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Posts Tagged ‘protagonists’

You’ve been itching to begin writing, and are so nearly there. But, what is a story without characters? Not a very good one, I can tell you in an instant.

Now, you could be forgiven if you believe a good idea is all that’s needed to write a successful novel. After all, you may be writing an action story. What do you need character’s for? Aren’t they just well toned guys flexing their muscles while shooting up the place? Well, without believable and interesting characters, you’ll have nothing but a lifeless story. Although, if muscles are you’re thing, you may not care if there’s not story 🙂

Okay. For those that aren’t quite sure, I’ll quickly explain the difference between a plot driven story and a character driven story.

Character vs Plot

Plot Driven Story: Usually action-based. The action is what’s classed as driving the story forward. For example, Transporter, Star Wars, Jurassic Park.

Character Driven Story: Character based. The characters drive the story forward. For instance, Rocky, Cast Away, It’s a Wonderful Life.

Now, you may be a little confused. After all, the Rocky films have a lot of action in them. Well, if you look at the original ‘Rocky’ film, the story is about a fighter and his struggle to become a world-class boxer. That is character-driven.

Why do we need to know our characters?

Imagine Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’. I think we can all relax in the comfort of knowing this is a character-driven love story. But, if Austen hadn’t ‘known’ Mr Darcy inside out when writing him, would we, as love-struck, female fans, still be romancing over him today?

We like and love him (some even dream of him), because we feel we know him. And that is what makes a good character. Someone your reader can identify with and relate to.

So, how do we get character’s like this?

First, you need to create them.

Antagonists, Protagonists, and Supporting Cast (aka Minions)

NOTE: Let me just make this little snippet clear. The antagonist doesn’t necessarily have to be a person. The antagonist is whatever hampers the protagonist (hero) from reaching his or her goal. 

However, as this post is about creating characters, our antagonist is going to be human.

So, where do I start?

Always with the antagonist, aka the baddie. They are the reason you have a story. Without one, your protagonist will easily reach their goal – leaving you with a dreary story and no plot.

First you have to decide the kind of character you want to create and make sure they get the correct label. A what? A Label. I made a mistake with the first story I wrote. My antag was a hitman who worked for the mob. But, as it was pointed out to me, the Mob Boss was the real antag. He was the guy giving the orders for the hit. Without him, my hitman would have been out of work. Thus, although my hitman was the main baddie, he was in fact a Minion. Confused? Good. Then, I wasn’t alone 🙂

To explain this a little better, I am going to use a well-know subject.

Jason Bourne. Girls love him and boys want to be him.

In the Bourne films, Jason is a killer. A hitman. Does that make him the antag? No. He is the hero. And this is because he’s trying to reach a goal, which is to remember who the hell he is.

Although it’s a variety of assassins who try to kill Bourne, it’s a CIA group called ‘Treadstone’ who initially orders the hits. This makes ‘Treadstone’ the antagonist. The assassins are mere minions.

And let’s not forget Marie, Jason’s love interest and the girl who helps him attain his goal.

Creating Your Characters

If I were to ask you to tell me about yourself, where would you start?

Five years ago? Ten? How about from the moment you were born?

That is where I want you to start with your characters… From the moment they were born. Write down who their parents were. What kind of upbringing did they have. Create family and loved ones they may have lost along the way. This exercise will run into pages if you do it right. It will round your

characters’ journey and define how they got to be the person in your story. Their likes and dislikes. Their flaws.

Use props – for instance, do they have a limp, or a squint? If so, how did they get it? Remember, Indiana Jones had a fear of snakes. We found out through a (long) flash back in the third film because he fell into a circus snake pit. Makes you wonder if George Lucas had already written it into his background, doesn’t it?

Research your character. If they attended boarding school. Research it. If they were in the army. Research it.

Basically, you are writing a biography. It has to be accurate.

Giving a Character Qualities and Flaws

If you are like me, they you would have rooted for Jason Bourne. Why? Because we liked him. But why would we feel like this? Remember, Jason Bourne is a killer. Does that now make us a hitman loving sociopath?

No. It means the writer has done their job. You want your audience to love your protagonist and cheer them on every inch of the way. If you make your characters too nice, your reader will tire of them and become bored. Likewise, if you make your characters hard-nosed and arrogant. They become unlikable because your readers cannot get close enough to start caring.

