able to follow it. No incomprehensible technical guff. That’s the sort of writer I am. A qualified Public Relations practioner, I specialised in marketing strategies for retail organisations. As a free-lance journalist I covered retail and industrial developments for a leading group of local newspapers. Like I said, writing is not all glamour. My work has appeared in a number of anthologies. And a collection of my short stories, under the title ‘I Killed and Angel’, is still out there. I’ve been a member of Harlow Writers Workshop for several years, and I’m currently studying for a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing with the Open College of the Arts, part of the University of the Creative Arts.






We love entertaining readers and informing writers

Post Date : 07/30/2020
Title : Write to taste life twice
Description :
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”  ― Anais Nin 


Hey you! Yes you!

You wanna be a writer right?


By Solomon Holmes




You’re reading this so I’ll assume there’s at least a part of you that’s creatively inclined. Maybe you’ve written a bunch of stuff already, maybe you’ve not even begun to put pen to paper (or, more likely, finger to keyboard). No matter where you’re at in the creative process, there are a few questions you’re going to need to ask yourself if you’re going to make your writing really pop out to readers. 
Whether you’re writing an existentialist avant-garde masterpiece of Post Post-modernist literature, a high-octane spy thriller, or a puffy piece of lighthearted erotica; these questions can go a long way to ensure you gain that well needed connection; to make your writing just that little bit more brilliant. 


Have you ever asked yourself...

What am I trying to say? 



It may seem obvious but, you should really think about exactly what message you’re trying to convey. Knowing the conclusion you’re going to reach, and how you’re going to get there is paramount to keeping the text focused. Even an intentionally murky message requires some forethought as to what headspace you want your readers to dwell in. 
Others may have a different process where they find their message through the writing itself. You may use writing as a soul-searching creative exercise wherein, you just write and let the magic happen. If that sounds like you then perhaps the automatic writing style may pay thematic dividends without you even realising it. 
For example, George Orwell had a very specific idea in mind when he wrote Animal Farm, to satirize the upper class’s exploitation of the poor and vulnerable. 


“One evening, Clover sees a shocking sight: Squealer walking on his hind legs. Other pigs follow, walking the same way, and Napoleon also emerges from the farmhouse carrying a whip in his trotter. The sheep begin to bleat a new version of their previous slogan: "Four legs good, two legs better!" Clover also notices that the wall on which the Seven Commandments were written has been repainted: Now, the wall simply reads, "ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL / BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS." Eventually, all the pigs begin carrying whips and wearing Jones' clothes.”



Harper Lee had the intention of undermining racist ideologies when she wrote To Kill a Mockingbird. These are just a couple of examples from intransient pieces of fiction. Even if these messages weren’t the first things to come during the writing process it’s undeniable that their distinct message is what made them stand out at the time, and why they’re still in circulation many decades later. 


Atticus said to Jem one day, "I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird."
That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.
"Your father’s right," she said. "Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird." (p. 88)



Who is this relevant to? 

You’re now writing with intent and clarity, but you’ve got to know who the bloody hell for.  Perhaps it’s for edgy teenage girls, or nervous prepubescent boys, or gerbil dress-up enthusiasts, it really doesn’t matter you’ve just got to know your market. What you don’t want to do is try to appeal to everyone at once, people who do this can often end up appealing to nobody at all (Even the gerbil dress up enthusiasts, and they’ll read anything). If you want to have cross market appeal, you’re still going to need some thematic and tonal consistency so that you can keep you and your reader on the same page (Pun absolutely intended). 

I know what some of you may be thinking, ‘This is relevant to me, I write for myself’ and that’s great all power to you mate, but I’m talking about writing for publication here. Your text can make perfect sense to you but leave everyone else utterly bamboozled. It’s just something to keep in mind as you exorcise your writing demons for the sake of literary catharsis. 
For example, a YA novelist writes for the main purpose of appealing to young adults (Who’da thunk it?). Worldwide phenomena along the vein of The Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games, and Harry Potter would not hold such a huge place in today’s popular culture if it wasn’t for their ability to empathize with, and appeal to, younger audiences. A lot of whom grow up with these books and have their literary tastes shaped by them for at least a few years (Before they move on to bigger, and better things). I have no doubt that my taste wouldn’t be as eclectic as it is today if it wasn’t for me reading every Darren Shan horror novel as a nervous prepubescent schoolboy. 
This is just one example, but it can be applied to every genre, modernist writers of the early 20th century wrote to put into words a worldwide existential crisis, to appeal to intellectually minded urbanites who were struggling to come to terms with a vastly changing world. Modern romantic comedies are often written to appeal to the everyman; a bit of puffy fiction to ease the tensions of the day, and crime fiction copycats of Agatha Christie seem to be written solely to appeal to my Mum.


How do I want the reader to feel?

You know who you’re writing for, (let’s say little schoolboys), you’ve got your message and you’re confident that they’ll get it. You’ve still got to know how you want them to feel. Perhaps you want them to wet themselves with excitement, or cry their eyes out, or maybe you just want to blow their tiny little minds. No matter your intent you’ve got to keep in mind exactly what state you want to leave them in as you’re bringing your story to life. 
Novelists like Michael Morpurgo seem to write solely to make their audience cry. Brett Easton Ellis, and Irvine Welsh write to shock, titillate, and horrify.  Dostoevsky writes to incite deep self-evaluation, and Jeff Vandermeer writes to make you bloody confused. Dependent upon your specific style; the emotional outcome of your work will be totally different. As you’re writing, try to remove yourself from the writer’s seat, place yourself in the shoes of the reader and work out what emotions you’re playing with, and once you work them out use them to your advantage! 

Writers Focus Planner 

Simply download and print as many pages as you need


>>Here's How<<



Back to asking the most important question of all... 

Am I having fun? 

If you’re excited by your work, if you find great joy in creating it then that’ll really show in the final product. Likewise, if you’re getting bored with where your own story is heading then it’s likely that the reader will have already fallen asleep; probably dreaming of a slightly more immersive world within which the writer doesn’t find his own work so bloody tedious. 

A tragedy so easily reconciled. 

Quick Fire Recap! 

  • Know what you’re saying
  • Know who you’re writing for
  • Know how you want them to feel 
And most importantly...
  • Have fun with it!






The happy life of  Solomon Holmes
Bio: Solomon Holmes is a twenty-two-year-old English Undergraduate student who spends much of his time reading to inhabit too many fictional worlds at once and procrastinating at an expert level. He loves writing short fiction, as well as songs and poetry. He also likes to write about film, literature, and media which he consumes borderline religiously. Since Covid-19 has taken both of his jobs away he has found himself with an awful lot of spare time. 





We love entertaining readers and informing writers
Post Date : 07/24/2020
Title : Dear Publisher "Shark Attack!!"
Description :
Dear Publisher “Shark Attack!” 
By Peter la Trobe



Welcome to our first in the new series of blog posts, written by a wonderful mix of published authors, renown writers and worldly bloggers.
Our first week starts with a brilliant and witty piece by an author, who in the past wrote some entertaining advertising campaigns, way back in the era of great TV and poster campaigns costing millions.
ENJOY X


Hello I’m Peter la Trobe, talking to you from the - socially distanced -workshop. I’m a writer. And by a writer I mean: somebody who loves putting words together on paper; telling stories or writing poems. 



Anyway – right now I’m asking the question: 
What’s in a name?



