Raymond G. Taylor
Author based in Kent, England. A writer of fictional short stories in a wide range of genres, he has been a non-fiction writer since the 1980s. Non-fiction subjects include art, history, technology, business, law, and the human condition.
How not to plot
Thinking up the plot for a story seldom comes easy and it is sometimes a struggle to dream up something that will captivate the reader. The following is from the author C. S. Forrester, who is quoted in Bryan Perrett’s introduction to his biographical work: The Real Hornblower: The Life and Times of Admiral Sir James Gordon GCB.
A new friend comes to stay
Ragged, filthy, sopping wet, you appeared at our door. Unloved, unwanted, rejected, dejected, cast out into the harsh and unforgiving wilderness with no thought and even less care. Half-starved and thirsty, you shuffled and snuffled into our lives. Close to death, you could have given up but chose instead to carry on and seek out the next chapter in your life.
Writing witches and witchery
As a youngster I went through a time of being fascinated by witchcraft and the occult and read authors like Wheatley, among others. These days, I like writing witchy stories as much as I like reading them. There is so much fun and so many possibilities, whether your story is comedy, tragedy, history, horror, fantasy, urban gothic or science fiction. Some of the greatest characters in fiction, to me, have been witches, whether Harry Potter (known as a ‘wizard’ in the JKR stories) or Samantha in the 1960s TV show Bewitched. Who can resist the other-worldly charms of Glinda in The Wizard of Oz, or the sinister menace of her nemesis the Wicked Witch of the West? Stories of 17th century witch trials, demonic visions from the three witches in Macbeth, or just the humdrum everyday dramas of latter-day dabblers. Good witches and wicked witches hold a strong fascination for many.
How to write like Pulp Fiction
Watched Pulp Fiction recently and it struck me how well the story was scripted and, I think, provides an object lesson in how to develop story through dialogue and character. This is not a movie crit, and I am not a Tarantino groupie, but I would suggest all fiction writers watch the film (at least twice) and learn from the technique and structure of the story, how it is constructed and how the story progresses from one dramatic scene to another. Or read the script, which was written by Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avery. Whether you are a Tarantino fan or not, you can learn some important lessons from the way this film was scripted.
Burial party at Beckenham Parish Church
Parson William Hogarth stood under cover of the lychgate, awaiting the arrival of the body of dear departed brother Jeremiah Stodart with some foreboding. The family were known to the good people of the Kent hamlet of Beckenham as drunkards and ne’er-do-wells and the affair was as likely to end in an unholy debauch as it was to be a sober and somber interment. It did not help that the heavens had opened up, and the parson’s cassock was subjected to considerable muddy splashings from the wind blowing in the torrential rains.
This week's reviews THREE
TOP SLOT A Good Ol' Classic by SAMANTHA JAMISON September 21, 2022 in SHORT STORY This has to be the best story I have read so far on Vocal. An appetising tale of a rainy day in Seattle WA and a glorious celebration of the delights to be found from a home-made tomato soup served with grilled cheese sandwich. So well written I could read it again. Or am I just thinking of the mouth-watering description of what will likely form my next supper?
The old bandstand held so many memories for me. It took pride of place in the Recreation Ground at Beckenham, where I grew up in the 1960s. Not much happened in this otherwise sleepy suburban town to the south-east of London. But I can never forget the time in 1969 when a free pop concert was organized by a ragtag bunch of musicians from the area, including my friend Lenny. He’d been talking about it in the Rat & Parrot for weeks.
Trapped in the Park
I don’t know how I managed to get locked in the Rec after dark. I must have fallen asleep on the bench when I stopped for a rest after my long walk back from Beckenham Place Park. Not as fit as I used to be, I was feeling a little weary and breathless and so sat down on the bench for five minutes to recover and must have just dropped off. You’d think the park keeper locking up would have noticed me sitting here asleep and given me a prod or something. He must have thought I was a rough sleeper planning to camp out for the night. Bloody cheek!
From little acorns
GRAY STONE chiselled into precise blocks lay scattered across the otherwise rust-red landscape. It wasn’t the first time we had seen a rock formation that appeared to be man-made during this mission but there was something deeply troubling about this one. So much so, that I couldn’t just sit there and take notes, I needed to feed this up the chain of command.