Jason Bourne is a man on a mission. He is a killer. And yet every now and then, a slither of emotion escapes and we see a man who cares about right and wrong. That is a character quality. He cares about the well-being of Marie, and this shows Jason’s softer side. Again, another quality, if not also a flaw. His ability to kill so easily, although it constantly saves his life, is a flaw. Having to suppress emotion in order to survive is a flaw. And flaws are what make us human. It’s these flaws that allow your readers to relate to your characters.

Steer clear of stereotypes. Make your character unique. A skin head with pink spiked hair and wearing Doc Martins is stereo-typical. Give him a unique quality that makes him stand out from the rest of the skin heads.

I’ll tell you a quick story I know my co-writer, Natalie Duggan, won’t mind. When I first paired up with Natalie to write the TV pilot ‘Legend’, I mentioned character backgrounds. Natalie thought I was nuts and that it was all a waste of time. She wanted to get to the story. So, I banged my head against the desk, argued until I was blue in the face, then just went ahead and wrote out the backgrounds anyway. I emailed them across and Natalie loved them. Her exact words? “Oh, wow. These are awesome. I really feel I know Roman and Nate (two of the MC’s).” Natalie now writes backgrounds on ALL her characters.  🙂

Okay, that should be enough to start you off.

So, do you create characters before you begin writing? What kind of techniques do you use when creating your characters? Do you make your characters too perfect? Are you plot-driven or character-driven?

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14th July: Getting To Know Your Characters

21st July: From Idea To Story

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A few weeks back, Karen McFarland asked if I could guest on her blog. And I thought you guys may like to read it, too.

Three years ago, I made a decision. To step away from writing articles and write that ‘book’ I’d always planned to write.

Okay, that wasthe easy part sorted out.

I sat down, and for a couple of months scribbled in my note pad and tapped away on my laptop. I gave my finished story to friends, all of who liked it, and began plotting the sequel.

Then I met Kristen Lamb.

Kristen stumbled upon the first chapter, which I’d posted on a blogger site, and proceeded to hunt me down. She pointed out where I was going wrong and offered to help me. Naturally, I jumped at the chance.

We stripped back my story to its very core, and I wrote a background for my antagonist – something I had never done before.

Kristen’s reply, after I nervously emailed it across to her. “Crap, do it again.”

And again I did. Several times in fact. Until, finally everything clicked into place and I created a psychopathic alter-ego.

  Be wary if Kristen invites you over for dinner.

I’m very good friends with Kristen now. She has the most amazing way of making you pay for her kindness (see picture). I’ve since written two teleplays and currently adapting one into a novel. I’ve plotted my second book, and lead WWBC Team Delta. I apply the Warrior Writer method to every story I plot and wouldn’t consider doing it any other way.

So, without further ado, here is the way to write – Warrior Writer style.

Your Story

First and foremost – you must have an idea of what your book is about. Knowing the genre is extremely helpful, and what your protagonist wants and who’s trying to stop he/she from getting it will also make things a lot easier for you. 

Log Line

Once you know the basis of your story, you can write that log line. Now, don’t be scared. They are easier to write if you follow this simple rule:

An ADJECTIVE NOUN (protagonist) must ACTIVE VERB the ANTAGONIST before  SOME REALLY HORRIBLE THING HAPPENS (stopping the protagonist from reaching her goal).

See my post on Log Lines

Backgrounds

A background is a little like a biography. Imagine you were writing your own life story. You’d start from the moment you were born and take the reader up to the current day. Well, a background is the same thing. Write all about your character from the moment they were born, right up to the moment you are about to start your story.

This is a fantastic way to get to know your character, and give you time to flesh them out. Once done, you will have no trouble writing them, or writing their dialogue.

Backgrounds – Who To Start With?

Antagonist – Why? Because they are the biggest problem. Without them in our story, we have NO story.

Protagonist – Yep, you’ve guessed it. Now do the same for your protagonist. Oh, and don’t make them too perfect. Flaws are good! Flaws make us human.

Love Interest and Supporting Cast – Mentors, Minions, Allies and Love Interests all fit under this section. Note: These are characters that aid your main characters. I’m not talking about the guy who shows up in one scene and delivers the post.

Your Story

You need to ‘bullet point’ your story from beginning to end. Walk yourself through your story step by step. It’s better to hit your dead ends now so you can re-plot, rather than get 40k words in and realise you have to axe 10,000 of them.

Start with:

Normal World
Inciting Incident
Turning Point Act I into Act II
Turning Point Act II into Act III
Darkest Moment
Dénouement 

Get to this point and voila! You have a story to write.