Every writer, and every wannabe writer, has been here, or hereabouts: you’ve spent hours drafting and redrafting your story. Your Mum has heard the various versions so many times that she gets a strange look in her eye when you say – listen to this, what do you think of it now? Your partner suddenly remembers something that should have been done way before lockdown – lovely, lovely, I’ll be back to listen to it soon, honest…


What do they know? The deadline is really close. Get it emailed. Sod! No title. Oh I dunno – call it Shark Attack. That’ll do. I mean, that’s what it’s about, isn’t it?
‘Dear Mr Benchley’ nobody ever wrote. 
‘Thank you for your manuscript, which I’m afraid we won’t be adding to our list’.
You see, you’ve called it Shark Attack.  Frankly that’s dull. Which sounds more intriguing to you -  ‘ice cream with tinned peaches and raspberry jam’,  or ‘Peach Melba’? 
Shark Attack is merely a recipe – it tells you what the ingredient is.  But it doesn’t make you want to taste it – you already know what that tinned peaches, ice cream and raspberry jam  tastes like, why spend money on having another go? 
See what I mean?  
Perhaps if you gave your work a title that hints at the contents, intrigues readers enough to get them to put their money into the bookseller’s till, we might reconsider. 
Yours regretfully, 
A. Publisher.’ 







‘Dear Mr Publisher’ 
Peter Benchley never wrote in reply. 
I’ve thought carefully about what you said.  And I agree, my book isn’t just about a Shark Attack. It’s about one man’s determination to overcome a monster. It’s about power politics , and stubborn men fighting terrible odds. It’s about toe-curling danger. I’ve decided to retitle it Jaws. Now will you send me a  cheque?’


The rest – well, told like this the rest isn’t history, but I’m sure you get the point.
Naming your work is a vital part of the writing process, and one that is frequently overlooked - or worse, undervalued.  
Ok – so, are there any useful rules for writing titles? 



If there are, I don’t know any. I couldn’t even find a  ‘Guide to naming your novel’ on the internet. Oh, now there’s an idea…mmm…  where was I ?  Yeah, rules for titles. Well, I think the key guiding principle is – don’t give the game away. Use the title to pique the reader's interest. Think of it as your advertising headline.  You know, something that sticks like a burr to your brain, like ‘Compare the Meerkat’.
You’ve got a fraction of a second to overcome all the noise and distractions surrounding your potential reader and make them want to pick up your book, or turn to your story.  As they glance over your title it’s now or never.
Then, if you’ve got their attention, you have a few more seconds more in which to make sure they’re going to keep reading your words right through to the end.


Easy? 
No, of course it isn’t. Nothing about good writing is easy. 
But I hope that I’ve shown that naming your work is a really important part of the writing process, something that you should be thinking about all the time that you're putting your piece together.
Oh, and here’s a thought to finish on. You may find that if you are actively thinking about the title whilst you're writing it, could help to keep your story on track. 
You know what they say : 
“He who knows his destination finds the way”.
That’s it for now. I hope you’ve found this helpful. 
What’s in a name? 
Your readers' attention, that’s what. 
My name is Peter la Trobe.  Thanks for reading - if your prefer to listen - click the podcast below. 
‘Bye for now’.





Come and meet our witty...

Peter la Trobe

My life has been spent writing. Contributor, then editor of the school mag; later, as an advertising agency copywriter, I worked on ad campaigns promoting cars, pharmaceuticals, food products, electronics - and much else besides. It’s not all glamour. Somebody has to write the instruction manual – you know, the one piece of literature nobody reads. If it helps to pay the mortgage, I’ll write it. But, if you did read it, you’d be able to follow it. No incomprehensible technical guff. That’s the sort of writer I am. A qualified Public Relations practioner, I specialised in marketing strategies for retail organisations. As a free-lance journalist I covered retail and industrial developments for a leading group of local newspapers. Like I said, writing is not all glamour. My work has appeared in a number of anthologies. And a collection of my short stories, under the title ‘I Killed and Angel’, is still out there. I’ve been a member of Harlow Writers Workshop for several years, and I’m currently studying for a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing with the Open College of the Arts, part of the University of the Creative Arts.





We love entertaining readers and informing writers
Post Date : 07/17/2020
Title : Speaking says more than words: tips for writers
Description :

He said, she said: 

How to write unique, believable dialogue like a top author

Writing dialogue for your characters is like trying to mimic accents (which I’m terrible at!). It can sound extremely unnatural if you don’t get it right - sometimes even laughable! In order to draft good dialogue that sounds like real human people speaking to each other, it's important to develop what’s called a ‘Writer’s Ear’.

What’s a ‘Writer’s Ear’? It sounds painful!

No it’s not a disease - in fact quite the opposite! The world’s best authors (which we have some examples below), have developed the ability to listen to the voices and rhythms in speech and tap into its musicality in a truly masterful way.

The advice here is simply to listen when people talk. You know in conversations when you hear someone else make a point and your mind races to what you’re going to say in relation to that? If you’re doing that, then you’re not really listening. Listening on a deeper level is focusing only on the person that is speaking and observing not only what they’re saying, but how they are saying it.

Once you have mastered this deeper level of listening - you have developed your ‘Writer’s Ear’!

Can I see some examples from these masterful authors? You certainly can!


Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
You wouldn’t think Sci-Fi would have the most natural dialogue, considering its unnatural setting, however The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has some of the most natural sounding and funniest speech I’ve ever read. Here’s a small example:

“'Drink up,' said Ford, 'you've got three pints to get through.'

'Three pints?" said Arthur. 'At lunchtime?' 

The man next to Ford grinned and nodded happily. Ford ignored him. He said, 'Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.'

'Very deep,' said Arthur, 'you should send that in to the Reader's Digest. They've got a page for people like you.'

'Drink up.'”

It’s not surprising that the author, Adams, is great at writing speech considering he used to write comedy for radio! A job that relies on the comic timing and fluidity of natural speech!
My favourite part of this excerpt is where the stranger is ignored but still continues to spout his faux-philosophy. We all know this guy. And that is why it feels so natural, this character and the way he speaks is so familiar to every reader.

Notice the way that Adams varies where in the sentence he puts the speech tag, this adds to the rhythm of the scene and stops it becoming stale. He also throws out the rule book when it comes to spelling and grammar in speech, which we actively encourage you to do too! People don’t speak as they would write, so you should write dialogue as people would say it - even including spelling mistakes if it helps to get the character across!

⭐ Do you have some stellar speech to share? ⭐

Are you sitting on a short story with the perfect dialogue?
...you just might be the overall winner of

Only 9 Days 
left to get your short story 
into the competition!
So HURRY! Just log yourself in by going to the website
It's just 2 pages of A4 - Easy!!

So what are you waiting for? - you could be the WINNER !!

20 lucky winners get published in a beautifully illustrated coffee-table book that will be available to purchase in renowned London bookstores. 

And that’s not all! We’ll also create a professionally read podcast of the winning stories! Winners will also receive extensive coverage across our social media channels with a combined following of over 2000 engaged readers and writers and radio air time - the perfect package to kickstart your writing career!

Enter your best story for a chance to win this 
incredible literary prize bundle...

Your story should be original and between 1000 and 1500 words, written in English 
from among the following given topics:
Adventure/travel
Thriller/Dark
Romance
Science/Fantasy

Here are the three location categories:
Three County Challenge (Bucks, Herts & London)
 UK Challenge (British Isles and Northern Ireland)
 11yrs - 18 yrs Challenge (UK- British isles and Northern Ireland)

Grab that inspiration and kick-start your writing career!

We even have more to help you conquer the wheres and what fors...

Help is at hand with this downloadable supportive guide:
‘How To Write Short Stories’ Bookazine 
...including writers’ aids to help you unravel the plot intricacies and character development.

<<< Purchase your entry form here >>>

⭐⭐HURRY!... ENTRIES DUE BY 20TH JULY 5pm⭐⭐


How's your speech going? Here’s some more handy advice...

