Tag Archives: characterisation

Another critical reader

[Originally published, as part of a longer post, 31 January 2013]

I spent a couple of days incorporating Andy’s corrections to King’s Ransom, which in turn involved rewriting some sections of the book. I then sent it off to brother-in-law Peter, and got an email back saying he was “engaging with it already”. This was great news, and I waited patiently for his comments, which I knew would be different in type from Andy’s but equally valuable for exactly that reason.

I wasn’t wrong. Peter’s corrections arrived today, along with a whole list of suggestions and propositions. In general he likes the novel, but several of his comments will, like Andy’s, involve rewrites – and these are likely to take more than a couple of days. Still, I think it will be worthwhile in the end.

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Notes from a distant past

King's Ransom Plot Notes

[Originally published 30 November 2012]

I decided to have a go at writing the novel that ended up as King’s Ransom when I was on holiday about 20 years ago – in fact, staying not far from where I now live. I’d bought a few paperbacks with me, one of which was one of the worst pieces of fiction I have ever read – worse, even, than The Da Vinci Code, which is saying something. Everything about it was dreadful: plot, characterisation, story development, sentence construction – everything. And, being a professional writer, I thought I should be able to do better than that. That was the genesis of King’s Ransom.

I mentioned a few months ago that I have a single copy of the original draft of the novel, one of a number that I printed to give to friends and relations to read. The draft, marked in my friend Barry Franklin’s neat red hand, was in a box file with a lot of other papers, which I was looking through this morning. Among the papers is a notebook in which I jotted down the original plot outline. It’s quite an interesting document, to me at least. One odd thing, which I had forgotten, is that the hero’s original name was Steve Fuller rather than James King. Some of the other character names remain the same, as does the name of an invented country in what was – at the time – newly independent Soviet East Asia.

I’m getting on OK with the revision, in between writing blogs about social media on the one hand and electronic components on the other. At times, being a writer is lots of fun.

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