I know most of you may read this and think “Huh? What a waste of time.”

I’ve met people like this and guess what? They are still at the same stage they were a year or so ago. My team mate Piper Bayard and I are living proof this method works. Agents have requested fulls on both our manuscripts.

It’s like building a house. Do the prep-work: dig footings, add cement, lay bricks, and your building will be standing for decades to come.

Good luck with your writing.

Now, let me know if you are a ‘plot and plan‘ writer, or if you just ‘make it up’ as you go along. What works best for you? Have you ever written yourself into a corner?

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A while ago, we talked about how a novelist should write a log line (see: What is a Log Line). Well, today I thought we could talk about how a screenwriter should write a log line.

Wouldn’t the log lines be the same? Well, kind of, I suppose.

A literary agent wants to know what your novel is about. Here’s mine for my current novel.

A vengeful Reaper, hell-bent on finding the key to unlocking Heaven’s Gateway, must choose between good and evil before the town mayor sacrifices the girl he loves and overturns God himself.”

But, a producer wants to be hooked from the outset. Hook them and you’re on your way.

So, how can we do that?

Basically, a log line consists of three things. Seems simple doesn’t it?  Nothing in life worth having is simple. *Cheesey grin*.

So, lets take a closer look at what these three things are.

1.     A main character, who
2.     Has a mission or a goal, but
3.     Faces a major problem or some kind of opposition.

First, our protagonist is our main character . The goal is what he/she wants and the obstacle is what is stopping he/she from reaching it. 

Two things to remember,

1.     The main conflict MUST be clear.
2.     Main logline is 25 words or less.

Remember, a log line is usually one sentence, 2 at the very most.

For example:

In the movie, ‘The Crazies’, the protagonist is the town Sheriff.
His goal is to find out why some towns folk are going ‘crazy’.
His obstacle is he must fight off hundreds of ‘infected’ people to do it.

This can also be turned around and looked at like this:

In Wrong Turn, the protagonist is a newly graduated doctor.
The problem is he’s crashed his car in the middle of the wilderness and is being hunted by the local inbreeds.
His goal is to find a way out of the woods so he can get help.

In my story, The Legend, the protagonist is a Reaper.
His goal is to open the gateway to heaven and exact revenge on the entities that imprisoned him.
The problem is, to do this, he will have to kill the girl he has come to love.

Now we have that down, is there anything else we need to create that great log line? Hell, Yes!

First, we must be perfectly clear. We may understand what is going on, but the agent/producer is reading our log line for the first time. They have absolutely no idea what our story is about.

And, we must reveal our biggest hook. What is the most exciting or compelling thing about our screenplay? The log line is your time to reveal it.

Last but not least, we want our reader to picture our movie the moment they read the log line.

Here’s an example from the movie Law Abiding Citizen:

The protagonist and the goal:

A family man killed the member of a gang who murdered his wife and child. 

The hook is:

Once jailed, he escapes to kill off the rest of the gang, one by one, before returning to his jail cell and thus having the perfect alibi.

So my log line would be: “After centuries of searching, a vengeful Reaper finally uncovers the secret that will open the Gateway to Heaven, only to find that in doing so he has to sacrifice the woman he loves.”

The hook is what will have your reader wanting more. It’s what will make it stand out from everybody else’s.

So, how do you start to write a log line?

Write the hook first. Then you will be able to write the log line so it’s delivery is clear and precise.

Remember, an agent or producer will only request our script if our log line is good. Only then do we have a chance at selling it.

There is a really cool video via ScreenWritingU which will tell you all about this in a super fast three minutes.

Well, what are you waiting for?  Start writing those log lines in the comment section.

Have you had a script requested of the back of a log line? Do you find writing log lines hard or easy? Come on, don’t be shy….you know how I love talking to you guys.

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Last week I was listening to Heart Essex Radio and the realisation that many traditional names we once used are being abandoned for much more ‘funky’ ones.

For example, David, Jean, Margaret, Sally, Theresa, John and Tracy are a thing of the past and being replaced with names such as Mercedes, Chantelle and River.

This got me thinking about the names we, as writers, choose for our characters. Does the traditional ‘us’ stick with traditional names for our heroes, or like the totally normal named David and Victoria Beckham,  do we take this opportunity to go a little crazy and name our little darlings Brooklyn, Cruze, Romeo and Harper?

Maybe he just found out what his name is.