Beloved - Toni Morrison
Someone who plays with grammar incredibly well is Toni Morrison with her dazzlingly innovative and heartbreaking novel Beloved. Here’s an excerpt of this natural speech:

“'Something funny 'bout that gal,' Paul D said, mostly to himself.

'Funny how?'

'Acts sick, sounds sick, but she don't look sick. Good skin, bright eyes and strong as a bull.'

'She's not strong. She can hardly walk without holding on to something.'

'That's what I mean. Can't walk, but I seen her pick up the rocker with one hand.'

'You didn't.'

'Don't tell me. Ask Denver. She was right there with her.'”

You can really get a sense of the accent here, which helps to set the context for the novel. You also get a sense of the conflict between the characters and, without even using speech tags on most of the lines, Morrison shows that there are two characters in conversation and have conflicting opinions - an incredible skill!

Morrison’s speech in this excerpt is completely concentrated. Distilled to only the necessary phrases. No waffle. Every word has been chosen to progress the plot and give us a deeper insight into the characters - another writing tip to make a note of!

Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
Speaking of character insight, John Steinbeck does this wonderfully in his classic novel Of Mice and Men. Here’s a closer look at some of the dialogue:

“'I forgot,' Lennie said softly. 'I tried not to forget. Honest to God I did, George.'

'O.K.—O.K. I’ll tell ya again. I ain’t got nothing to do. Might jus’ as well spen’ all my time tell’n you things and then you forget ‘em, and I tell you again.'

'Tried and tried,' said Lennie, 'but it didn’t do no good. I remember about the rabbits, George.'

'The hell with the rabbits. That’s all you ever can remember is them rabbits. O.K.! Now you listen and this time you got to remember so we don’t get in no trouble. You remember settin’ in that gutter on Howard street and watchin’ that blackboard?'

Lennies’s face broke into a delighted smile. 'Why sure, George, I remember that…but…what’d we do then? I remember some girls come by and you says…you say…'

'The hell with what I says. You remember about us goin’ into Murray and Ready’s, and they give us work cards and bus tickets?'

'Oh, sure, George, I remember that now.' His hands went quickly into his side coat pockets. He said gently, 'George…I ain’t got mine. I musta lost it.' He looked down at the ground in despair.

'You never had none, you crazy bastard. I got both of ‘em here. Think I’d let you carry your own work card?'

Lennie grinned with relief.”


In this speech, Steinbeck builds characters symbiotically. The way that George and Lennie play off each other gives the reader insight into each character by highlighting the differences between them. Although both characters speak with a similar accent, it is clear that George is very much the teacher and Lennie very much the student in this conversation. Lennie’s repetition of ‘George’ in his speech serves to emphasise this, highlighting how much he looks up to him.

The speed of the speech is clearly different for each character too. George speaks quickly, as emphasised by the fact that he often drops the start of words and speaks in short uninterrupted sentences (and the fact that he’s often cutting Lennie off!). Lennie’s speech on the other hand is dotted with punctuation like ellipses that elongate the phrases and cause the reader to read his lines more slowly. Such a clever writing trick!

The way that Steinbeck intersplices action into the lines of speech also reinforces the character creation that’s happening in the dialogue. Sometimes it’s worth taking a break from what is being said to consider what the characters are doing when they are speaking and how they would react physically to speech.

So what have we learned from these incredible works and how can it be applied to your short story?

We’ve pulled out the top 6 tips from these accomplished works...


  • Listen closely to real life dialogue around you to develop your ‘Writer’s Ear’.
  • Concentrate your dialogue and cut out any waffle. Your speech should always have a purpose - either to build character or further the plot. If not - cut it out!
  • Vary your speech tags. After a while, “he said, she said” can become very boring! Pop the tags mid sentence and vary the verbs to spice things up a little (and remember - you don’t have to use a speech tag every time if your characters are  differentiated enough!).
  • Intersplice physical actions & reactions to bolster the character creation.
  • Play with grammar and spelling to portray accents. Study the intricacies of the speech you’re trying to copy and don’t be afraid to change the spelling of some words if it adds to the effect you’re trying to convey!
  • Work on expressing different speech pacing to further build character. If your protagonist is a naturally slow or shy person… you might… um… want to… er.. I don’t know…erm... maybe……use…...ellipses?


Now it's your turn, take this literary toolbox and draft your dialogue like a pro!

Happy writing!

x

Post Date : 07/10/2020
Title : Story Climaxes to Shock or Delight
Description :
Can you feel the foreboding? 

3 short story climaxes that will inspire your own plot twist


The climax of a story can be a moment of retribution or chaos. It’s the summit of the mountain that the writer has produced with their words. Literary climaxes are the ‘ah-ha’ moment in a ‘who-dunnit’ or the marriage (or divorce) in a romance. They should satisfy the reader with a plot conclusion, or even better… a plot twist.

The perfect story climax is a difficult thing to pull off, but the rewards are enormous. A great climax can even encourage a reader to share and discuss the work at great length, becoming an ambassador of your writing. If you tank your climax, you risk turning off your reader and making them think that you’ve wasted their time, so the stakes are high.

So how do you nail the perfect short story climax?


We have a couple of tips:

  • Start with the climax and build outwards

3 Short Story Climaxes That Shock & Delight


When creating your plot plan and writing your first draft, start with the climax. Starting at the summit of your story will allow you to plant a breadcrumb trail for the reader in the lead up, signposting the action that is about to happen. Conversely, you could lay a trail of red-herrings to throw them off the scent and lead to a more surprising result.

  • Use form to amplify tension

Structure can amplify your words in incredible ways. Focusing on the structure of your scenes and their chapter breaks can increase suspense. For example, if you have multiple character arcs, try alternating between those characters’ points of view to break up the narrative. Think of your story like your favourite TV drama, remember how the video editing and regular scene cuts help to build the suspense in the story? Writers can use that same principle. You can also create shorter and shorter scenes as you move towards the climax to increase reading pace and heart-rate. This adds momentum - a key ingredient to a great climax.

Now for the excellent examples. Onto our 3 favourite short story climaxes…


Adventure:
‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’ by Flannery O'Connor is a tale about an ill-fated journey, fraught family-dynamics and a murderer on the loose.

The story begins when a father wants to take his family to Florida for a holiday, but his mother wants him to drive to East Tennessee, where her friends live. She argues that his children have never been to Tennessee and, to emphasise her point, shows him a news article about an escaped murderer, "The Misfit", that was last seen in Florida. He begrudgingly agrees.

She then asks him to make a detour on the way to a house she once knew, and herein lies the story’s first climax:

“"It's not much farther," the grandmother said and just as she said it, a horrible thought came to her. The thought was so embarrassing that she turned red in the face and her eyes dilated and her feet jumped up, upsetting her valise in the corner. The instant the valise moved, the newspaper top she had over the basket under it rose with a snarl and Pitty Sing, the cat, sprang onto Bailey's shoulder.

The children were thrown to the floor and their mother, clutching the baby, was thrown out the door onto the ground; the old lady was thrown into the front seat. The car turned over once and landed right-side-up in a gulch off the side of the road. Bailey remained in the driver's seat with the cat-gray-striped with a broad white face and an orange nose-clinging to his neck like a caterpillar.

...The grandmother was curled up under the dashboard, hoping she was injured so that Bailey's wrath would not come down on her all at once. The horrible thought she had had before the accident was that the house she had remembered so vividly was not in Georgia but in Tennessee.”

After getting what she wanted and making the detour, the grandma suddenly realised that the house was not where she thought it was, and the detour was in fact pointless. It is at this moment that the car crashes, leading to a series of very unfortunate events and culminating in them meeting ‘The MIsfit’ murderer they were trying to avoid.

