Welcome to my weekly Writer’s Diary:
November 23rd, 2015
As I said last week, when incorporating real-life experiences into my novel I run the risks of boring the reader and (as I also mentioned) of sticking to faithfully to the truth. I’m sure there are creative writing courses that would urge me to ‘find my inner truth’ and regurgitate it. I don’t agree. Just as no one is interested in hearing about last night’s dream so they are unlikely to be interested in my regurgitated but unshaped inner truth.
When a kid spills a sack of wooden bricks onto the floor we do not exclaim in wonderment (all right, some mothers do) but when the child arranges them into a street, a house, a tower or citadel we may exclaim – and mean it. Not only has the child created a pattern or shape but, crucially, some of the bricks have been discarded and put aside. Just so with real-life memories: not all are interesting, and neither is an unordered shape. In a novel a chain of events need not replicate a sequence from real life. An author can make a better one. It’s not creative to plainly report the facts unless you’re a policeman giving evidence in court, where you are not meant to be creative. Although sometimes…
Because my current novel (still untitled – when am I going to find one?) has scenes based on what happened in real life I initially found myself telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The reader will want none of that (except in a celebrity bio, where it won’t be found either). The reader wants truth ruthlessly pared down, leaving only the juicy bits. And as for nothing but the truth? What, no invention? It’s a fiction writer’s job to make things up. I may have started with reality but, fortunately, I have gone on from there, and kept going.
I have strayed from the path of truth into the forest, where the wild things are.
Each week as I work on my new novel I post a fresh extract from my writer’s diary – mercifully short, you’ll be glad to hear, each piece taking about a minute to read.
Catch up with earlier entries here:
(1) Great-Grandmother’s Secrets: Recently gathered 5 of my great-grandmother’s wonderful Victorian Romances into a new eBook from Prospero – ludicrously cheap and every story illustrated with original engravings. Take a look.
(2) And I’ve just edited a brand new guide (the only such guide, in fact) to some of the best-value illustrated books ever published! LOOK HERE!
(3) Don’t forget my Mad Music Videos. Why not take a look (and listen)?
And a little earlier . . .
Somehow I managed to publish 3 books last year – and they’re all available from Amazon. They’re astonishingly cheap (or I prefer ‘they’re astonishing’) so why not try one?
Stories I Can’t Tell
(an illustrated confessional “by” Maggie King, “with” Russell James)
Here’s something different – very different! – written with the very close co-operation of the fabulous Maggie King. It invites you – and you alone – to sit with Maggie as she shows you the contents of her trunk of theatrical souvenirs. What secrets will you find?
On the eve of World War Two Maggie King has been waiting for me – Russell James – to join her and ghost-write a celebrity memoir. But I’m not there yet; there’s only you and Maggie, just the two of you, in front of a cozy roaring fire. Maggie’s theatrical trunk, you’ll find, is packed with programmes, handbills, letters and photos, both from her own career and that of her parents – Albert and Annie King (‘the Royal Family’), middle-ranking performers in Music Hall and Variety. While you sit with her she recalls the ups and downs of her rackety life, including hits and flops, romance and tragedy, the men who mattered and the man who caused the scandal that blighted her career.
Full details are on the Maggie King book page – “Stories I Can’t Tell”
The Newly Discovered Diaries Of Doctor Kristal
A black comedy set in the Swinging Sixties (1963-4) and revealed through the diaries of a doctor – 35 years old and still a virgin – whose curious obsessions drive him to start murdering his patients. Kristal thinks himself immune from any hint of sexual passion – but when there are two beautiful women desperate for his help, isn’t there anything he can do? Read all about it on the DOCTOR KRISTAL page – here
My most autobiographical novel to date, though you might not think it, since it is an up-to-the-minute tragicomedy narrated into an iPhone by Crosby Ravensworth, a 35-year-old executive too busy to scatter his father’s ashes or to sort out the dysfunctional family he has left behind, or even to decide which of the four women in his life he should connect to. But with any luck, he’ll find that even the darkest clouds have silver linings and this could be the beginning of a new life.
To get your copy – for Kindle, Kobo, Nook or whatever – either go to my Amazon page (click HERE ) or ,for all non-Kindle formats, jump to my Smashwords page by clicking EXIT 39 instead. To find out more, CLICK HERE and enjoy Exit 39!
– and as there are now several writers called Russell James (how dare they?) you might like to know that the relevant Author’s Page on Amazon is at Russell James
It may be less confusing to check my books at: GoodReads
Most people seem to read me on their Kindle, but you can get my books in all electronic formats including Kindle from Smashwords by clicking here
Have you downloaded from Smashwords before?
It’s very simple, but if you’d like a helping hand, click HERE.
One last reminder of how to get my books:
Most of my books can be found on the Prospero website.
For ebooks suitable for Sony, Kindle and most readers, find a synopsis of the whole collection by clicking My ebooks at Smashwords or find them on the website of your ebook supplier.
Kindle downloads can be had direct from Amazon: Russell James page
And for KOBO, look here:
(On some of these sites you’ll find some upstart authors there as well, each pretending to the Russell James throne. Do not be led astray. Insist on the original!)