Who’s saying what?

I’ve mentioned before that I quite like the redrafting/editting process. Taking a rather scrappy first draft and forging it into something worth reading is really satisfying, probably more so than finishing that very first draft. What I didn’t quite expect, though, is that in rebuilding some of the rubbish, simple changes cascade through and make quite quite profound changes.

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The ending before?

It’s happened again: I’ve had to write the ending – the last scene or chapter – before I get there. Whilst I loosely plan out what’s needed, often rough out chapters and sections and use the Mythic Structure as an overall meta-structure, I occasionally write scenes out of sync with the rest of the flow. That’s fine – for me, it works. But I’m regularly writing the last scene way before I get there.

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‘The Honey Killer’ now in paperback

Whilst the two books are not yet linked on Amazon, The Honey Killer is now also available in paperback.

It portrays the growth of an ‘moral’ assassin from a young lad in 1939 to a grown man in flashbacks from his life in 1984 – when his life and career appears to be coming to an end. The scorn of his father, throughout his younger years, he seems to have no options but to kill to protect himself, his brother or his ailing mother as, one by one, his guardian ‘Angels’ ar etaken from him. Amongst his many tools of the trade is honey – known to the Greeks – and a copy of a herbal he is given to read as a boy.

As he chases, then is chased, around Europe the assassin finally returns to the place in which much of the book is set: rural England, the central south, particularly the beautiful garden he built for his mother (and himself) in Collingbourne Regis and the care home he bought for his mother in Snoddington Beeches. When all seems lost, he comes to a reconciliation with the person who hates him the most, and rediscovers an Angel who has been there all the time…

The book arose from a Fiction module I took on my MA, though is heavily altered from what was submitted/ First readers and proof readers loved it, stating they had to ‘go back and start all over again to actually proof it as I got caught up in the story’. Wonderful feedback!

Hope you enjoy.

The fruition of an MA project

I’m delighted that ‘The Honey Killer’ is finally available on Kindle:

The_Honey_Killer_Cover_for_Kindle

This was a book started as an MA project, a deliberate exploration into a different genre for me (hence the pseudonym) but one which I found quite useful. It traces the history of an assassin – an ethical assassin, but a killer, nonetheless – from his appalling childhood involving isolation, bullying and manipulation through to being a loner who knows how to do one thing only: kill in strange and unusual ways.

It is also a book about a platonic love, about worship of individuals who show kindness, and about reconciliation. The settings – London, Paris, Amsterdam adn the fictional village of Snoddington Beeches – are all based on my own experiences working here and in Europe. The history, from Operation Pied Piper (1939) onwards is as accurate as a work of creative fiction can be.

What’s interesting from a process perspective are the changes that were made after it was assessed for one of the MA modules. I’ve blogged about the realisation before and that the book was missing a character, but having added much more to the character (I’ll leave you to guess which one it was) the book took on a much more rounded form. It enabled an ending that reflected and completed much of the interaction throughout the historical components of the book (even the narrator’s ‘present’ is 1984).

Whatever teh experience and learning, for me, it’s wondeful to see something from the MA in print. 🙂

Basic tips for a short story competition

I run Shipton Shorts, a local short story competition. It’s meant to encourage writing talent and expression in an area 10 miles around our village.* Because it’s meant for non-professionals and those exploring their talent, I put together a few hints & tips, a template and some guidelines in the rules that help presentation. However, after reading through a number of short stories recently I thought a more consolidated ‘how to’ handout might be appreciated.

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Inspiring and Relaxing …

… the perfect break. I’ve just come back from a short break downwhere we walk and read. That’s walk lots with a little reading whilst we break, or walk a little then read for an hour or more surrounded by beautiful or inspirational scenery. This time, for me, it was as much inspiring as breathtaking.

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