In this piece we love the fact that it is a grandma and her cat that causes the chain of chaos. It’s so unexpected and makes the car crash even more surprising and abrupt. O'Connor also seems to be conveying the message that if you ask for too much, everything can come tumbling down like dominoes - a climax with a message can be incredibly hard-hitting.

⭐ Do you have a hard-hitting moral message to portray? ⭐

Are you sitting on a short story with the perfect climax moment?
...you just might be the overall winner of the 
Hi2020.co.uk Short Story Competition!

But HURRY! COUNT DOWN just 17 days to get your story entered
So don’t wait!

20 lucky winners get published in a beautifully illustrated coffee-table book that will be available to purchase in renowned London bookstores. 

And that’s not all! We’ll also create a professionally read podcast of the winning stories! Winners will also receive extensive coverage across our social media channels with a combined following of over 2000 engaged readers and writers and radio air time - the perfect package to kickstart your writing career.

Log onto Hi2020.co.uk and enter your best story for a chance to win this incredible literary prize bundle!

Your story should be original and between 1000 and 1500 words, written in English 
from among the following given topics:
Adventure/travel
Thriller/Dark
Romance
Science/Fantasy

Here are the three location categories:
Three County Challenge (Bucks, Herts & London)
 UK Challenge (British Isles and Northern Ireland)
 11yrs - 18 yrs Challenge (UK- British isles and Northern Ireland)

Grab that inspiration and kick-start your writing career!

We even have more to help you conquer the wheres and what fors...

Help is at hand with this downloadable supportive guide:
‘How To Write Short Stories’ Bookazine 
...including writers’ aids to help you unravel the plot intricacies and character development.

<<< Purchase your entry form here >>>

⭐⭐HURRY!... ENTRIES DUE BY 20TH JULY⭐⭐


Thriller/Dark:
‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ by Roald Dahl is next on our list. This short story expresses Dahl's fascination for dark tales and black comedy and is a great example of a short story climax. It’s one of those ‘I should have seen it coming!’ moments for the reader and yet it is so ridiculous that we didn’t expect it!

The climax comes when the distant husband broaches the subject of divorce to his doting wife...
“Her first instinct was not to believe any of it, to reject it all. It occurred to her that perhaps he hadn’t even spoken, that she herself had imagined the whole thing. Maybe, if she went about her business and acted as though she hadn’t been listening, then later, when she sort of woke up again, she might find none of it had ever happened.

“I’ll get the supper,” she managed to whisper, and this time he didn’t stop her. When she walked across the room she couldn’t feel her feet touching the floor. She couldn’t feel anything at all except a slight nausea and a desire to vomit.

Everything was automatic now-down the steps to the cellar, the light switch, the deep
freeze, the hand inside the cabinet taking hold of the first object it met. She lifted it out,
and looked at it. It was wrapped in paper, so she took off the paper and looked at it
again.

A leg of lamb.

All right then, they would have lamb for supper. She carried it upstairs, holding the thin bone-end of it with both her hands, and as she went through the living-room, she saw him standing over by the window with his back to her, and she stopped.

“For God’s sake,” he said, hearing her, but not turning round. “Don’t make supper for me. I’m going out.”

At that point, Mary Maloney simply walked up behind him and without any pause she swung the big frozen leg of lamb high in the air and brought it down as hard as she
could on the back of his head.”

Dahl uses foreshadowing from the very beginning of the text, mentioning the lamb supper every few lines of speech. This hints at the wife’s obsession with being the perfect housewife and catering extensively for the husband. After the divorce is brought up by the husband, her neurotic desire to brush it under the carpet and carry on as normal lulls the reader into a false sense of security. We start to think that she is in denial rather than actively angry.

… and then she hits him with the very leg of lamb that she was going to cook for him. We are left so shocked we almost let out a sort of laugh-gasp as it is so awful and bizarre that is almost comical. Everything you want from a short story climax.

Science-Fiction:
Last but by no means least, we’ve chosen Ray Bradbury’s ‘The Veldt’: a tale about a futuristic house, ungrateful children and a warning against technology taking over our lives.

There is a nursery in this AI house in which the room reflects the childrens’ thoughts and desires. It was developed by psychologists to help them play out scenarios in a healthy way. The problem is that the lines of technology and reality started to blur in both directions…

““Daddy, Mommy, come quick — quick!”
They went downstairs in the air flue and ran down the hall. The children were
nowhere in sight. “Wendy? Peter!”
They ran into the nursery. The veldtland was empty save for the lions waiting,
looking at them. “Peter, Wendy?”
The door slammed.
“Wendy, Peter!”
George Hadley and his wife whirled and ran back to the door.
“Open the door!” cried George Hadley, trying the knob. “Why, they’ve locked it
from the outside! Peter!” He beat at the door. “Open up!”
He heard Peter’s voice outside, against the door.
“Don’t let them switch off the nursery and the house,” he was saying.
Mr. and Mrs. George Hadley beat at the door. “Now, don’t be ridiculous, children.
It’s time to go. Mr. McClean’ll be here in a minute and...”
And then they heard the sounds.
The lions on three sides of them, in the yellow veldt grass, padding through the
dry straw, rumbling and roaring in their throats.
The lions. 
Mr. Hadley looked at his wife and they turned and looked back at the beasts
edging slowly forward crouching, tails stiff.
Mr. and Mrs. Hadley screamed.
And suddenly they realized why those other screams had sounded familiar.”"
This daunting short story is another great example of foreshadowing. The beginning of the text starts with the parents observing the lions in the futuristic nursery and saying how uneasy they made them. Then throughout the story Bradbury drops physical hints, like the father’s wallet found covered in drool and blood. This leaves the reader suspecting that something awful is going to happen which intensifies the pace leading up to the climax.

The last line here is quite meta - a moment of realisation for both the protagonist and the reader at the same time. We understand that the earlier noises they heard in their sleep were actually themselves being torn apart by lions - a wonderful time and mind bending moment.

So what have we learnt from these famous works?


  • Use foreshadowing to increase anticipation and reading speed towards the climactic moment
  • Throw the reader off the scent by using villains (and weapons) that are unusual, unexpected or down-right bizarre! You can even venture into comedy here
  • Portray a moral message if possible

And so concludes our incredible climax round-up!

We hope you have fun penning your own…

Happy writing!

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Post Date : 07/03/2020
Title : Mind-Bending Short Story Inspiration
Description :

Can short stories change the way you think?

3 short fiction tales that will turn your world upside down


A great short story can feel like a punch in the gut.

It manages to take you on the emotional journey of a novel in just a few pages and has intense and lasting impact.

The brevity of short stories mean that they often convey ideas that go beyond the page and leave you thinking for days. Heck!, sometimes a short story can be so powerful - it may even change your life!

Now that we are stuck inside or at least in a very small bubble, more people are turning to literature. People who are not normally ‘readers’ but fancy a bit of literary escapism. A novel seems like too much of a commitment, but a short story? Perfect! This is why we think there is likely to be another spike in short story readers & writers over quarantine.

Whether you’re a die hard short story fan or new to the literary world, welcome. Quench your thirst for impeccable short stories by reading our 3 top picks, then get inspired to pen your own with our 3 short story writing tips below…

HEY! - Why not enter it into Hi2020.co.uk - you never know… you might end up as a published author yourself!

3 of our favourite timeless short stories:

The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe (1846)
There is no short story round-up without Poe. While many praise “The Tell-Tale Heart,” we decided to opt for a slightly lesser known tale - a macabre short story about a man being buried alive - cheery right? Remind me never to insult my friend and follow them into a wine cellar…

This story is a confessional with a difference, it’s penned by a narrator admitting a crime, however the reader is encouraged to get into their psyche to understand the motive, causing a very troubling read indeed:

“How long have you had that cough?”

