Category Archives: writing

The Brief-Case Affair – The Prologue

Here it is, the start of The Brief-Case Affair, my first comedy crime story starring Kevin and Marjorie Shakespeare. This is a work in progress so please feel free to make any comments (good or bad – I don’t mind as long as they’re constructive) at the end of this post. The more comments I get, the better a feel I’ll get for how this is being received, so please don’t be shy.

The Prologue

All right, take your seats, please. Hurry up now. Take your seats.

Settle down, Robert.

I don’t care if William has your pencil case. That is no excuse for sitting slumped on your chair with your tie askew, your jacket still on and your finger in Maisie’s ear.

I really couldn’t care less if it’s called a Wet Willy, Robert. The simple fact is we do not lick our fingers and stick them in anyone’s orifices.

No, Robert, not even our own.

No – ‘a Wet Willy for William’ is not acceptable either; no matter how alliteratively pleasing it may sound.

All right, can we settle down, please? Now, we are continuing on from our previous lesson. Now, who has done their homework on Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers?

I see. In that case has anyone read the passage with the policeman?

Yes, Matilda.

No, Willy Russell isn’t called Willy because he was given a Wet Willy. Willy Russell is called Willy because it is a diminutive, or shortening if you will, of the name William.

No, Maggie, that doesn’t mean we can start calling William Willy – not unless that is what he wishes to be called, that is.

Mr Priestly, that is not acceptable in my class.

I couldn’t give a tinker’s toss, Mr Priestly, threatening to drop your trousers to expose your willy to the class is neither big nor clever.

No, I’m not referring to its size – I’m referring to you, Mr Priestly.

Frankly, I don’t care what Kirsty says about your willy. It is neither relevant to this class, nor conducive to the educational atmosphere we are trying to create…

I’m trying to create it.

I really don’t think that is any of your business, thank you, Kelly.

Sorry?

Ah, now that is a very good question, Victor. Who can answer Victor’s question?

He asked what an orifice is.

Victor did.

An orifice.

That’s an office.

No, that is not the same thing, Matilda.

The appearance of several similar letters in a word does not make the words the same.

Does anyone have any sensible ideas of what an orifice is?

Nobody?

Well, orifice is a noun used to describe an opening into something. Frequently we use it to describe particular openings into the human body like a nostril. In this instance, I used it to describe the opening more commonly referred to as William’s ear.

Yes, Suzanne?

Suzanne, I really wish you’d pay attention in class. It really is important that you are alert and on the ball from the moment you arrive. Everything we talk about could be vital to your exams.

Ah – that is why I am the teacher and you are but a humble student.

Yes, well I know you’re not particularly humble. Perhaps if you followed Charlie’s example, you’d be getting better grades…

Charlie! What’s so interesting outside the window that you can’t pay attention to my class?

I don’t think it is.

I definitely don’t think it’s a canary – it looks more like a tit to me.

I think you are confusing yourself there, Martin. Charlie couldn’t possibly be a tit. Apart from the anatomical differences between tits and humans, Charlie doesn’t have the distinctive yellow, blue and white patterning that makes that bird a clear example of the common, garden-variety blue tit.

Yes, Martin, the difference, of course is that the blue tit has those colours naturally. Charlie has blonde hair and insists on caking her face with blue make-up. That’s entirely different.

I don’t think we need to refer to other people’s breasts in such a derogatory term, do we William?

Sorry, Suzanne?

Well, if you were paying attention, you’d know exactly what’s going on.

Excuse me?

What about my orifices?

Oh, I see. Yes. We were talking about orifices. Yes, Robert was trying to put a Wet Willy into William’s orifice, and Victor wanted to know what an orifice is. Does that answer your question?

Yes, Matilda, I imagine you can put real willies into orifices, but I have no intention of going down that line of conversation. Now, I think you’ve distracted me enough for one day. Can you please open your books to page…

Mr Priestly – I will not ask you again. I’m sure Maisie doesn’t appreciate that bouncing next to her ear.

Oh really, and what makes you so sure she does?

Well tell her to put it away. She shouldn’t have that out in class anyway.

Now who can tell me what the significance of the policeman visiting the two boys’ parents is?

Anybody?

In Blood Brothers.

The play we’re reading.

