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 […]

One down, twelve to go

In January 2018 I decided to watch every episode of Doctor Who in chronological order, at the rate of one each week. Last week I reached the end of the first Doctor’s era. Earlier this year Doctor Who Magazine ran a World Cup of that era, with readers voting on their favourite stories. Opinions are […]

The forgotten victim

On this day in 1889 Alice McKenzie was buried in Plaistow, a week after she was murdered in Whitechapel. Eight months after Jack the Ripper’s autumn of terror she died in a similar way and in the same area. Doctor Phillips who had been involved in some of the earlier cases noted similarities, including a […]

What are you afraid of?

This week I was interviewed about Jack the Ripper for episode 144 of the podcast What are you Afraid of? In 1888 people were terrified of Jack the Ripper. One woman even died of fright after reading about his exploits in the newspapers. Today he is long dead but the name still conjures up terror. […]