“Ugh! ugh! ugh!—ugh! ugh! ugh!—ugh! ugh! ugh!—ugh! ugh! ugh!—ugh! ugh! ugh!”


My poor friend found it impossible to reply for many minutes.


“It is nothing,” he said, at last.


“Come,” I said, with a decision, “we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it doesn't matter. We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Luchesi—”


“Enough,” he said; “the cough's a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough.”


“True—true,” I replied; “and, indeed, I had no intention of alarming you unnecessarily—but you should use all proper caution. A draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps.”


Here I knocked off the neck of a bottle which I drew from a long row of its fellows that lay upon the mould.


“Drink,” I said, presenting him the wine.


He raised it to his lips with a leer. He paused and nodded to me familiarly, while his bells jingled.


“I drink,” he said, “to the buried that repose around us.”


Poe is the king of foreboding. Breadcrumbs are laid throughout the short tale that lead the reader to expect the worst. We know something bad is about to happen, but why and what are to be deciphered as we read on.


Here’s a hot tip to get you penning your own short story...

Short story writing tip #1: Use “Foreshadowing”...a warning about what’s to come...

Take inspiration from Poe and use hints throughout the text to raise the reader's heart rate and cause an ever increasing feeling of dread. Signposting like this is important in short stories since it helps to set the emotional tone and increase anticip……...ation.


⭐ Go on - give us a taster of ‘Foreshadowing’ your short story! ⭐

Could you be sitting on a classic tale? Maybe you could be the next author in our roundup! Time to put those ideas down on paper and see what greatness you could achieve...

...you just might be the overall winner of the 
Hi2020.co.uk Short Story Competition!

Hurry !!! COUNT DOWN just 23 days to get your story entered
So what are you waiting for…. get writing!

20 lucky winners get published in a beautifully illustrated coffee-table book that will be available to purchase in renowned London bookstores. 

And that’s not all! We’ll also create a professionally read podcast of the winning stories! Winners will also receive extensive coverage across our social media channels with a combined following of over 2000 engaged readers and writers and radio air time - the perfect package to kick-start your writing career.

Log onto Hi2020.co.uk and enter your best story for a chance to win this incredible literary prize bundle!

Your story should be original and between 1000 and 1500 words, written in English 
from among the following given topics:
Adventure/travel
Thriller/Dark
Romance
Science/Fantasy

Here are the three location categories:
Three County Challenge (Bucks, Herts & London)
 UK Challenge (British Isles and Northern Ireland)
 11yrs - 18 yrs Challenge (UK- British isles and Northern Ireland)

So don’t wait - grab that inspiration and start writing!

We even have more to help you conquer the wheres and what fors...
 Help is at hand with this downloadable supportive guide:
‘How To Write Short Stories’ Bookazine 
...including writers’ aids to help you unravel the plot intricacies and character development.

<<< Purchase your entry form here >>>

⭐⭐HURRY!... ENTRIES DUE BY 20TH JULY⭐⭐

~
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892)
Revered as one of the best short stories ever written, “The Yellow Wallpaper” imprints in the reader’s mind and lingers there. The eerie short story archives a young woman’s decline into madness as she is confined to the bedroom of a vacation home. Her husband won’t believe her when she tells him she feels unwell and wants to leave - her cries for help in fact cause him to increasingly suppress her. In this confessional tale, the yellow wallpaper mimics her internal struggles as she becomes increasingly fixated with and troubled by it:

“There is one marked peculiarity about this paper, a thing nobody seems to notice but myself, and that is that it changes as the light changes.

When the sun shoots in through the east window—I always watch for that first long, straight ray—it changes so quickly that I never can quite believe it.

That is why I watch it always.

By moonlight—the moon shines in all night when there is a moon—I wouldn’t know it was the same paper.

At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candlelight, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be.

I didn’t realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind,—that dim sub-pattern,—but now I am quite sure it is a woman.

By daylight she is subdued, quiet. I fancy it is the pattern that keeps her so still. It is so puzzling. It keeps me quiet by the hour.

I lie down ever so much now. John says it is good for me, and to sleep all I can.

Indeed, he started the habit by making me lie down for an hour after each meal.

It is a very bad habit, I am convinced, for, you see, I don’t sleep.

And that cultivates deceit, for I don’t tell them I’m awake,—oh, no!

The fact is, I am getting a little afraid of John.”
The text swirls in and out of the twisted perceptions of the wallpaper and ‘real life’, merging the two worlds as they are merged in her mind - an incredibly clever literary device.

Short story writing tip #2: Use surrounding objects and settings to help depict the protagonist’s feelings. You don’t have to go as far as to confuse the two, although this is incredibly effective when discussing themes of psychosis, you might just use pathetic fallacy or colour to emphasise the emotions of the piece.

~

Symbols & Signs by Vladimir Nabokov (1948)
Another short tale about madness,“Symbols and Signs” is a subtle, mind-bending story about an old Russian couple who try to visit their son in a sanatorium. The son suffers from referential mania (a term invented by Nabokov) and tried to commit suicide so the couple aren’t able to see him. They receive a series of phone calls later that evening leaving the state of the son uncertain.

Describing the events of the story does not do it justice, so we will show you an excerpt instead:
““Referential mania,” the article had called it. In these very rare cases, the patient imagines that everything happening around him is a veiled reference to his personality and existence. He excludes real people from the conspiracy, because he considers himself to be so much more intelligent than other men. Phenomenal nature shadows him wherever he goes. 

Clouds in the staring sky transmit to each other, by means of slow signs, incredibly detailed information regarding him. His in- most thoughts are discussed at nightfall, in manual alphabet, by darkly gesticulating trees. Pebbles or stains or sun flecks form patterns representing, in some awful way, messages that he must intercept. Everything is a cipher and of everything he is the theme. All around him, there are spies. Some of them are detached observers, like glass surfaces and still pools; others, such as coats in store windows, are prejudiced witnesses, lynchers at heart; others, again (running water, storms), are hysterical to the point of insanity, have a distorted opinion of him, and grotesquely misinterpret his actions. He must be always on his guard and devote every minute and module of life to the decoding of the undulation of things. The very air he exhales is indexed and filed away. If only the interest he provokes were limited to his immediate surroundings, but, alas, it is not! With distance, the torrents of wild scandal increase in volume and volubility. The silhouettes of his blood corpuscles, magnified a million times, flit over vast plains; and still farther away, great mountains of unbearable solidity and height sum up, in terms of granite and groaning firs, the ultimate truth of his being.”
Nabokov leads the reader down a cryptic path of subtle signs and symbols about the lives of the characters that overlay the main crux of the story. This causes the reader to start to read into everything and try to decipher meaning in all things… sound familiar? Sounds to us like a bit of ‘referential mania’!

And this is precisely the point. Nabokov reflects the psychosis of the son in the reader’s experience. It’s like watching Inception, only better. How wonderfully meta?!

Short story writing tip #3: Consider the reader’s experience of the work when drafting your story, is there something you want to say in the form of the text, rather than just with your words? Using this literary device can make for some extremely interesting results when done right.

And so concludes our flying foray through short stories and short story authors. If you fancy yourself the next infamous author on the list, check out our Instagram channel @happylondonpress for some short story prompts over the next week to get you started!

Happy writing everyone x


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Post Date : 06/26/2020
Title : Writing Dystopian Fiction... Like there's no tomorrow!
Description :

Apocalypse Now!

Writing Dystopian Fiction Amidst a Pandemic


Last week we decided to lighten the mood and discuss comedy fiction, to escape the drama of real life for a while and find some comic relief. But then we got to thinking… what if the drama of the pandemic could actually fuel some incredible dystopian fiction stories?

