Robert Pimm

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Monday 17 June: live reading from my book “Seven Hotel Stories”

Good news for story-lovers.

I shall be reading from my book Seven Hotel Stories at Cafe Korb in Vienna on 17 June.

Click on the cover if you’d like to buy a copy from Amazon

The hosts are the excellent Vienna writers’ organisation “Write Now”: you can read about the event at their Facebook site. The evening starts at 19.00 on 17 June in the rather fantastic Art Lounge of the Cafe Korb at Brandstätte 9 in the First District.  I should be reading sometime after 20.00, although timings are flexible.

All are welcome!  I hope to see you there for an evening of creativity, entertainment and, perhaps, a few laughs.

Where can you read a few Hotel Stories before the event?  Option 1 is to download them from Amazon.  Option 2 is to read the introductions to a few of the stories right here on this site – see my post The Hotel Stories – 7 reasons you should read them (links in bold are to other posts on this site).  Option 3, if you want to read a complete story and can’t bear Amazon, is to download one free here.

Also on 17 June, I shall be signing copies (more…)

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A Centenary of My Man Jeeves

Excellent piece from Wodehouse specialist Plumtopia marking the centenary of “My Man Jeeves”.

Plumtopia

My Man Jeeves was published 100 years ago in May 1919.

Jeeves–my man, you know–is really a most extraordinary chap. So capable. Honestly, I shouldn’t know what to do without him. On broader lines he’s like those chappies who sit peering sadly over the marble battlements at the Pennsylvania Station in the place marked “Inquiries.” You know the Johnnies I mean. You go up to them and say: “When’s the next train for Melonsquashville, Tennessee?” and they reply, without stopping to think, “Two-forty-three, track ten, change at San Francisco.” And they’re right every time. Well, Jeeves gives you just the same impression of omniscience.

my man jeevesMay 2019 marks 100 years since the publication of My Man Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse’s first Jeeves story collection.

Well, sort of. It’s complicated.

Wodehouse chronology always is, because many of his works were published in magazine format on both sides of the Atlantic before appearing…

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How to write a novel: plan in advance, or not?

What is the best way to write a novel?  Let’s explore two common methods.  I’ve tried both.  Each can work well: which is best for you will depend on how you write and what you are writing.

Before we look at that, let me cite the US fantasy author Stephen R Donaldson, who was once asked by an admirer how to achieve success in writing.  “Start today,” Donaldson said.

Donaldson’s advice is great.  If you want to start writing fiction, don’t wait until the conditions are perfect and all the stars are aligned (“I’m waiting until the kids grow up”; “I have to get some new writing software”; “I’m too busy right now”).  Set aside some time tonight, this afternoon or even this morning; get out a pen and paper;  and start writing.

How do you begin?

How to begin?  There are different ways of writing a novel

The first method is taught in writing courses and top universities across the world.  You should plan your story around a standard structure.  This structure is set out in a thousand primers – try googling “narrative structure” or “three act structure”.

This plan goes back to the ancient Greeks.  That’s no bad thing: it has stood the test of time.  In brief:

  • the first part (or “act”) of your story introduces your main characters and describes their situation, usually including a problem or conflict;
  • the second part involves an “inciting act” (eg: a letter in the post; discovery of a body; a glance across a crowded room) leading to, or highlighting, a conflict or problem.  This then escalates, perhaps via a series of mini-crises, to become a crisis;
  • the third part sees the main character or characters developing and changing (“digging deeper than ever before”) to a climax where they overcome the crisis, often preceded by a section where it seems that “all is lost”.  This leads on to the end of the story, with the main character in a new equilibrium.

(more…)

How to write a novel: edit as you go along, or not? (“How to edit your novel, part 1”)

I once visited a wonderful friend who was a successful writer (DF – it was you!).

At the time, I was struggling to complete my first novel.

When she suggested we go for brunch at her local cafe to read the New York Times and the Washington Post, I was delighted.  As I waited to go out, I glanced at her writing desk, filled with admiration for her hard work and achievement.

On the desk was a book about writing technique.  Intrigued that she, a well-known author, should need such advice, I leafed through it.  A sentence leapt out at me.

You can see the results of all this in my Berlin thriller Blood Summit

“Don’t keep writing and re-writing the same chapter or the opening to your book,” the guide said.  “Doing that risks preventing you from completing the task.  You must keep moving forward.”

At that point my friend was ready and we went out for a terrific brunch in Alexandria.

But I never forgot that sentence.  I have found it invaluable in helping me to complete many novels.

“Wait!” I hear you cry.  “Surely I shouldn’t write (more…)

How to write gripping fiction: scenes, sequels and cliff-hangers

An experienced commissioning editor told me recently that one of two main reasons she rejected manuscripts was “no story”.  The other was “overwritten” – I’ll write about that another day.

How can you make sure your fiction has a strong story, that people will want to read?

To put it another way, how can you make sure your fiction has bite?

I recommend a simple technique, developed by an American writer, Dwight V Swain, using two elements called scenes and sequels.  Each is divided into two sub-elements.

‘How the hell do I apply these techniques to my writing?’

Swain said that to have a cracking good story you should start with a scene in which someone is trying to achieve a goal.  The sub-elements are:

(i) goalthe character is trying to achieve something;

(ii) conflictsomething prevents the character achieving that goal;

(iii) disasterthe quest to achieve the goal ends in catastrophe. (more…)

A complete Hotel Story: free!

I am grateful to everyone who reads this blog, my Berlin thriller Blood Summit or my novel-length collection of Seven Hotel Stories.

So I thought I would give away, to everyone who finds their way here, a complete, free Hotel Story: The Two Rooms.

The Two Rooms is the first Hotel Story I wrote.  Ms N, the world’s most brilliant, unpredictable and occasionally homicidal hotel manager and her beautiful but naive accomplice, Tatiana, have to deal with an avalanche of problems involving Mr Burke, an unspeakably obnoxious guest; a dodgy Prime Minister on a moral crusade; Ms Gentle, a provider of specialised services for men; a pack of cigar-smoking Russian ice-hockey fans; and a murderous Japanese sushi chef.  The story contains a startling twist.  Is it my favourite Hotel Story?  Perhaps it is.

To receive a free PDF copy of The Two Rooms, please click on the cover below:

If you’d prefer to download a “Word” copy, click here:

If you like The Two Rooms, you may like to read the complete Seven Hotel Stories.  But that’s another story.  Six, in fact.

P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, please friend me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – see the “click here” blue button).  Check out the range of writing on this site via my 5 pleasure paths.

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