Embracing new topics

This week I began researching a new non-fiction article. Nothing new there you might think, except that it does not involve the nineteenth century and has no connection whatsoever to Jack the Ripper. In the last decade I have only published one article and one book that were not connected, in some way, to the […]

James Kelly revisited

This week I had the opportunity to write a short piece on James Kelly for a feature looking at the main Jack the Ripper suspects. Kelly, who stabbed and killed his wife, escaped from Broadmoor in 1888, the year of the ripper murders, and remained at liberty until 1927 when he appeared at the gates […]

The Demise of Footnotes

Non-fiction publishers and editors are increasingly moving away from footnotes. As a casual reader I understand this. Notes can interrupt the flow of the work and are often ignored. As a researcher and writer, I am unsettled. My academic training was always to note your sources, and this is still encouraged in education, helping in […]

Six Emotional Arcs?

An academic study in 2016 used computers to assess 1737 fictional works and concluded that they all fell into one of six emotional arcs. These were: Rags to riches (rise) Tragedy or riches to rags (fall). Man in a hole (fall-rise) Icarus, (rise-fall) Cinderella (rise-fall-rise) Oedipus, (fall-rise-fall) Of these Cinderella, Oedipus and the Man in […]

Real Stories Please

We are now in an era, for both books and television, where the activities of real people have the popularity of fiction. Audiences want their entertainment to be authentic and that means increasingly disregarding invented tales for something they consider genuine, even if it is bizarre and unlikely to be approved by a conventional editor. […]

Non-Fiction more mysterious than Fiction?

This week I went home for the first time in a while and picked up my contributor’s copy of The Best New True Crime Stories: Small Towns. As a reader I am one of a growing number who now prefer non-fiction to fiction. As a writer I enjoy both but cannot envisage a successful collection […]

Inspired by the Classics

  This week I was pleased to be included in the Murder and Machinery anthology from Black Beacon books. This will be published in early 2021. My inspiration for the story comes not from science-fiction but Charles Dickens. When I was a child, I read Oliver Twist, a rare 2nd edition that somehow found its […]

Improving Routine

This week my writing was more productive than usual. I am attributing this to better preparation. Previously my practice was to write whenever I had spare time at weekends and in the evening. Now I am allocating set times in blocks of two hours. Outside of those blocks I do the other things that I […]

To publish or not to publish

  This week I republished my Jack the Ripper suspect encyclopedia through Kindle Direct, due to an issue with the original publisher. Times have changed. In the early 1990s I was taught that self-publishing was for failed writers who couldn’t convince publishers of their talent. The suspect encyclopedia passed that test but yet I still […]