According to the Bounty Parenting Club, children nowadays are being named purely because their parents feel the wackier the name, the more their children will stand out.

I gues that does have an element of truth to it. Afterall, look at movies such as the Step Up franchise and its leading men. Tyler, Chase and, okay, Luke (I’ll let the last one slide), are not what you would call traditional names. Or are they?

75% of parents who choose traditional names for their children, such as Jennifer and Robert believe these ‘extreme’ parents who insist names like Armani are cool are setting their children up for a school life of misery and bullying.

But, if you watch shows like Disney’s ‘Suite Life on Deck’, you’ll see characters named London, Bailey and Woody. Again, not the normal names you usually see on a school register, but also not characters who are tormented by their peers.

The 1995 film ‘Clueless’, shows the protagonist as a school girl named Cher and someone who is not only caring and popular, but also who proves to be extremely smart.

But, back to Bounty’s poll. Six in every 10 people reckon a good strong name is sensible and the best way to go, and parents which proceed to use these outrageous names are nothing by selfish and not considering their children at all.

Disagree?

Hmmm…. Bruce Willis’ portrayal of John Mclane in Die Hard. Now you don’t get much stronger than that. Well, okay, James Bond played by Daniel Craig.  All traditional names which conjure up handsome features, rugged jaw line and muscles to die for – *slaps face* quick, change the subject before I pass out.

And, just to prove how wacky they are getting, here Bounty’s “Most Unusual Names of the Decade” list:

1.  Shy
2.  Unity
3.  Bean
4.  Zowie
5.  Puppy
6.  Ice
7.  Victory
8.  Porsche
9.  D’Andre
10. Denim
11. Diesel
12. Armani
13. Rooney
14. Bowie
15. Cobain
16. Stone
17. Gift
18. Echo
19. Heaven
20. Maroon

So, what do you name your characters? Do you go for the traditional, strong names, or do you take a more unusual and exotic stance? Do you think that traditional names are more stronger? Do you take into consideration the era your character was born and the most popular names at that time? Do you know anyone who has named their children Romeo, Cruze or Levi? Let me know. I want to find the most wierdest name EVER!

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Recently, I was researching something for a character of mine and I came across a really interesting article by Steven Aitchison. So, I quickly emailed and asked if he would be a guest blogger. And guess what, he was more than happy to.

Over to you, Steven:

Your eyes can tell a lot about you and tell others even more simply by the way you use them.  Eye communication is a great skill to have and eye contact is a great tool to master.  We all use it and we all give away vital clues as to what we are thinking with our eyes.

References are made to our eyes in everyday conversation such as ’she has bedroom eyes’, ‘don’t give me those puppy dog eyes’, ‘giving me the evil eye’ and many more such phrases.

If you can learn the skill of reading eye signals and mastering the art of using eye contact it can make a huge difference in your personal and business life.

The Pupils

Your pupils and the size of them will give away a lot of secrets, and it’s something we can’t do much about. The pupils will either constrict or dilate depending on our state of mind. If we are aroused by something, or someone, our pupils will dilate and if we are turned off by something or someone our pupils will constrict.

Skilled street traders across the world look for the size of the pupils when bartering with their customers. If a customer sees an object and their pupils are fully dilated, then the trader knows they can keep the price of the item at the higher end.

When we are excited by someone we like, our pupils will dilate, and when we are in the company of someone we don’t like, our pupils will constrict.

Take a look at these two photos. Which one do you prefer?

eyes1

The first photo shows the pupils constricted and the second photo shows the pupils dilated. The one with the pupils dilated would normally be the one that people picked, as it is more seductive and deemed more attractive when the pupils are dilated.

Next time you are talking to someone pay attention to the size of their pupils, don’t go right up to their face and make a nuisance of yourself, but just casually watch the size of their pupils. This will tell you what excites them when they are talking, it might also tell you if they like you or not as we can rarely hide our emotions with our eyes.

Different Types of Eyes

Wandering Eyes

Have you ever noticed when you are talking to someone that their eyes are looking everywhere and not at you. This in itself is an obvious sign of distraction or boredom however, it also means that the person is looking for a way to get out of your space. Looking out a window when someone is talking to you could mean they would rather be outside.

If you do this, be careful of the signals you are giving to the other person, unless you specifically want them to know you don’t want to be with them.

angryWhen we are angry our eyes become narrower, brows are furrowed and our pupils constrict. It’s quite easy to tell if someone is angry when they have all of the above. what if they don’t show the above body language signals? Well, we have to look for other body language clues such as constriction of the lips, flared nostrils, staring, clenching of the jaw etc.

