Novels, the ultimate dream for most writers. Shangri La of the written word. To be able to write a book, get it published, get paid loads of money, buy a new house and car, go on a cruise, enjoy the fame, appear on television, radio etc., have a film made of your life and not work for the next ten years.

Then …

THEN … you wake up!

Dream on dear writer. This is reality. 

Hello! Welcome to the real world.

Do I know how many people write novels and how many of them believe that dream? I don’t know but I can guess the figure is nearer 100% than 1%. Do I know how many manuscripts each agent and publisher receive weekly? Again, I don’t know. Perhaps some visitor to this site has already done the research and is willing to enlighten all of us. What I am trying to say is that many novice writers seriously believe that because you have spent years writing this blockbuster that the response should follow some Hollywood ideology; that you have written the best story since 50 Shades of Harry Potter overshadowed the Bible and are now hailed as the new literary Messiah. 

Ho hum!

Do I think for one second I have written something original, brain catching, memorable and a guaranteed money-spinner? Nope. According to the Internet Public Library, there are seven original plots. They are:

  • [wo]man vs. nature
  • [wo]man vs. man
  • [wo]man vs. the environment
  • [wo]man vs. machines/technology
  • [wo]man vs. the supernatural
  • [wo]man vs. self
  • [wo]man vs. god/religion

What we see on television, read in novels and watch in film theatres is a remake of this, another version of that and another variation of a novel in the continuing series of ….

Now I would like to say at this point – I am not put off for one billionth of a split second, ad infinitum etc., from the wonderful world of creative writing, and yes I do approach it realistically. Yes, I, like other writers are able to spin a yarn with a new twist that someone has not thought of, something like Godzilla marrying the Predator, have babies, start a new alien species and live happily ever after. It could also be a new television series or a film … for a while. Then we need another yarn. Now we know why the World has so many writers.

Ok, back to novels. What sells like hot cakes in the novel market? Crime is the big thing currently – saves you researching – and it has been the big thing since always. Werewolves, vampires are already a bit ‘past it’.

But what I realized is this, do you know, no matter how good you are as a crime fiction or whatever writer; if your characters have not got soul, if they do not resonate with your readers, then forget how original? your plot is. The ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ series are a case in point. What I remember about them, along with a few million others, is not the plots, which are entertaining, no, it’s Johnny Depp’s character ‘Captain Jack’ – he is unique and fun to watch. Thanks Keith Richards,
you are a true original.

In the mid-70s, I began my push into short story, then novel writing. My first attempt was SF, then a fictional biography, and then a couple of thrillers. Then I found my Golden Fleece and since then I have plotted and finished many others in my chosen and loved genre, Noir. 

I have included a first chapter of each of a selection, but none of my current, ongoing and future work. As I said, um … they are pieces I am currently working on.

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.’ - W. Somerset Maugham