Book review – for readers and writers – no.173: Morgen reviews Rocco and the Nightingale by Adrian Magson

Today’s book review, is brought to you by Adrian Magson who gave us ‘A Change of Setting’ yesterday and previously talked about planning.

I no longer take review requests but you can read the ones done to-date on book-reviews. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog. So, on to today’s book…

Rocco and the Nightingale

Synopsis: When a minor Paris criminal is found stabbed in the neck on a country lane in Picardie it looks like another case for Inspector Lucas Rocco. But instead he is called off to watch over a Gabonese government minister, hiding out in France following a coup.

Meanwhile, Rocco discovers that there is a contract on his head taken out by an Algerian gang leader with a personal grudge against him.

The novel is available from https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rocco-Nightingale-Inspector-Lucas/dp/0995751013 (change the .co.uk to your country).

Author biography: Adrian is a freelance writer and reviewer, the author of twenty-two crime and spy thrillers, a writer’s help book (at the back of which I get a credit!), a young adult ghost novel and two collections of short fiction.

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Review

As many crime novels do, the story alternates between the criminals and police, and poor Rocco has the added complication of babysitting a reluctant African dignitary – accompanied by his bodyguard – with scant support from Rocco’s superiors. Over the course of the novel, we meet a variety of Rocco’s colleagues and a fine array of the underworld’s finest.

As a former dog owner, I liked the comparison between one of the victims and a sheepdog “that didn’t understand what he’s supposed to do. Good at running but crap at following the whistle.” Funny.

Humour is often evident in crime novels, and it’s well known that the police (in real life) make jokes to keep themselves, and their colleagues, sane. Another particularly amusing line was (and I assure you that it doesn’t refer to a child but a man from the Interior Ministry): ‘Rocco wondered if drop-kicking the little tyke down the stairs could be done without losing his job, and decided not. Maybe he could put sugar in his petrol tank… or something stronger.’ (Don’t try that at home!)

There was plenty of conflict – good vs. evil as well as antagonising characters – and well paced.

This is the fifth novel in the Rocco series. I’ve not yet read the previous stories so came to this one as a standalone reader and didn’t feel that I had (a) missed vital information that had already been covered in the previous novels that we should have had here; nor (b) information where it feels it’s been over-explained.

Rocco himself is highly professional and dedicated, wanting to solve the cases he’s involved in (and one’s he’s relieved of). He’s wily, and cleverly outplays a younger colleague without her knowing to suit his end without the reader losing any respect for him because we know it’s in the best interest of the case.

And now for writers…

  • The best piece of writing advice is to ‘show’ not ‘tell’. An example in this novel is ‘The old man looked shocked’ which is fine but it’s always best to have the character doing or saying something, e.g. ‘The old man’s mouth dropped open, his eyes wide’… or something better! 🙂
  • Exposition is a lesser-known term. It’s where two characters are talking about a topic they both are familiar with and know a piece of information but one has forgotten it and asks the other to remind them. It is a technique some authors use to provide information for the reader’s benefit. This may not have been Adrian’s intention but it’s a useful occurrence as I get to tell you about it. So, in this case we have…
    Character 1: ‘Maybe the information was rubbish.’
    Character 2: ‘What was it again?’
  • There were few clichés, which are fine in dialogue (up to a point – one character only) but less so in narration and an example is ‘nip it in the bud’.
  • At times, the story strayed into present tense, e.g. now, here, this, today etc. When writing in past tense, the narration should stay in past tense so the equivalents would be: then (although most ‘now’s can actually be removed), that, the previous day / a day earlier / the day before etc. Dialogue will be present tense regardless.
  • There were also points where it wasn’t clear who the he / she / him / her was where there were two characters of the same gender in the same scene or conversation. An example would be: ‘Rocco wasn’t so sure. It was the end of a long road, and time would tell if the charges stuck and Farek went down. He had no illusions about what a clever lawyer could do…’. The ‘He’ means Rocco but the last male name mentioned was Farek so the reader could think it was Farek who had no illusions.

Conclusion

It was an intricate plot, cleverly weaved, but I didn’t feel lost or confused, the expertise of the author of so many (twenty-two) novels. It was interesting to see how the threads would converge at the end.

Although crime is my favourite genre, I’m not normally a reader of historical fiction. With the occasional reference, e.g. telex rather than fax or email, and characters being threatened with the guillotine, it felt like a contemporary story and for me, an enjoyable read.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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If you would like to send me a book review, see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.