When you are speaking to someone who is displaying signs of anger you can either back down or stand up for yourself, depending on what the situation warrants.

If you stand up for yourself you should be holding eye gaze and not break it. This shows the other person that you are not intimidated by them. If you are the one to break eye contact in a heated argument you have all but lost the argument.

The Seductive Eyes

It’s quite easy to tell if someone likes us by the size of their pupils. In a well lit room, if you are speaking to someone face to face you can see the size of the other persons pupils. If the eyes start to dilate they are interested in what you have to say or they find you attractive.

seductive eyesHowever, this is not so true in a darkened room like a nightclub as the size of our pupils will dilate to let more light in, in order to see better in the darkened room. So be careful to read the signals correctly before making a fool of yourself.

There are other ways to seduce someone with your eyes. The classic Lady Diana look with her head down and eyes looking up was one of the reasons so many people warmed to her. This type of look makes the observer feel more maternal or paternal and also brings out the protector in men which made Lady Di more attractive.

Your Gaze

When we are talking to our friends and in social situations, and are looking and talking with another person for some time we unconsciously gaze at the persons face in a controlled manner. However, if we have lost confidence or we are not yet socially adept we can lose this ability.  Here is a quick guide on where to focus your gaze when talking to someone.

Social Gazing

When you are speaking in a social setting you don’t want to stare into someone’s eyes as this is a bit strange for someone to do, and a bit off-putting for the talker. To get over this, use a triangle approach. First look at one eye of the talker, then look at their mouth, briefly, and then move onto their other eye. This shows you are still interested in what they have to say as you have not looked away from their face.

The Flirty Gaze

When we flirt with each other the eyes still move in a triangular way but with more range, downwards. I know the women reading this will have experienced men who think you are talking from your breasts, which is quite disconcerting, and I’ll explain a possible reason for this, apart from the obvious. However, we all do it, men and women, only women are better at it.

It has been shown that when we are walking toward each other from a distance, men and women, automatically check each other from head to foot. First time to check the sex of the person and second time to check the sexiness of the person.

Men are more likely to get caught checking out a females body, rather than looking them in the eye, because they have less peripheral vision than women. Women can look you in the face but still look at your body  because their peripheral vision is much better.

Our eyes contain two types of photo-receptors; rods and cones. Rods are responsible for scotopic vision, dark adapted vision. They also predominate the peripheral vision and women have more rods in their eyes than men do; hence why they have better peripheral vision and are better at seeing in the dark.

The Controlling Gaze

If you are looking to intimidate someone when you are talking to them, or are trying to control the conversation look at the area known as ‘the third eye’ which is the spot just between the eyebrows.

Many men do this to try and intimidate the people they are talking to and to try and control a conversation.

Can you tell if someone is lying with their eye movements?

Short answer to that is no. However, by looking at other body language signals and looking at their eyes you can get a good idea if someone is lying or not.

With the work of Bandler and Grinder and their excellent work on NLP we have an idea of how our eye movements relate to how we access information from the brain, which can help to tell is someone is lying or not.

Visual Accessing cues

(VC) Visual Construction: Looking up and to the left. The person is accessing information from their imagination andmight possibly be making it up. For example, if you asked someone what their dream home would look like they would, more than likely, look up and to their left.

If someone is lying about something and making stories up they might be using this eye movement.

(VR) Visual Remembering: Looking up and to the right.  This is when we are actually accessing a memory and picturing it in our heads.  It is more than likely that this is a memory that actually happened.  Ask your friend what they had for dinner yesterday and they will most likely look up and to the right.

(AC) Auditory Construction: Looking middle and to the left. This is where our eyes might go if we were constructing a sound in our mind.  For example if you asked a friend to think of what their voice will sound like when they are 80 years old, they would more than likely look in this direction.

(AR) Auditory Remembering:
Looking middle and to the right.  This is where our eyes might go if you were remembering a sound that you have heard before.  For example ask your friend what the sound of their partner sounds like and they will more than likely look in this direction.

(K) Kinesthetic: Looking down and to the left.  This is the direction your eyes might go if you were accessing your actual feelings about something.  For example, if you ask a friend about their feelings on the issues of capital punishment their eyes might go in this direction.