For me, the word ‘dystopia’ is synonymous with Margeret Atwood’s ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ and the terrible world of Gilead. Anthony Burgess’ ‘Clockwork Orange’ also springs to mind, with sociopathic ‘droogs’ roaming the streets. And for younger audiences, the ‘Hunger Games’ trilogy is an excellent example of this genre, set in a world where the class divide is taken to its evil extreme.

So what inspiration can we gain from these infamous and harrowing tales? And how can we turn it into our own post-apocalyptic fiction?

Let’s have a look at an excerpt from Atwood’s ‘Handmaid’s Tale’:

“We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. The floor was of varnished wood, with stripes and circles painted on it, for the games that were formerly played there; the hoops for the basketball nets were still in place, though the nets were gone...Dances would have been held there; the music lingered, a palimpsest of unheard sound, style upon style, an undercurrent of drums, a forlorn wail, garlands made of tissue-paper flowers, cardboard devils, a revolving ball of mirrors, powdering the dancers with a snow of light...

We yearned for the future. How did we learn it, that talent for insatiability? It was in the air; and it was still in the air, an afterthought, as we tried to sleep, in the army cots that had been set up in rows, with spaces between so we could not talk. We had flannelette sheets, like children's, and army-issue blankets, old ones that still said U.S. We folded our clothes neatly and laid them on the stools at the ends of the beds. The lights were turned down but not out. Aunt Sara and Aunt Elizabeth patrolled; they had electric cattle prods slung on thongs from their leather belts.

No guns though, even they could not be trusted with guns. Guns were for the guards, specially picked from the Angels. The guards weren't allowed inside the building except when called, and we weren't allowed out, except for our walks, twice daily, two by two around the football field, which was enclosed now by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. The Angels stood outside it with their backs to us. They were objects of fear to us, but of something else as well. If only they would look. If only we could talk to them. Something could be exchanged, we thought, some deal made, some tradeoff, we still had our bodies. That was our fantasy.

We learned to whisper almost without sound. In the semidarkness we could stretch out our arms, when the Aunts weren't looking, and touch each other's hands across space.”

Atwood takes the reader on a journey here, from the familiar to the unfamiliar. She anchors the new world in a location that almost all readers will have experienced and warps it into a mysterious and foreboding scene. The nostalgia that the protagonist is feeling is palpable, harking back to a more carefree time and therefore adding to the sense that ‘Toto - we are not in Kansas anymore!’.

Despite expressing the desperate and claustrophobic existence of these entrapped women, she also gives us a glimmer of hope. Their guards are also human and might be able to be reasoned with.

We see a similarly familiar opening in Olivia A. Cole’s ‘Panther in the Hive’:

“In the silent, shiny world of pre-packaged snacks and frozen entrees, the fruit is rotting.

Not all of it: the apples survive, the pears still defiant. But the avocados are caving in on themselves, the peaches developing sinking brown craters, like eyes. Above, a solitary fly cruises the wasteland of abandon, enjoying the heat only rotting things can emit. The other side of Jewel-Osco is clean and silent: the deserted isles are vast stretches of empty fluorescence, Chef Boyardee and Jemima beaming out at no one…”

Is there anything more creepy than an empty supermarket?! Cole’s opening shows how the gloss of the modern world as we know it has faded - the convenient life of the protagonist is rapidly decaying. 

So lesson one from these incredible female authors is:

1. Take your reader on a journey from the familiar to the unfamiliar. In dystopian fiction, it pays to start by juxtaposing the new world with the old world. Show the reader how we ended up here so that the setting makes sense. 

⭐ Do you have a dystopian world brewing in your mind? ⭐

Could you be the next Margeret Atwood and write a bestselling dystopian story? Could you use the pandemic happening around us as inspiration for a post-apocalyptic tale?

...you just might be the overall winner of the 
Hi2020.co.uk Short Story Competition!

We’re printing 20 lucky winners in a beautifully illustrated coffee-table book that will be available to purchase in renowned London bookstores.

And that’s not all! We’ll also be creating a professionally read podcast of the winning stories! Winners will also receive extensive coverage across our social media channels with a combined following of over 2000 engaged readers and writers - the perfect package to kickstart your writing career.

Log onto Hi2020.co.uk and enter your best story for a chance to win this incredible literary prize bundle!

Your story should be original and between 1000 and 1500 words, written in English 
from among the following given topics:
Adventure/travel
Thriller/Dark
Romance
Science/Fantasy

Here are the three distinct categories:
Three County Challenge (Bucks, Herts & London)
 UK Challenge (British Isles and Northern Ireland)
 11yrs - 18 yrs Challenge (UK- British isles and Northern Ireland)

So don’t wait - grab that inspiration and start writing!

We even have more help at hand with a luscious
‘How To Write Short Stories’ Bookazine 

...including writers’ aids to help you unravel the plot intricacies and character development.

<<<Purchase your ENTRY FORM here >>>

⭐⭐HURRY!... ENTRIES DUE BY 20TH JULY⭐⭐

...now back into the apocalypse!


How does the dystopian genre translate from novel to short story?

What I love about dystopian short stories in particular is their focus. Since they don’t have many words to play with, they often zoom in on the individual. So they’re less about the big picture dystopia and more about the personal toll - which can make for an incredibly engaging character-driven story.

Much like ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, ‘Skinned’, winner of the Caine Prize last year, is a troubling tale of bodily autonomy and womanhood. Arima’s short story envisions a society in which young girls are ceremonially ‘uncovered’ and must marry in order to regain the right to be clothed. 

Here’s the opening of the tale:
“The unclothed woman had a neatly trimmed bush, waxed to resemble a setting sun. The
clothed women sneered as she laid out makeup and lotion samples, touting their benefits.

“Soft, smooth skin, as you can see,” she said, winking—trying, and failing, to make a joke of
her nakedness. Chidinma smiled in encouragement, nodding and examining everything Ejem pulled out of the box. Having invited Ejem to present her wares, she would be getting
a free product out of this even if none of her guests made a purchase.

Ejem finished her sales pitch with a line about how a woman’s skin is her most important
feature and she has to take care of it like a treasured accessory. The covered women tittered and smoothed their tastefully patterned wife-cloth over their limbs. They wore them simply, draped and belted into long, graceful dresses, allowing the fabric to speak for itself. They eyed Ejem’s nakedness with gleeful pity.

“I just couldn’t be uncovered at your age. That’s a thing for the younger set, don’t you think?”

“I have a friend who’s looking for a wife; maybe I can introduce you. He’s not picky.”

Ejem rolled her eyes, less out of annoyance than to keep tears at bay.”

The cruelty and embarrassment expressed here is deeply upsetting for the reader, especially if they know the feeling of being bullied themselves. The idea of a woman attempting to further her business and succeed in her job only to be knocked down by society based on her appearance is an all too familiar story.

This brings us onto the second & third lessons in our exploration of the dystopian fiction genre:

2. Portray the protagonist as a victim that the reader can relate to. Showing a scene in which your character is oppressed from the offset can get the reader to root for them - because, as we’ve said before, everyone loves an underdog! Add in an air of familiarity by having the oppression or victimisation happen in a setting we all know and we’re absolutely hooked!

3. Make the rules of the dystopian world plausible - Arima chooses an oppressive and sexist control technique that you could easily see now in a horrific totalitarian regime. It therefore doesn’t take a huge leap of the imagination to envisage.

...And herein lies the major purpose of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction. Since these future worlds are all feasible conclusions of our current reality, these authors are teaching us that if we don’t make any changes or preparations, we could suffer the same fate!

Now it's time for you to pen your dystopian story, what will your message be? 

Happy writing!