Related articles:

 

Guest post: A Change of Setting by Adrian Magson

Today’s guest blog post, on the topic of locations, welcomes back Adrian Magson, this time as part of his blog tour celebrating the release of his latest novel Rocco and the Nightingale. My review of Adrian’s novel will appear here (on my blog) tomorrow and you can read Adrian’s previous post on planning here.

A Change of Setting

After writing a series of five contemporary crime novels set in London, and the first of a spy thriller series, I thought the idea for the Inspector Lucas Rocco crime series, based in Picardie, France, in the 1960s, had come out of left field. But it was probably in there all the time – it simply had to find a way out.

Most of my writing begins as a punt, often based on little more than a nugget; it might work, it might not. Planning a crime series in rural northern France was certainly a punt, although the setting wasn’t. I went to school there, aged ten, in a tiny village that is the basis for Rocco’s home base of Poissons-les-Marais (I changed the real name because it doesn’t sound very French to English ears), so I know the area. I couldn’t speak French and nobody locally spoke English, which was a bit of a challenge, albeit useful for performing a quick learning curve!

I had a good reason for taking an experienced investigator out of Paris and dumping him in a rural setting, because I didn’t want to find myself simply exchanging London city streets for Paris. In any case, France was expanding its policing initiatives at the time, so the idea fitted quite well.

Part of my thinking for Rocco was being aware of the rising popularity in the UK of European-based crime fiction, rather than UK or US-based, and I wanted to tap into that market if I could.

Placing it in the sixties was a challenge technologically (how many times did I want Lucas reaching for his mobile or tapping into the internet!), but it made the research and fact-checking fascinating because France, like the UK, was going through very interesting changes at the time, and I wanted to use a backdrop of historic events of the time on which to hang the story.

In the case of the first in the series – Death on the Marais – that backdrop lay in echoes of France’s Indochina war, in which Rocco and his boss, Commissaire Massin had both served, and which brings to the books an atmosphere of tension between the two men, and similarly the connections between a WW2 resistance fighter and a now highly-placed industrial figure with secrets to hide. In Rocco and the Nightingale, the fifth and latest book, it was the re-emergence of a gangster figure from Algeria’s independence and the rise of a criminal empire based in Paris that formed the backbone, as well as being a revisit of an earlier Rocco title.

Although the area and people are based on personal knowledge, Rocco came fully formed. He’s tall, dark and wears a long coat out of habit, likes English brogues and drives a Citroen Traction Ariane. All this makes him stand out among the locals, where horses are still used for farming and he doesn’t (yet) have running water, but a garden pump that needs priming in cold weather. Part of his struggle from book one is coming to grips with being out ‘among the cowpats’, as a former colleague puts it, and his interaction with the local villagers and villains.

But that was also part of the pleasure in the writing. If it isn’t fun, it’s not worth doing.

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I love it when settings are so vivid and absolutely, writing should be fun. If it isn’t, the reader will know.

Thank you, Adrian.

Adrian is a freelance writer and reviewer, the author of twenty-two crime and spy thrillers, a writer’s help book (at the back of which I get a credit!), a young adult ghost novel and two collections of short fiction.

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Related articles:

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. Guidelines on guest-blogs. There are other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.

Morgen’s Editing and Critique Service

red pen 760505 small

Although currently booked out until end-September 2014, I welcome fiction manuscripts for…

Full editing (content, copy editing & line editing): In-depth ‘firm but fair’ editing with feedback which will include grammar, punctuation, story structure, character depth / dialogue, highlighting potential copyright issues, fact checking, chapter structure / order, narrative drive… the whole shebang. This comes in the form of an edited manuscript together with separate commented document. Suitable for all writers, regardless of experience.

Charged at the competitive rate of £5 (€6.5 / US$8.5 / CA$ & AS$9.5) per 1,000 words. To work out the cost, multiply your word count by 0.005 / 0.0065 / 0.0085 / 0.0095 respectively (so a 100,000-word novel would be £500 / €650 / US$850 / CA$950 / AUS$950 respectively).

This is the type of editing I do mostly and you can read my clients’ feedback here.

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Line editing: spelling, grammar, punctuation, word usage (e.g. stationery vs stationary, story vs storey), repetition, clichés, sentence construction, consistencies. Here the concentration is on sentences and paragraphs instead of pages and chapters. Suitable for more advanced writers.

Charged at £4 (€5 / US$6.5 / CA$ & AS$7.5) per 1,000 words. Multiply your word count by 0.004 / 0.005 / 0.0065 / 0.0075.