(AD) Auditory Digital: Looking down and to the right.  This is the direction our eyes might go when we are talking to ourselves.  We do this all the time and it is called self talk.  Believe it or not we talk to ourselves a lot and we can learn a lot about ourselves by paying attention to our self talk, but that is for another article.

The information above represents the majority of people, but it may  be different for some.  However, it is still possible to work out a persons representational system by observing them when you ask them questions.

Using the information above should get you started on the road to being able to read people using their eyes as signals. Remember, as with all body language signals, that they should be read together and not separately.

About Steven Aitchison

I am the creator of Change Your Thoughts (CYT) blog and love writing and speaking about personal development, it truly is my passion. There are over 500 articles on this site from myself and some great guest posters.

If you want to learn more about my products you can check out CYTGuides.com or check out my books and Kindle books on Amazon

* * * * *

So, writers. Do you use these signs when writing your characters? Did you even know what most of them meant? Do you look for these signs when speaking to others?

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I had never heard of the author, Ken Bruen. Perhaps not the best of starts, but I honestly don’t know where to begin with reviewing this book.

I picked ‘Blitz’ from the book shelf purely because it had Jason Statham on the cover. Okay, so I’m shallow, but Statham’s rugged stance was too persuasive and I buckled in a moment of weakness. It would appear this 2002 book was picked up by Hollywood and hit our screens in June of this year. I confess I totally slept though this period, but the promo on YouTube looks pretty good.

So, what’s this book about?

Basically, a tough cop has to find and stop a psychpath from killing police officers. It’s neat and it’s simple.

Then, I turned to Chapter One. The first paragraph reads:

THE PSYCHIATRIST STARED at Brant. All round the office were signs that thanked you for not smoking.

      The psychiatrist wore a tweed jacket with patches on the sleeves. He had limp, fair hair that fell into his eyes, thus causing him to flick it back every few seconds. This doctor was convinced he had Brant’s measure.

So, nothing wrong with that. Then it continued –

    He was wrong.
    Said:
    ‘Now, Sergeant, I’d like you to tell me again about your violent urges.’

‘Huh?’ I had to back up and re-read. I’d never seen a layout like this before and it threw me. In fact, for the first thirty pages it kept throwing me. Eventually, I came around to Bruen’s way but it wasn’t without a fight.

So, what kept me interested?

The story. There are three stories going on here. Well, actually there are four if you count the killer. And each story lets its character have its own point of view. There is Brant, who I thought would be the main character given the picture on the cover and the blurb on the back. How wrong was I! It’s a bit like Tarantion’s Pulp Fiction and, fortunately, I like this format. Plus the stories drew me in.

What I didn’t like was the ending. I won’t reveal what happens, but I felt very let down.

Would I read another Ken Bruen book? I would have to say ‘yes’. The strange layout aside, I found the story engaging, fast paced and the characters very real. I just hope the next Bruen novel I choose finishes with more of a bang.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Have you read any other Ken Bruen novels? Have you seen the movie version? Let me know.

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When I walk into a bookstore, the first place I go is to the crime aisle. I love crime. I love the pace of it, I love the urgency of it, and I love the mystery of it.

So, as an avid crime reader, I thought I’d review ‘Behind You!’ by Linda Regan.

Behind You! was Linda’s 2006 debut novel. She has since written three more novels; her fourth book, Brotherhood of Blades, has just been released by Severn House.

So, what’s this book about?

Well, it revolves around a murder at a local theatre and D.I. Paul Banham is called in to solve it. Simple. What? You want more? No way! If I tell you anymore, I may as well tell you who done it.

I read this book with great interest. Not only was it a good story with an engaging plot but, because the author herself is an established actress, I got an insightful ‘behind the scenes’ look at what goes on in the world of acting.

I am a slow reader and, combine this with the fact that I only manage to read an hour or so a day (if I’m lucky), there are not many books I can confess to finishing in under two weeks. However, because Linda’s writing is so neat and effortless, Behind You! kept me hooked from the start and I finished it within six days. Not a record for me, but well below my average reading time.

So, what kept me interested?

Well , for one, it’s a good little story. It’s completely set inside a theatre and I found the further in I read, the more I began to know my own way around the back stage corridors and dressing rooms. Secondly, I loved the characters. D.I. Banham is a great protagonist with lots of baggage. And, fellow officer, Alison Grainger makes for the perfect love interest.

This book is sharp, sassy and humorous. A very good read from a very talented writer.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Would you like to read it?

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