Sunday, 10 May 2020

The Perils Of Research

There has been some discussion on research for writers lately and I agree, it is important to check your facts when mentioning historical events. If I am writing a story set in the past I like to mention TV programmes of the time, politicians who were in the news, pop bands and sporting events etc. I think it helps to set the scene. My biggest problem, however, is getting sidetracked by interesting pieces of information while I'm supposed to be checking dates and places. As a result I have accumulated quite a bit of trivia knowledge which I'd like to share with you.
If you have any spare time (and who hasn't at the moment?) please feel free to add your own.
Here are just a few examples:

   The 1950s Robin Hood television series starring Richard Greene was created by US scriptwriters who could not write for American programmes due to them being blacklisted because of their left-wing views.

   Although The Saint TV programme starring Roger Moore was set in the 1960s, the character was created by author Leslie Charteris in 1928. If you are watching the re-runs on Freeview you might notice that not only does Charteris get recognition as a scriptwriter he is also given credit for the theme tune. Charteris set up residence in the USA but was not allowed citizenship because his father was Chinese.

   When Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain made the first of his three visits to meet with Hitler in Germany in September 1938 this was the first time he had flown.

   Hero of the 1966 Word Cup Final, Geoff Hurst, had also played professional cricket. He played one game for Essex in 1962. He scored no runs, did not bowl but took one catch.

 I look forward to whiling away an hour or two reading your contributions.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Highs And Lows

About a week ago I realised it was time I started blogging again.

The theme was going to be in stark contrast to the previous post in April (see below) when I'd had a good run of successes. Since then it has been rejection after rejection and I was going to highlight the fact that we have to accept the lows as well as the highs in this business. You're only as good as your last story and a whole load of published stories doesn't guarantee that you'll get another. A lean period can get you down but I was going to say that you just have to keep going even if you're not sure what you're doing wrong.

Then the e-mail came. I thought it was going to be another 'not quite there on this one, Keith' but it was two sales and I was back in the game. One was a brand new story and the other was a rewrite which, I had been told, needed a little more characterisation.

So it really does pay to just get your head down and write, write, write. Keep sending them out and try not to get disheartened.

Don't forget to enjoy yourselves too.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

A Good Week

It's been a good week so far.

A story in The People's Friend.

People's Friend Writer of the Week.

Another three stories sold.

Not only that but the cricket season starts tomorrow.

It's not going to rain is it?

PS Make that four stories sold. I've just had another e-mail from Shirley at People's Friend.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

It's Nearly All Over

Only a few days to go and we'll be back to normal adverts on the TV.

I get fed up with the same Chistmassy ones from early November that think they're being cute and clever. The only thing going for them in my opinion is that there are some great story ideas in there for us writers. These are the ones that have triggered my imagination this year:

The two sisters swapping Christmas presents who we then see in flashback fighting on the street as kids and comparing make-up in the bathroom as teenagers all to the soundtrack of Caravan Of Love. (Boots)

The young lad encouraging his sister to feed the reindeer and put the star on the tree. (Morrisons)

The BBC trailer with the little girl who wants to dance but her dad always seems busy. This one begs the question – where's mum?

Do you have any favourites?

Have a great Christmas everyone.

Monday, 13 November 2017

This Is What It's All About

We all live in the real world. We have jobs to do, bills to pay and promises to keep. Sometimes we get ill, lonely or depressed. We have no control over the circumstances into which we are born. Some are stinking rich, some dirt poor, but most of us are somewhere in between.

Given these inescapable facts of life it is fortunate that we have ways of distracting our minds from the drudgery of modern living. As writers we have an invaluable talent to offer a wormhole into another world. Our readers can escape to another time, another place. It doesn't matter if we make them laugh or cry. We can give them a fright, arouse their emotions or just give them something to think about. At the back of their minds they know that they can close the book, put down the magazine or switch off the Kindle.

When you've had a series of rejections or feel you've had a bad review remember that readers are spending their hard-earned money in exchange for a few minutes of escapism. After reading your work they will return to the daily grind having had a moment of respite. They may even tell someone else about the experience. Think of that when you feel undervalued.

We sell entertainment.

Write something today.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Interesting Or Just Unconventional?

Last month at Nottingham Writers' Club we were given an excellent talk by Siobhan Logan entitled Author at Work: the business end of writing. One of the pieces of advice she gave out was concerned with creating your writing CV. Today I've acted on that information and rewritten my profile. I've tried to make myself seem more interesting but I don't know if I've achieved that.

You be the judge:

Although he spent thirty five years as an engineer (a notoriously illiterate profession which communicates in abbreviations and acronyms), Keith Havers now applies his grammar school education in his occupation as an author. He has had short stories published in various magazines and anthologies and has also run writing workshops and judged several competitions.

Keith was born in Tamworth, Staffordshire where he inherited a rustic sense of humour from his Norfolk-born father and a healthy cynicism from his mother. He now lives with his wife in Nottingham where his time is split between being a writer and a college supervisor.

Despite working in the electronics industry for many years Keith is wary of the current obsession and reliance on technology as he believes it can stifle creativity. Also, he doesn't like the idea of carrying a gadget in his pocket that is smarter than he is.

In his spare time he likes to take a brisk bike ride and relive his sporting achievements as a Triathlon and Powerman competitor. But his main form of exercise these days is entertaining his two grandchildren – a far more exhausting activity.

Keith's website is at

His blog is at

He is also on Twitter @KeithHavers

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

One Day In June

I'm really pleased to have one of my longer stories in The People's Friend this week. I got the idea for it in a rather unusual way.

As some of you might know, 2016 saw the 50th anniversary of England's historic football World Cup victory and there were several books published on the subject. Although I'm no longer a football fan I browsed through a few just to evoke a few memories of the time. One book that caught my imagination was The 1966 World Cup Final: Minute by Minute written by Jonathan Mayo. This not only recounts the experiences of the players over that eventful weekend but also those of ordinary people around the country.

Some of the team do not even know whether they are playing or not on the morning of the match. At breakfast some try to catch the eye of manager Alf Ramsey but he is giving nothing away. Some people still have to work of course. There are the firemen in Maidstone who are called out shortly after West Germany score the first goal. There is a bus driver and his conductor, finding themselves with no passengers, who try to find a house on their route where they can watch some of the game. As Kenneth Wolstenholme announces that it's all over, a policeman loses his helmet in the crowd.

As soon as I read these extracts I wanted to write a piece of fiction in a similar style. But what event could I choose? The only time I could think of, where the whole nation was glued to either the television or radio, was the 1953 coronation. So I created a group of characters in situations all over England who, in their own unique way, were affected by the events of the day. I hope I made it entertaining. Thank you, Jonathan Mayo.