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Proofreading: a human spell- and grammar-checker, concentrating on individual words rather than the context. This is the option to take if you are confident of your characters, plot, structure and layout etc. but you want someone to go through it before you submit to an agent or publisher, or self-publish.

My non-fiction writing is about writing so I concentrate on fiction but have proofread non-fiction manuscripts, some poetry and provided feedback on a number of scripts.

Charged at £3 (€4 / US$5 / CA & AS$5.50) per 1,000 words. Multiply your word count by 0.003 / 0.004 / 0.005 / 0.0055.

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The above three options are carried out via Word Track Changes (click here for a video on what this means) and for more information on the different types of editing, click here. Another option is…

General feedback: no proofreading / editing, no changes to the document itself, just a typed summary report. This is useful if you’re not sure whether the story is working, your characters (or plot) are believable or you’ve not edited it yet but have sent it to beta (first-round) readers and the feedback you’ve received makes you wonder whether you want to progress it. I’ll be honest and tell you, although for most authors who have taken this option, I have seen promise with their work, they’ve just needed a steer in the right direction.

Charged at £2 (€2.50 / US$3.50 / CA & AS$4) per 1,000 words. Multiply your word count by 0.002 / 0.0025 / 0.0035 / 0.004.

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Regardless of the option taken, the first 1,000 words are free  (usually returned within 48 hours), given as the ‘full’ editing service for your free sample, unless you advise otherwise. This is sent to you first and there is no obligation thereafter.

Prices valid until January 2015. Fees agreed in advance of any work undertaken, and more importantly, stuck to (payment options below).

Please note: For projects over 10,000 words, e.g. longer short stories / novels, I am currently booked until late-September 2014 (I’m also the creative writing tutor for Northamptonshire County Council Adult Learning). NB. Items, unless for free sample, to be sent complete, not in sections.

There are two formats:

  • I use Word’s track changes (see picture immediately below as generic example) as it keeps the file size small and the feedback in one place.
  • For authors without Word, and therefore the facility to use track changes, I can usually convert whatever I am sent (Open Office, rtf etc) into Word then do the track changes and save it as a PDF so you can see the changes I suggest.
track changes example

example of track changes (not by Morgen)

** First c.1,000 words offered free as a sample.**

For more details including testimonials from my clients, take a look at this blog’s Editing and Critique page.

Whatever your requirement, you can email me at morgen@morgenbailey.com.

Author Spotlight no.134 – Terra Hangen

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and thirty-fourth, is of non-fiction author and interviewee Terra Hangen.

Terra Hangen lives with her husband in California and enjoys gardening and writing while her cat helps by taking a nap. She is co-author of two books “Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts: Stories to Celebrate and Wisdom to Bless Moms” 2012 and “Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts” 2008.

Her articles are published in magazines including Victorian Homes, Lutheran Digest, Family Digest, Dog Fancy, Hobby Farms, Back Home, Elks Magazine, Mature Living, etc. She often writes about gardening, growing vegetables, favorite recipes and wrote about how Karelian Bear Dogs save Grizzly Bears for Dog Fancy Magazine.
Terra invites you to visit her blog and say hi at http://terragarden.blogspot.com and connect with her on Facebook.

And now from the author herself:

I find it very exciting to hold in my hands the first copy I receive of the books I write. Each of my books has exquisite full color art work on each page and is hardcover so the excitement to actually see the book is palpable. Of course my words were already familiar to me, but the art really enhances the text.

If you have the opportunity to co-author a book, do consider doing that. My two collaborations thus far have yielded two books, and my co-authors have become dear friends of mine. We cheer each other on in solo projects too. Also, we have complementary skills in writing and in marketing so I don’t have to do all these tasks on my lonesome.

My first article “Coffee for the Birds” combined my love of nature and selecting coffee beans to help in conservation, and I was paid $100. That made me think wow, this writing life is easy and fun. Ha ha! Little did I know how much patience and perseverance are required in the business side of writing, as we wait and wait some more to hear from editors, agents and publishers.

There is bound to be a lot of rejections in your email inbox. Even J. K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected by 12 publishers. My advice is that when an article or book proposal is rejected, see if it needs improving and then send it out again. Just tell yourself it has not arrived on the right desk yet.

