Likeable Characters are Bad

Nobody admires likeable characters. They probably think they do and may believe they do, but they don’t. Going back a few decades, Fawlty Towers star John Cleese, playing Basil Fawlty was an excellent protagonist because he was not likeable. What he did was try very hard to be the worst hotel manager in the world. This nastiness is why everyone likes him even though he is evil. What readers admire are characters that make mistakes, characters that think fast and think wrongly flawed characters, but likeable characters. Likeable is very boring. A lot of crime novels are scattered with bitches, erratic men, doubtful women and double-crossing scoundrels. Given the problematic nature of the characters that populate a crime novel, the question is how do you captivate the hearts of the reader and keep them interested to the end of the book?
The answer is empathy.
Here are a couple of ways to create empathy:
1. Make the protagonist have a funny side.
2. Make the protagonist a victim of something personal.
3. Show the protagonist in a quandary about something central.
4. Show the protagonist being highly skilful at what they do.
5. Show the protagonist being selfless and putting their client first.

Help with Writing a Mystery

The first action is to pick a unique and unusual location. For a strange and unique mystery. This goes back to keeping things simple. Allow the wonder and confusion to stem from one part or the other of your story. Too much can create chaos in your reader.
Limit yourself to five or fewer suspects. Not only does this make your story more tight and concise, but it also makes it easier for your reader to keep track of the clues and hints.
Create subtle connections to each character to create cohesion. Your supporting characters are suspects by design. Each one should connect to each other in subtle ways. This will tie your story together in ways that will leave your reader reeling, but in a genuine way.

Eventually, it all stems down to; The intensity of your mystery will arise either from the characters or the intricacy of the crime. It is best to stick to one or the other, and you should have success.

Strong Characters

All of this foreshadowing and suspense-building, that we spoke of in recent blogs, does little if the reader does not care about what happens in the climax of your novel. The best way to make sure that the reader cares is by creating strong characters that are real to the reader. When characters feel real, the reader will care what happens to them and about the suspenseful situations they encounter. Characters’ behaviour should seem reasonably plausible to the reader.
Building suspense requires mastering some writing techniques. It also requires making sure that you have engaging characters whose challenges matter to them and your readers. Suspense needs conflict and drama to grow. Compressing time or limiting the character’s freedom or means in some other way can help build suspense. Planting false clues via red herrings that leave the reader and characters unsure as to who can be trusted is also useful. Authors writing crime fiction must create a strong motivation for readers to invest in seeing suspenseful setups through to their conclusion.

Top 101 Cockney Rhyming Slang Words and Phrases

For novel stories based in London you can use some Cockney Rhyming Slang:

1. Adam and Eve – believe
2. Alan Whickers – knickers
3. Apples and pears – stairs
4. Artful Dodger – lodger
5. Ascot Races – braces
6. Aunt Joanna – piano
7. Baked Bean – Queen
8. Baker’s Dozen – Cousin
9. Ball and Chalk – Walk
10. Barnaby Rudge – Judge
11. Barnet Fair – hair
12. Barney Rubble – trouble
13. Battlecruiser – boozer
14. Bees and honey – money
15. Bird lime – time (in prison)
16. Boat Race – face
17. Bob Hope – soap
18. Bottle and glass – arse
19. Brahms and Liszt – pissed (drunk)
20. Brass Tacks – facts
21. Bread and Cheese – sneeze
22. Bread and Honey – money
23. Bricks and Mortar – daughter
24. Bristol City – breasts
25. Brown Bread – dead
26. Bubble and Squeak – Greek
27. Bubble Bath – Laugh
28. butcher’s hook – a look
29. Chalfont St. Giles – piles
30. Chalk Farm – arm
31. China plate – mate (friend)
32. Cock and Hen – ten
33. Cows and Kisses – Missus (wife)
34. Currant bun – sun (also The Sun, a British newspaper)
35. Custard and jelly – telly (television)
36. Daisy Roots – boots
37. Darby and Joan – moan
38. Dickybird – word
39. Dicky Dirt – shirt
40. Dinky Doos – shoes
41. Dog and bone – phone
42. Dog’s meat – feet [from early 20th c.]
43. Duck and Dive – skive
44. Duke of Kent – rent
45. Dustbin lid – kid
46. Elephant’s Trunk – drunk
47. Fireman’s Hose – nose
48. Flowery Dell – cell
49. Frog and Toad – road
50. Gypsy’s kiss – piss
51. Half-inch – pinch (to steal)
52. Hampton Wick – prick
53. Hank Marvin – starving
54. irish pig – wig
55. Isle of Wight – tights
56. Jam-jar – car
57. Jayme Gibbs
58. Jimmy Riddle – piddle
59. Joanna – piano (pronounced ‘pianna’ in Cockney)
60. Khyber Pass – arse
61. Kick and Prance – dance
62. Lady Godiva – fiver
63. Laugh n a joke – smoke
64. Lionel Blairs – flares
65. Loaf of Bread – head
66. Loop the loop – soup
67. Mickey Bliss – piss
68. Mince Pies – eyes
69. Mork and Mindy – windy
70. North and south – mouth
71. Orchestra stalls – balls
72. Pat and Mick – sick
73. Peckham Rye – tie
74. Plates of meat – feet
75. Pony and Trap – crap
76. Raspberry ripple – nipple
77. Raspberry tart – fart
78. Roast Pork – fork
79. Rosy Lee – tea (drink)
80. Round the Houses – trousers
81. Rub-a-Dub – pub
82. Ruby Murray – curry
83. Sausage Roll – goal
84. Septic tank – Yank
85. Sherbert (short for sherbert dab) – cab (taxi)
86. Skin and Blister – sister
87. Sky Rocket – pocket
88. Sweeney Todd – flying squad
89. Syrup of figs – wig (sic)
90. Tables and chairs – stairs
91. Tea leaf – thief
92. Tit for tat – hat
93. Todd Sloane – alone
94. Tom and Dick – sick
95. Tom tit – shit
96. Tomfoolery – jewellery
97. Tommy Trinder – window
98. Trouble and strife – wife
99. Two and eight – state (of upset)
100. Vera Lynn – gin
101. Whistle and flute – suit (of clothes)

