Tag Archives: novels

You Never Know

The thing about writing novels, they are – ‘must be’ – based on fact. You see something on TV or the movies and you say “I wouldn’t have done that.” Or “I wouldn’t have acted that way.” Thus when you create a situation in a novel, you make the character react as you think he should, based on your own knowledge, or what you think is true. If in reality you have been through these situations you have a better and more realistic understanding of what would or might happen. Of course it is reasonable that different people would react in different ways.
How would you react? I lived in a luxury 6 apartment building which was situated in a large wooded piece of land that had lawns at the front and a large parking area. The building was in an elite area of Nairobi on State House Road. Quite countryish for a major city.
One morning around three o’clock I was awakened by the sound of the door bell ringing, and a few moments later I heard another door bell. Obviously some drunk or prankster at work. Some time later I heard unusual noises. I climbed from my bed and quietly exited our front door, there I stood silently in the shadows listening. Sure enough there was activity in the corridor above. I remained quiet and in the shadows, unseen. After some time the noises ceased and I assumed all was well and returned to my bed. Only minutes after laying down I heard more unusual noises, this time outside. Quietly and gingerly I eased the curtain aside and peered out of the window. I saw two men carrying of all things a hi-fi cabinet. Piled on top of the hi-fi were lots of other things, making the trip difficult for the thieves. Without doubt these ‘gentlemen’ were absconding with someone’s private property. What would you have done?
What I did, in after thought is quite humorous. Making as little noise as possible I walked to the kitchen and took the largest knife I could find – a bread knife. Then in pajamas and slippers I eased my way out through the front door of the building. Outside I could see the thieves still struggling with their load. By now they were at least a hundred paces away and heading for the main road. I screamed at the top of my voice and ran at them waving the knife. They must have thought it was some fearful demon from hell. They dropped their ill gotten gains and fled. One ran for the main road and one ran toward the back of the gardens. Not a swift move. At the rear of the grounds was an old pit dug for rocks to make the apartment building’s foundations. It had become filled with garden rubbish and thorn bushes. I heard the man scream as he descended into the dark hole.
Although I saved the day, I received no thanks, but I did have the satisfaction of knowing these particular crooks would think twice before trying it again.

Why?

For some strange and intriguing reason, whenever I go to a new publisher they always give me a questionnaire to answer. One of the dimmest questions that always appears is – Why did you write that story? Good grief !!! Well, I equate it to this. There are three cookies on the table, one a raisin cookie, one is a marshmallow and one a chocolate. I eat one. Why did I pick that one?
The answer is simple, it was there. I’ll get to the others in good time. As for why did I write that story? Well, like the cookie, it was there, not on the table, but flying around in my head. They say that everyone could write one book in their lifetime, and a few could write two. I have to admit that I do not fall into either category. All in all I have published thirty stories, but I have written and completed some 60 full-length novels, twenty short stories and have the beginnings of about 45 other stories that I haven’t got around to writing. I have actually published 2.8 million words and have more than double that amount standing in the wings.
The question should be – Why did you submit this particular story? Rather than why did you write it. I always boast that I can rip off 500 words on any subject in less than half an hour anywhere anytime. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to talk about rockets – their use or history. Likewise with any subject, all you need is an opinion. As for writing stories, the world is full of them. Everywhere you go – keep your eyes open and you’ll see a tale on every street.
If you’ve read any of my books you will have noticed I don’t like to go into great detailed descriptions. The reason for this is I believe anyone who reads a book must have some imagination or they’d be watching TV. When I say so-and-so met a beautiful blond woman, there is no need to describe every curve and every detail. If you don’t have an inkling of what a beautiful blond woman looks like I suggest you must be either dead or in a coma and the book wouldn’t interest you anyway. That actually relates to another question they usually ask. Did you model your characters on a real person? Doh !!!
Dim question. If I’d never actually ever seen a real person then I wouldn’t know what they were like, but like most people I live on planet Earth where there are millions of people. Of bl—y course I modeled it on a real person. I like to think my readers are smart, worldly and have enough intelligence to apply their own judgment. (Pssst- that was a clever statement, because anyone who writes to say I’m wrong has to be admitting he or she isn’t smart or worldly.) Ask Newf, he’d be the one to put his foot in it.