I recommend being published by traditional publishers. It is wonderful to be paid an advance and to have the publisher provide the artwork, cover art, much publicity and get the books in online and brick and mortar book stores. I do as much as I can to promote my books to augment the publisher’s efforts, and much of my PR centers on social media, where I enjoy blogging, Facebook and Twitter.

I feel the joy of being published, I treasure friendly comments on my blog, and I even get paid to write. Sometimes writing is so much fun, I get up and do the “happy dance” around the house as I celebrate good writing news.

My most recent book is being bought by “seasoned” moms to give to new moms, often at baby showers. A recent review of “Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts” on Amazon says “Packed with great tips, sweet humor, lots of wisdom, and a punch of faith, this book makes a wonderful gift for every mom, no matter what stage of motherhood she may be in.” The book is selling on Amazon for $11.00, which I think is a bargain considering all the art work in it.

Another reviewer wrote “A Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts is a must have for mothers-to-be, those who are in the thick of it, and us grandmas. Not only is this well written book filled with practical advice, wisdom, and honest confessions but the cover and the unique interior design are a piece of art–each page is visually stimulating.”

Writing is an occupation that can be lonely, since much of our work is done alone, and that is why I treasure my co-authors and all the other writers and readers I meet out here in social media. Thank you Morgen for turning your author spotlight to shine on me here.

You’re very welcome. I’ve bought a lower watt bulb since our interview. 🙂

You can find more about Terra and her writing via… her blog http://terragarden.blogspot.com. She also has recipes at http://scrapbookofchristmasfirsts.blogspot.com and her books are available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

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The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with historical author Barbara Peacock – the five hundred and forty-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books and I also have a blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

Guest post: Writing 101 by Paul Lell

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of writing basics, is brought to you by science-fiction / fantasy author Paul Lell.

Writing 101

The most common question I am asked at conventions is easily, “how do you do it?”

For the longest time my answer was, “I just sit down and do it…”

Then I got to thinking about it. I did some reading and some investigation on the process of writing. I did a little soul searching and ‘dug deep’ as they say; and do you know what I discovered? I just sit down and do it!

So as not to appear trite, let me explain myself a bit better here. If you want to be a writer / author / novelist / whatever (they’re all pretty much the same thing in my mind), you need to write. Just as if you wanted to be an artist, you need to produce art of some kind, or if you want to be a baseball player, you need to play baseball. It comes down to motivation and practice, really. While I do believe there is a certain level of ‘inborn’ talent that can really push a person over the top in their chosen endeavor, I also believe that just about anyone can become just about anything they want, as long as they knuckle under and put forth the effort it takes to learn, practice, accept feedback (read: criticism), go back to the drawing board and occasionally reinvent themselves… In short, they need to commit themselves to the process of evolving into what they want to be.

To get back to the question, “how do I do it?” The more complete answer is, “I write every single chance I get. I write good stuff. I write bad stuff. I write terrible stuff (lots, and lots of terrible stuff). Occasionally, I may even write some great stuff. But I write, all the time. Even when I have nothing specific that I feel I need to produce, or a story to tell (which doesn’t happen very often, by the way). I have piles and piles of junk writing lying about my hard drive, filled to overflowing with writing that will likely never see the light of day.

I also throw away any pretentious thoughts that everything I write is gold and should immediately be published so the world can bask in the glory that is my crazy mind. I have no illusions about being the next [insert amazing author’s name here]. I just hope that somewhere, someday, somebody might enjoy one of my stories. I keep trying to refine my craft. I share work with people and ask for brutally honest feedback. Then I don’t cry once I’ve received it.

It is a rare bird indeed that can turn a love (or in some cases, a compulsion) for writing into a comfortable living. Much like teaching, one should never enter into the world of writing novels with the expectation or love of money as motivation. Rather, do it for the love of the craft. The difference you might make in the lives of yourself and, hopefully, a few other people.

I’m still working on the living part, but loving it certainly. Thank you, Paul!

Paul Lell is a Science Fiction writer and publisher, best known for his series, ‘The Keys of Kalijor’ which can be found on all major eReaders and at all major online booksellers.

You can read more about Paul Lell, his books, and his crazy life, at www.Kalijor.com.

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If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with children’s author Jeyanthi Manokaran – the five hundred and thirty-seventh of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books and I also have a blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

Guest post: Intelligence – It’s How You Say It by Marion Grace Woolley

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of pronunciation in writing, is brought to you by multi-genre author Marion Grace Woolley.

Intelligence – It’s How You Say It

I recently released my first collection of short stories: Splintered Door.