X


Want to hear more writing tips & tantalising short stories?

Tune into our podcast!

We publish a new episode every week so subscribe to our Player FM channel for the latest chatter from our indie author family...


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Post Date : 06/19/2020
Title : Writing Comedy: Epic Fails and Funny Foibles
Description :

How to write comedy

Bamboozled by cattywampus?Comedy words from laugh-a-minute literature


Living in lockdown isn't easy and life has got a little too serious these days - don’t you agree? It’s time for some light relief! Comedy fiction is the fun escape we all need - reading bizarre tales and silly scenarios help us to laugh off our worries for a while.

But what makes comic literature so gosh darn funny? And how can we use these tools to write our own comic tale?

The Importance of Being Earnest, for example, pokes fun at the manners and behaviours of the upper class - which let’s face it, is still hilarious to this day. Take Katherine Tate’s ‘Posh Mum’ series or Bob Mortimer’s ‘Train Guy’ that went viral just a few months ago for example!

… and there’s plenty more literary humour where that came from! Buckle up for a tour of some modern comic classics...

Before you put pen to paper to write a comic story, you should first decide what type of comedy you’re going for...

Dark comedy?
Chic-lit-style light humour?
Absurd?
Satire?
Slapstick?
Or maybe a combination?

Let’s first have a look at dark comedy. A great example of this is from Oyinkan Braithwaite’s incredible 2018 novel My Sister, the Serial Killer:

“Have you heard this one before? Two girls walk into a room. The room is in a flat. The flat is on the third floor. In the room is the dead body of an adult male. How did they get the body to the ground floor without being seen?

First, they gather supplies.

“How many bedsheets do we need?”

“How many does he have?” Ayoola ran out of the bathroom and returned armed with the information that there were five sheets in his laundry cupboard. I bit my lip. We needed a lot, but I was afraid his family might notice if the only bedsheet he had was the one laid on his bed...

“Bring three.”

Second, they clean up the blood…

Third, they turn him into a mummy…

Ayoola huffed and puffed as she pushed his body onto the sheets. She wiped the sweat off her brow and left a trace of blood there. She tucked one side of the sheet over him, hiding him from view. Then I helped her roll him and wrap him firmly within the sheets. We stood and looked at him.

“What now?” she asked.

Fourth, they move the body.

We could have used the stairs, but I imagined us carrying what was clearly a crudely swaddled body and meeting someone on our way. I made up a couple of excuses –

“We are playing a prank on my brother. He is a deep sleeper and we are moving his sleeping body elsewhere.”

“No, no, it’s not a real man, what do you take us for? It’s a mannequin.”

“No ma, it is just a sack of potatoes.””

By setting up the murder as a riddle, Braithwaite is already signalling to the reader that, yes, you are allowed to find the absurdity of the situation funny. Death is not usually a barrel of laughs, but when the murder subverts the normal power dynamic and is conducted by two seemingly innocent and naive girls, it feels okay to find it amusing.

The exasperation expressed by the older sister at having to clean up the mess of the younger sister also adds to the hilarity of the situation - it will be such a familiar feeling for any older sisters reader this (on an entirely different scale of course - usually I was just clearing up some scribbles on the wall or a spilled drink - not the blood of a boyfriend!).

On the whole ‘My Sister, the Serial Killer’ moves like a thriller – pacy and punchy – but at the same time it's laced with buckets of dark comic energy.

What we can learn from this:
Subverting power dynamics and playing up the perceived innocence of characters can be funny
Setting up a situation in a classic riddle structure adds comic value
Playing on typical relationships (like sibling or parent bonds) and taking them to their extreme can really draw the reader into your dark comedy

⭐ NEWS FLASH ⭐

Could your chosen words become the 

Chosen one?

Hi2020 Short story competition
Hurry 4 weeks left


Could you be the next Phoebe Waller Bridge and write a bestselling story like Fleabag? Could you be the next King of satire like Anthony Burgess? 

Time to find your funny and write a story that makes us chortle!

...you just might become the overall 
Winner of the Hi2020.co.uk Short Story Competition!


We’re printing 20 lucky winners in a beautifully illustrated coffee-table book that will be available to purchase in renowned London bookstores.

And that’s not all! We’ll also be creating a professionally read podcast of the winning stories! Winners will also receive extensive coverage across our social media channels with a combined following of over 2000 engaged readers and writers - the perfect package to kick-start your writing career.

Log onto Hi2020.co.uk
And enter your best story for a chance to win!

Your story should be original and between 1000 and 1500 words, written in English 
from among the following given topics:

Adventure/travel
Thriller/Dark
Romance
Science/Fantasy

Here are the three distinct categories:
Three County Challenge (Bucks, Herts & London)
 UK Challenge (British Isles and Northern Ireland)
11yrs - 18 yrs Challenge (UK- British isles and Northern Ireland)

So what are you waiting for? Write away!

Want a bit more inspiration before penning your story?
We have help at hand with a luscious
‘How To Write Short Stories’ Bookazine 

...including writers’ aids - especially to help you unravel the plot intricacies and character development.

<<<Purchase your Entry Form here >>>


www.happylondonpress.com/hi-2020-heres-how-to-enter


⭐⭐HURRY!... ENTRIES DUE BY 20TH JULY⭐⭐

Light Comedy: Why epic fails can be funny

And there's no better example we could draw from than the iconic ‘Bridget Jones's Diary’ by Helen Fielding...

“Sunday 1 January

129 lbs. (but post-Christmas), alcohol units 14 (but effectively covers 2 days as 4 hours of party was on New Year's Day), cigarettes 22, calories 5424.

Food consumed today:
2 pkts Emmenthal cheese slices
14 cold new potatoes
2 Bloody Marys (count as food as contain Worcester sauce and tomatoes)
1/3 Ciabatta loaf with Brie
coriander leaves--1/2 packet
12 Milk Tray (best to get rid of all Christmas confectionery in one go and make fresh start tomorrow)
13 cocktail sticks securing cheese and pineapple
Portion Una Alconbury's turkey curry, peas and bananas
Portion Una Alconbury's Raspberry Surprise made with Bourbon biscuits, tinned raspberries, eight gallons of whipped cream, decorated with glacé cherries and angelica.”


The familiarity of this opening is what makes this so hilarious. Every New Year we tell ourselves that we will be better, do better, look better, and every year on the 1st January we emerge bleary eyed from a great party, spend most of the day in our PJs and consume so many leftovers, we are almost as full as we were on Christmas Day. No matter our intentions, we always wake up as Bridget Jones.

Helen Fielding has managed to create a character that combines all of the most embarrassing, screwed-up parts of ourselves - holding up a mirror to our lives and actively encouraging us to laugh at ourselves. It is silly and endearing in equal measures - an excellent example of light comedy.

What we can learn from this:
Failure is funny - it's even funnier and more endearing when we see relatable real-life failures
Encouraging your reader to see themselves in your character and therefore laugh at themselves is what can turn a protagonist into a comedy icon
Make a character that is charmingly silly - readers need to fall in love with the character rather than just see them as a complete moron. There is a fine line that should be trod carefully.


Comedy stories can come from anywhere and be about anything - from committing murders to scoffing Milk Tray - but they usually have a touch of the absurd about them. Characters are very often loveable but extremely flawed - making them endearing to the reader. Timing and pace are also to be considered - both of these pieces keep a fast pace by using short punchy sentences and lists. We, as readers of comedy, are hungry for jokes and don’t want to be bogged down in reams of setting description before we get to the punchline - get to the point as quickly as possible.