Shakespeare’s Sonnets

When writing a sonnet in the style of Shakespeare, there are some rules you need to keep. This type of poetry is required to follow a specific format including length, rhythm, and rhyme scheme. To write a sonnet correctly, to follow this process:

Select a subject to write your sonnet about as Shakespearean sonnets are on tradition grounded as love poems. Write your lines in iambic pentameter.

Write in one of the various standard rhyme schemes such as Shakespearean, Petrarchan, or Spenserian.

Necessary Format: Format the sonnet using three quatrains followed by one couplet.
Form your sonnet as evidence that builds up as it goes from one metaphor to the next. Be sure that every line of the sonnet has ten syllables that conform to the Iambic Pentameter. Guarantee your sonnet is precisely 14 lines and the last syllable on each line rhymes with another last syllable on a previous line.

The Shakespeare Rhyming scheme
If you’re writing the most common kind of sonnet, the Shakespearean sonnet, then the rhyme scheme for the last syllable of the line is as follows:





Every ‘A’ last syllable of the line must rhyme, and every ‘B’ syllables rhyme and so forth. You’ll see this kind of sonnet consists of three quatrains. Or four consecutive lines of verse that make up a stanza or division of lines in a poem, and one couplet (two successive rhyming lines).

How a Sonnet Tells the Story
Ah, but there’s more to a sonnet than just the structure of it. A sonnet is also an argument — it builds up a certain way. And how it builds up is related to its metaphors and how it moves from one metaphor to the next. In a Shakespearean sonnet, the argument builds up like this:

First quatrain: An exposition of the central theme and primary metaphor.

Second quatrain: Theme and metaphor extended or complicated; often, some ingenious example is given.

Third quatrain: Peripeteia (a twist or conflict), often introduced by a “but” (very often leading off the ninth line).

Couplet: Reviews and leaves the reader with a new, closing image.

One of Shakespeare’s best-known sonnets is Sonnet 18, which follows this pattern:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest,
Nor shall death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest.

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

The arrangement of a Sonnet like this:

First quatrain: Worship, worship, excellent.

Second quatrain: Worship, worship, excellent.

Third quatrain: But, even if the bad thing happens, still excellent.

Couplet: Future excellent.

So now you see Shakespeare was a master of the english language and has been remembered over four-hundred years after his death.


Passive and Active Voice in Writing

When you write a sentence, it can either be written in the passive voice or the active voice.
* The active voice describes a sentence where the subject performs the action stated by the verb. For example, ‘Brian replaced the flat tyre’.
* The passive voice describes a sentence where the subject is acted upon by the verb. For instance, ‘The flat tyre was replaced by Brian’.
In most cases, writing sentences in a passive voice is discouraged because it can obscure the subject of the sentence, and mislead the reader. It also regularly creates a wordy and clumsy sentence construction.

Defining Passive Voice
Every sentence contains, at a minimum, a subject and an action. The subject is the person or thing the sentence is about, and the action is what the subject is doing.
When the sentence is in the active voice, the subject is doing the action, and the subject typically arises before the action in the sentence. For example:
* I run. I is the subject. Run is the action. The subject doing the action appears before the action, so it is clear to the reader who is doing what.
When a sentence is in a passive voice, the subject is being acted upon by the verb, and the subject usually appears after the action. In an example:
* Running is something I do. Here, the action is Running, and the subject is I. The sentence is in a passive voice because the person doing the action (I) is not introduced until after the action.
Sometimes sentences also contain objects – or the thing being acted upon. This can make it more difficult to define whether the sentence is in a passive voice. For example, here is a sentence in an active voice:
* Philip hits the ball. ‘Philip’ is the subject. ‘Hits’ is the action. So the ‘ball’ is the object.
That same sentence in passive voice reads:
* The ball is hit by Philip.
* The ball is the object – which is not the subject of the sentence because the ball is not doing the action. Therefore, it should be after the subject (Philip)

Tips to Recognise the Passive Voice
Often a sentence in passive voice does not inevitably sound “incorrect” or wordy. However, it is still proper to write in active voice when possible.
To recognise that a sentence is in a passive voice, watch out for these keywords:

* Be
* Is
* Are
* A
* Was
* Were
* Has been
* Have been
* Will be
* Being