I approached it as a bit of a showcase. A chance to attempt ideas and styles that I’d not had the gumption to try before.

One thing I wanted to have a go at was writing an American story. Could I push my imagination, and my skill, to cross-continental levels? Although I’d never been to America, there are a lot of US influences growing up in Britain. I’d read several American novels, watched countless movies; I can even manage a passable Goodfellas impression. How hard could it be?

I was happy with my first draft of The Butterfly’s Predator. It’s about a young man who lives with his mother and his mentally-challenged sister. One day, whilst he’s supposed to be watching her, his sister disappears into the forest and uncovers a dark family secret.

‘Not bad,’ I thought. ‘But I need a second opinion.’

I have a few American friends, though what I required was an American who could also write. One who would understand what I was aiming for: authenticity.

I decided to post for help in a writing forum. The appeal was short and to the point: “I’m looking for someone to help convert a story from UK English to US English.”

The responses were less than encouraging:

“One word… Why?!”

“I agree… why? If you really must (???) run a Microsoft spell check.”

I was flabbergasted. Nobody seemed to understand why, whereas I didn’t understand why not.

Then came this statement, which summed up their aversion to conversion:

“Why rewrite it at all? It sounds so much more intelligent in British.”

So much more intelligent?

That stopped me in my tippety-tapping tracks.

I’m not actually going to argue this assertion. I studied Language & Communication Research at post-graduate level. I know a thing or two about the social perception of accents.

For instance, there have been studies in the UK which have shown direct correlations between a person’s dialect and how intelligent they are perceived as being. Generally speaking, people with Brummie (Birmingham) accents fare worst, being considered of lower IQ in job interviews and causing unease in over 70% of passengers surveyed on the topic of aeroplane announcements.

RP (received pronunciation) or ‘Queen’s English’ on the other hand, suggests an educated person of above-average intelligence.

Those with a northern accent, especially from Yorkshire, don’t always score highest on intelligence, but do tend to instil a sense of trustworthiness.  It’s a favoured accent on insurance sales lines.

Across the pond, those with a Southern accent are classed as America’s Brummies, scoring the lowest accent-to-IQ ratio in perception tests.

Another entertaining twist is the ‘post-vocalic R’. This is where an R comes after a vowel. In the UK, if you drop it, you also drop a lot of negative assumptions.

An Etonian may recite Blake’s poem: “Tiga, tiga, burning bright…”

Whereas someone from the West Country, with a long tradition of simple farming folk, might utter the verse: “Tigur, tigur, burnin’ brigh’…”

Conversely, in parts of the states, intelligence is placed vice versa, with an increased respect for individuals who include the post-VR. Similarly, in Singapore English, 76% of people in a study felt that those who use it are more intelligent than those who do not.

Essentially, there’s a whole world of assumption placed on pronunciation.

It’s far from a recent breakthrough. If you’ve read Lady Chatterley’s Lover, you’ll notice that Mellors affects a thick colloquial accent to disguise the fact that he was once a high-ranking officer in the army. Mellors (and through him, D. H. Lawrence) knew all too clearly the social perception of inflection.

That this carries over into writing isn’t new, either. I just hadn’t heard it put quite so bluntly before: that ‘realize’, ‘honor’ or ‘program’ are just down-right ‘unintelligent’.

What bothers me more, though, is the implication behind all of this. That the purpose of writing is to show how intelligent you, as a writer, are.

To me, that seems almost the antithesis of good storytelling. Character comes first and foremost. If every character talks like you do, and aspires to demonstrate your highest level of intelligence – aspires to be intelligent – what a boring play we perform.

The nature of intelligence itself has long been debated. There are several forms of IQ test, measuring a range of elements from academic ability to social intelligence.

As a writer, there’s a huge range of opportunity in counter-intelligence: characters who get to where they’re going through much-maligned ‘luck’ rather than by design. Or those, like Mellors, who speak with all the airs and graces of a pit pony, yet go on to astonish us with their cunning rationale.

At its core, the language your character chooses to use is a mask. No less important than the clothes they wear, the items they feel connected to, and the thoughts they express. Their idiolect is theirs and theirs alone. By giving them one – an accent, a speech pattern, a favoured hedger, even a lisp – you create depth. Not only depth, but the ability to be something other than what they appear at face value.

Language embodies the beautiful art of distraction, whether spoken or written. As a writer, cherish this. Use it to your advantage.

Don’t be afraid to create a character that seems a little under par. They can only turn out to surprise us, whereas a know-it-all is always a know-it-all.