Here’s a little writing exercise to encourage you to flex your funny bone…

Come up with a character with an obvious flaw or foible. So far, so easy. Now your job is to discover what makes this person tick. Once you’ve got under their skin, write a piece of interior monologue from their perspective. Bear in mind that they are not aware of the flaw or foible you are exploring…

Happy writing jokesters! X


New podcasts every week!
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Post Date : 06/12/2020
Title : Unconquerable riddle in mystery fiction
Description :

Mastery of Mystery Fiction:

Is there such a thing as an unconquerable riddle?

Welcome writers & readers to the second instalment of our mystery fiction blog: a deep dive into the mystifying waters of the genre’s history culminating in a quick quiz competition (or a riddle-off if you will!). So put on your thinking caps, find your best magnifying glass and join us in the quest for clever clues and writing cues...

Crime writing is a great place to test skills - both in coming up with the riddle as well as solving it.
To whet your appetites - get your brainiac caps on and try this real life example out for size.

"2 Girls went out to lunch together and ordered cool refreshing iced tea to chat over. The first girl was hot and thirsty and managed to drink 5 glasses in a row, while the second girl took her time to enjoy her beverage.

After a while the second girl gets up feeling rather dizzy - fumbles her way to the ladies - Unfortunately she collapses and dies - her drink was poisoned. The police tested and found both glasses contained traces of strychnine. - So how come the first girl who drank 5 glasses didn't die?
( Answer at the bottom of the page)

Edward Elgar wrote a message to a secret lover way back in 1897 - it was important that it couldn't be read by anyone except his love - because it would have causes an out right national scandal - the only problem - was neither his lover could understand.. Can you??


Let’s start with a spot of mystery history…

Take a guess: Who is the world's most translated author? One might assume that it's a literary titan, perhaps Shakespeare or Charles Dickens. But according to UNESCO's database of book translations, the honor goes to none other than Agatha Christie! In fact, the queen of mystery has had her books translated into a wapping 103 languages! Her 80-some works comprise a huge contribution to a genre with a long and mysterious history…


We’re not starting with Poe, as you might expect, but in 5th century BC, with Herodotus. His tale of the robber whose headless body was found in a sealed stone chamber with only one guarded exit was as mysterious as they come! Thought to be the first locked-room mystery tale, Herodotus conjures a narrative that makes the crime seem impossible until the riddle is solved at the end of the story.

Although this is a puzzle story and there were many more like it of the era, most people agree that the first modern detective story is indeed ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ by Edgar Allan Poe.


First published in 1841, the short story tells the tale of an amateur detective who sets out to solve the grisly murders of a mother and daughter within a locked room of their apartment on the Rue Morgue. Here is an excerpt from this tricksy tale:

“At such times I could not help remarking and admiring (although from his rich ideality I had been prepared to expect it) a peculiar analytic ability in Dupin. He seemed, too, to take an eager delight in its exercise—if not exactly in its display—and did not hesitate to confess the pleasure thus derived. He boasted to me, with a low chuckling laugh, that most men, in respect to himself, wore windows in their bosoms, and was wont to follow up such assertions by direct and very startling proofs of his intimate knowledge of my own. His manner at these moments was frigid and abstract; his eyes were vacant in expression; while his voice, usually a rich tenor, rose into a treble which would have sounded petulantly but for the deliberateness and entire distinctness of the enunciation. Observing him in these moods, I often dwelt meditatively upon the old philosophy of the Bi-Part Soul, and amused myself with the fancy of a double Dupin—the creative and the resolvent.”

This paragraph perfectly sets up the detective, detailing Dupin’s almost superhuman analytical abilities. The reader becomes equally as fascinated with the sleuth's intelligence and deductive powers as the first person narrator appears to be. And this was the birth of the fictional amateur detective…

⭐ NEWS FLASH ⭐
Have we inspired you yet??? Is this YOUR subject?? 
While it's hot in your head - why not make a few plot notes - spy a few characters and make a short detective story...

AND...that way you get two positives out of this blog not just one..  
Because you just might become the overall 
Winner of the Hi2020.co.uk Short Story Competition.

Unlike most competitions - we want to make a collection of short stories from 20 lucky winners - bound into a beautiful luscious coffee table style book.

Plus a professionally read podcast of the winning stories. Winners will also receive extensive coverage across our social media channels, which can boost their career as a writer.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? 
Well - hurry and log onto

You story needs to be original and between 1000 and 1500 words, written in English 
from among the following given topics:
Adventure/travel
Thriller/Dark
Romance
Science/Fantasy

District Categories - which means you have a better chance of getting selected:
Three County Challenge (Bucks, Herts & London)
 UK Challenge (British Isles and Northern Ireland)
 11yrs - 18 yrs Challenge (UK- British isles and Northern Ireland)

So  what are you waiting for…??? Get writing... 

We even have help at hand with a luscious
How To Write Short Stories Bookazine 

...including writers’ aids - especially to help you unravel the plot intricacies and character development.

<<<Purchase your Entry Form here >>>

⭐⭐HURRY!... ENTRIES DUE BY 20TH JULY⭐⭐


Now we have had our little break - back to…

The magic of Mystery Fiction 

Nearly twenty years after Poe’s story, Wilkie Collins published The Woman in White (1859), which is considered the first longer form mystery novel, and later The Moonstone (1868), generally considered the first detective novel.

The Woman in White is a gripping tale of murder, madness and mistaken identity that is so beloved it has never been out of print! The Moonstone then set the standards for the detective novel formula – an enormous diamond is stolen from a Hindu temple and resurfaces at a birthday party in an English manor. With numerous narrators and numerous suspects, the story weaves its way through superstitions, romance, humour and suspicion to eventually solve the tricky puzzle for the reader.

Pioneering Authors who changed the face of Mystery Fiction

Authors such as Pauline E. Hopkins, John Edward Bruce, Rudolph Fisher, Chester Hirnes, Ishmael Reed, and Clarence Major were the first African American writers to write detective novels with black detectives, members of the police force, and amateur sleuths. These authors established a tradition of detective writing that has laid the groundwork for many new mystery fiction writers today.

In 1932, Rudolph Fisher, a member of the Harlem Renaissance, published ‘The Conjure Man Dies’, which is considered to have been the first-ever black detective novel. In this mysterious story, Perry Dart works with a doctor named Archer to solve the case of the murdered conjure man, Frimbo. ‘The Conjure Man Dies’ combines elements of the classical locked room mystery with Harlem Renaissance themes.

One of our favourite parts of the text is the use of musical refrains - these give the reader very subtle clues as to what might unfold in the story through the lyrics that can be overheard on the city streets. The blues tells us:
“I’ll be glad when you’re dead, you rascal you
I’ll be glad when you’re dead and gone, you rascal you.
What is it that you’ve got
Makes my wife think you’re so hot?
Oh you dog – I’ll be glad when you’re gone.”

This song drifts in and out of the text a number of times and sounds a little hint to the reader that this complex tale might in fact play out as a story of sexual jealousy- such a clever clue!

Have you ever thought about using music in your mystery fiction? It can be the perfect device to lay a breadcrumb trail for a wise reader to follow!

Fancy yourself a detective like Perry Dart or Dupin?


Answer - The poison was frozen in the ice cubes - they didn't have time to melt with the first girl's drink.



Now it's your turn 
Do you have an unconquerable riddle?

Using just 10 words - make up a riddle - (can be about anything)

Now post your riddle in the comments below - and share the post as many times as possible.

The riddle with the most attempts to crack your code will win the first hot off the press signed- beautiful copy hardback and jacketed copy of I'am a Gigolo - posted to your front door. (UK & USA)

 (Ends Next Thursday - 11th June)

The winner and their riddle will be announced Thursday 11th June on our Instagram & Facebook: @happylondonpress 


Happy riddling sleuths!

X

New podcast:
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Post Date : 06/05/2020


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