Yes, that one.

Michael?

I’m not sure that’s entirely relevant. You are, of course, correct. I did have a minor run in with the police over the holidays, but I don’t see the relevance with the question at hand…

What’s it like to spend time with policemen? Well, I spent my time with two detectives actually.

Yes, Robert, I suppose you’re right – detectives are not all too dissimilar to policemen.

Yes, well actually they are not all too different to anyone else in the world, really. They are human after all. They are flawed. They tell lies. They make mistakes just like anyone else.

Well, I was just happy to oblige really.

Yes, Harvey?

You’re dad said what about me?

Well, that’s just typical of the… of the small-minded and insignificant views of people who… who… who… know nothing about anything. Just because your dad read something in the paper, he thinks he knows all about it and thinks he… and thinks he has the right – no, the social status – to comment. At the end of the day the only people who know what happened are my wife and I, the police, and anyone who was in court when the case was brought before the magistrates. Anyone else is about as ignorant as… as… as something very ignorant indeed.

Your dad was one of the magistrates?

Well, there you are then. That just goes to show how invalid his view is. The case was too big for the magistrates. They had to send it straight up to the Crown Court. It was too important for it to be wasted on the limited abilities of such small-minded people…

Oh yes, Matilda, I would love the opportunity to set the record straight.

You’re right William. I should write a book about it. It would be a real corker. And, given my classroom experience, I know the sort of thing the exam boards want in a story: foreshadowing; creative descriptions; real hard-hitting drama that cuts right to the heart of civilisation. I wouldn’t be surprised if it would get selected as a set text for future GCSEs. Yes, you’re right. I should write it.

Oh. I couldn’t possibly tell you the story now, Suzanne; we’re far behind the course as it is.

Well, I don’t think it would be appropriate. I mean – it’s not really relevant to what we’re talking about in class today, is it?

Yes, I appreciate your input Robert, but I don’t think inserting a character called Wet Willy into my narrative will really help with my particular predicament.

Yes, yes – that’s true. I suppose I’d be giving you a taste of a future set text that could be in the syllabus. I tell you what, why don’t we put it to the vote? All those in favour?

Anyone against?

Well – I’m deeply touched. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced so much support in my life. And you’re not concerned you might miss out on something important from Blood Brothers if we do this?

Very well then. I am, if nothing, a slave to my students’ needs. I suppose I had better tell you my tale. Feel free to take any notes, and if I say anything that sounds really quotable and brilliant, please do jot it down. Knowing me, I’ll forget it by the time I get home…

Mr Priestly. If you don’t put that away, I’ll cut it off…

What do you think so far? Please feel free to let me know. They’ll be new chapters posted every couple of days so stay tuned for the next one.

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The Brief-Case Affair: or the story of a man who went looking for adultery and came back with a lemon

Here is your first look at my brand-new, comedy crime story, The Brief-Case Affair. I’ll begin posting chapters next week, but have a read of the blurb in the meantime and let me know what you think.

Would you pick this up if you saw the description (and cover)? Does it exude the humour vibe? Or does it just seem silly?

Let me know – all feedback is good feedback!

When a man suspects his wife, Marjorie, of having an affair, there are only two things he can do: assume her guilt and find another wife, or seek help from a private investigator.

Kevin did the latter.

But when the private investigator doesn’t quite turn out to be what Kevin expects, he is forced to investigate Marjorie’s affair alone, and uncovers a web of conspiracy that is so complicated that he hasn’t the first idea where to start.

Until Marjorie takes over…

hatter

From Crime to Comedy (and crime)…

In my last post, I alluded to the work I was doing on the next Giles novel, The Court of Obsessions. Since that post, a few things have changed for me and I think the time is now right for me to update you on the changes you can expect to see.

Some of you may have noticed a few subtle changes on my site. Most noticeably, the site is no longer called The Dark Corrupts Us All… and, instead, is simply called Nick R B Tingley – simple and to the point, I feel. There are a couple of reasons for this change, but before I go into the details, I feel that I should explain why these changes are coming about.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I’ve spent most of my life writing thrillers, crime dramas – pretty much anything dark and gloomy. And then I started my career as a ghost writer and discovered a lot of my clients thought my particular style was perfect for their comedic stories.