Absolutely, characters with flaws are more realistic… perfection can easily become tiresome. Thank you, Marion!

Marion Grace Woolley is the author of four novels and a collection of short stories. In 2009, she was shortlisted for the Luke Bitmead Bursary for New Writers.

Balancing her creative impulses with a career in International Development, she has worked and travelled across Africa, Australia, Armenia, and a few other places beginning with ‘A’.

An associate member of the Society of Authors, Marion is currently at work on her fifth novel.

You can find out more about Marion and her writing from her website and see her book trailer on YouTube.

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If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with short story author Christopher Farley – the five hundred and twenty-third of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore, Kobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

Ditch the Publisher free eBook

Firstly, apologies to any publishers reading this (I know some do visit my blog, and appear on it!), the title wasn’t my mine but I do think the eBook is great, but then I could be biased… I’m one of the 40 contributing authors (I’m no.7) – see the list below.

To access your free copy click here (also available at Smashwords and Amazon). To read more about it visit Hayley’s website.

Contents 

  • Introduction
  • One: Success as a Self-Publisher by Beth Orsoff
  • Two: The Secret Myth of Traditional Publishing by Dean Wesley Smith
  • Three: You’ve got Nothing to Lose by David Jay Ramsden
  • Four: Freedom by Steve Carter and Antoinette Ryder
  • Five: The Future was Never Brighter for the Indie Author by Timothy Lee
  • Six: Robbed! by R.J. Hamilton
  • Seven: The Ebook Revolution by Morgen Bailey
  • Eight: My thoughts on Self-Publishing by Aliyah Burke
  • Nine: Writing the Book by Brendan Gerad O’Brien
  • Ten: Creating Characters by C.S. Marks
  • Eleven: Authenticity in Fiction by G.M. Frazier
  • Twelve: Redrafting and the Magic Cupboard by Hayley Sherman
  • Thirteen: In Praise of Editors by C.S. Marks
  • Fourteen: The Writing Bug by JD Nixon
  • Fifteen: Nine Golden Rules (Part One) by Mel Keegan
  • Sixteen: Beginning with Nothing by Kirsty Fox
  • Seventeen: It Takes a Village to Bring a Novel to Life by Gerard O’Keeffe
  • Eighteen: Getting Ready to Publish by Maggie Barclay
  • Nineteen: The DIY Approach by Michael Wilson
  • Twenty: Five Places to Self-Publish Your Ebook by L.J. Sellers
  • Twenty-One: A Few Ideas to get You Started by Joseph Lallo
  • Twenty-Two: The Formatting Nightmare by Captain Peter Cain
  • Twenty-Three: Investing in Your Own Ebook by L.J. Sellers
  • Twenty-Four: What Does it Take to Become a Full-Time Indie Author? by Lindsay Buroker
  • Twenty-Five: Becoming a Bestseller by Terri Reid
  • Twenty-Six: Just Do It! by Lexi Revellian
  • Twenty-Seven: Publishing Full-Colour Books with Lulu by Alex Ritsema
  • Twenty-Eight: An Unknown Author’s Publishing Experience by Arnold R. Beckhardt
  • Twenty-Nine: In Hot Pursuit of Happiness by Ciggie Cramond
  • Thirty: My Rocky Road to Publication by Sybil Nelson
  • Thirty-One: From Imagination to Publication by Pete Darman
  • Thirty-Two: Success and the Death Threat by T.M. Nielson
  • Thirty-Three: Four Questions About Ebook Publishing by Iza Moreau
  • Thirty-Four: You Never Know… by C.S. Marks
  • Thirty-Five: Self-Publishing by Curtis Ackie
  • Thirty-Six: Why Can’t I? by Diana Mylek
  • Thirty-Seven: You Reap What You Sow by German Alcala
  • Thirty-Eight: I Left My Publisher, Gave Up on Bookstores and Started Making Money by L.J. Sellers
  • Thirty-Nine: Self-publishing: A Personal Journey by Fionna Barr
  • Forty: Nine Golden Rules (Part Two) by Mel Keegan
  • Forty-One: The Dark Side of Free by Russell Blake
  • Forty-Two: Indie Translators: Money is Waiting by Scott Nicholson
  • Forty-Three: Getting Print Copies into Libraries by Ilyan Kei Lavanway
  • Forty-Four: After you publish: How to Market Your Books by Michael J. Sullivan
  • Useful Resources

And all for the price of a cup of air. 🙂