As time went on, I began to realise that my dark and gloomy earlier work was – well – depressing really. And if I, as a writer, was becoming depressed by it, that really wasn’t a good sign.

So now, after lots of advice from the people around me, I’m taking my (alleged) ability to create humour on the page and  branching out into comedy writing. I think testing comedy is essential, so I will be using this site to test out my work in its early stages – warts and all. Some of it may be funny, some of it may miss the mark – but it is all an integral part of the process.

Think of this site in the same way you would think of a comedian testing his work out at small comedy clubs before going out on tour.

That isn’t to say that I’m giving up on the crime fiction – far from it. When my head is the right place, I fully intend to return to DS Giles and finish what I started (and I also have a few other projects that I’d love to complete as well). But, in the meantime, I will be branching out into comedy, and I hope you find as much pleasure in this more light-hearted work than my previous novels.

SO – this is where we get to the exciting part.

I am delighted to announce that I am in the process of writing my first comedy novella and, as you might expect, I haven’t dropped the crime fiction aspect. I will be releasing chapters on this site over the next month or so, and would welcome any and all comments.

So, without further ado, I give you my first comedy crime story  – The Brief Case Affair.

The Brief-Case Affair

Stay tuned for the first few chapters coming soon!

Why Did I Want to Become a Writer? – Good Question…

 

Picture this.

A young Nick Tingley, still at school – probably about primary age – coming home one day and scooting up to his bedroom. On his bookcase, there are a fair number of books. Some of them have been read to death, others have hardly been touched at all. Occasionally he might stop and look at the whole expanse of vibrant covers. He would spend minutes at a time carefully examining each individual book for what he wanted…

But it was all kind of pointless really. He would invariably reach for the same one every time.

Few of his friends had heard of Gideon Gander Solves The Worlds Greatest Mysteries by David Henry Wilson. Those that had didn’t really make a point of reading it all that often. But Nick absolutely loved it. There was something about this quaint story of a farmyard gander who went around poking his nose into other people’s affairs and solving crimes that didn’t actually exist that inspired that young boy.

In fact, it was that book that fuelled Nick’s love of crime fiction. So I guess David Henry Wilson is to blame for it all…


Flash forward fifteen to twenty years or so. 

Nick Tingley is now grown up. Well, he’s supposed to be grown up – but in reality he still thinks very similarly to that young boy who used to read about Gideon Gander and his adventures. Only I suppose he’s a little wiser and more aware of the world around him.

He still stares at bookshelves for hours on end. Not necessarily because he wants to read something, but more because there is something oddly comforting about them.

You see, Nick Tingley suffers from extreme anxiety – most people would call it OCD. In fact Nick has been known to spend hours attempting to leave his apartment – he seems to get stuck in an endless loop of checking everything from locks to plug sockets. And it’s not because he is an overly cautious person normally – it’s just like there is some sort of demonic being inside his head, constantly poking and prodding at him, questioning every action and decision he makes.

He stares at the books, not because he is looking for something to read – most of the books he stares at are those he has read a dozen times before. No. He stares at them because they are the single fixed point in what is a constantly changing world. Those books will always be there. And they will never be anywhere other than precisely where Nick has put them…

And that is relaxing for him.

The only difference is that Gideon Gander is no longer on the shelves. That book disappeared a long time ago. Nick can’t even remember when and how…

When he’s writing, Nick is at peace. He writes because he enjoys it, he writes because he loves telling a good tale. But he also writes because the world outside is so complicated, and everyone seems to have their own opinion of it, which only serves to make it even more complicated. The stories that Nick writes are his way of explaining the world. He takes all the issues that he sees around him and condenses them down into a single problem. Then – using the narrative of his stories – he solves that problem.

In those hours, he can type away and dream and understand. In those hours, he can fly…

But there is still something not right…


There’s one more place I want to take you. 

A few weeks ago, I just happened to remember Gideon Gander. I recalled those hours I spent devouring that book and reading it again and again until the pages frayed and began to fall out.

I went online and I found it. It’s not been printed for a good time but, by some stroke of luck, someone was selling one second-hand (or third or fourth – I didn’t really care). I bought it and it arrived at my home a few days later. I held it in my hands and admired the front cover.

This was the book that inspired me to write.

This was the book that created my love of crime fiction.

This book allowed me deal with my own problems in a way that was fun, hard work and intensely rewarding.

All those hours and days and weeks and months of diligently ripping apart my own work, breaking it down and starting again; the characters and the plots and the unnervingly real settings all stemmed from the love of a single book.

And now I have it again. Sat on my desk at all times where I can’t miss it.

And it isn’t going anywhere.

 

 

Want a free read?

Are you an avid reader? 

Do you have an interest in historical fiction and/or mysteries? 

Do you want to read a free novella?

If your answer is yes to these questions, then I have something for you.

For the last few months, I’ve been writing a novella called The Butcher of Barclay’s Hollow. Set in England in 1855, it follows the story of Patrick Conroy, a butcher who has reluctantly been assigned the role of village policeman, as he’s called on to solve the unexplained death of a retired vicar. But, with the whole village set against him and waiting for him to fail, the unlikely policeman is forced to solve the case with little more than his own intuition and the help of a young girl.

I am on the look out for Beta readers to give me feedback (good or bad) on the story. So, if you’re interested in what you’ve read so far, and would be up for reading a story for free, then click here to be sent to Inkitt (where the story is currently being hosted) and send me your comments via Inkitt, Facebook, Twitter or through this contact form.

At 30,000 words (or thirteen chapters if you prefer), it is not a long story, but I’m sure you will find it a fascinating read nonetheless. I’m looking for a wide-range of viewpoints so, if you are interested in a free read, let me know what you think…

 

 

Sneaky Snippets 21/9/16

Ali wants to be a writer. Like most writers he knows that he not only has a book in him; he has a library. His imagination is teaming with great stories that he can’t wait to unleash on the world…

So he settles down and starts writing his story. It’s a novel with dragons and sword fights and damsels in distress. Whenever anyone asks him about it, he talks with enthusiasm and his friends respond by saying they’ll read it when he’s finished.

Ali makes good progress to start with. He writes a chapter a day – three to four thousand words in a matter of hours. Every day – without fail – after he gets home from work.

Pretty soon he is half way through. But then Ali starts to have a problem. He doesn’t know where he needs to go from here. His story sounds a little like that book he read a few months ago and, even though he knows he hasn’t copied it, he’s worried that people will say he has.

A little more cautiously now, he carries on – growing more and more concerned and unsure of himself with each chapter.

He stops talking about it to his friends – instead he talks about new ideas that he’s had that are much better than the novel he’s writing at the moment.

Eventually, he gives up writing the novel and starts on the new one instead. This one is much better. It’s about a spy fleeing a corrupt country with half the army on his tail. He ploughs through the first few chapters but something still isn’t right.

Soon he gives up this story for another one.

And then another one.

Until finally, Ali stops writing altogether. Instead he can be found lounging in front of his computer watching cat videos on Facebook. Or out in the pub drinking with his friends and making fun of guys in the street who are enthusiastically talking about the book they’re writing.

Pretty soon, Ali’s friends realise what they thought they knew all along.

Ali is never going to be a writer.

From Defeating Writer’s Block – ©Nick R B Tingley 2016

Sneaky Snippets is a weekly segment of short extracts of my work – usually something I’ve been working on in the past week or so.

Did you like what you read? Do you want to learn more about Defeating Writer’s Block?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments down below and subscribe!

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Knowing the Fate of my characters…

I’m a little bit sneaky in my stories – particularly in the Giles series. I’m in the process of planning the third Giles story and I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. So long, in fact, that some of the themes and story twists have managed to worm their way into The Bluebell Informant as I’ve been doing the final polishes on it – only subtly mind, but the references are there.

Is it important to the story? Not really.

Does it add anything? As a matter of fact, yes.

I don’t know about you, but I like to feel safe with my authors. I like to know that they have an overall plan for their characters – that their not just cracking a whip in whatever direction they please and hoping they’ll get a decent story out of it.

Those references are there to show people that I know where I’m taking my characters – that I know what fate has in store for them.

If people clock on to those references, then that’s just great. If not…?

Well, let’s just say I know they’re there. And those little nods to future books are what helps my stories come alive.

And I don’t think that’s a bad thing…