Monkeys with Typewriters : a review

Monkeys with Typewriters
By Scarlett Thomas
Published by Canongate
Reviewed by Jessica Patient

The great thing about Monkeys with Typewriters is that Scarlett Thomas is a fiction expert who has used her experiences of teaching writing and writing fiction to create this helpful book. Thomas currently teaches creative writing at Kent University, England and she is the author of eight novels, including The End of Mr. Y and Our Tragic Universe. I am a big fan of Thomas’ fictional work and I was really glad when a copy of Monkeys with Typewriters arrived on my doormat.

The book is split into two sections – theory and practice. I enjoyed the second part the most especially the chapter called ‘Beginning to Write a Novel.’ Here, we learn that writing a novel doesn’t happen in one huge setting but needs to be broken down into smaller bitesize chunks. I really want Thomas to write a sequel about novel writing.

The Frustrations of Plotting Crime Fiction

Guest Article by Karen Charlton
Artwork by Bradley Wind

Successful crime fiction needs the fertile imagination of a confident author who can plot with the precision of an engineer, while juggling motive, clues, suspects and conflict like a circus clown. It can be a frustrating process.

Crime fiction is essentially plot driven, which is rather annoying when you consider that it is primarily the strong character of the sleuths whom everyone remembers. From Sherlock Holmes to Miss Marple, Rebus to Morse, this truth is self-evident. No matter how well they are crafted, crime and thriller plots are easily forgotten. Yet, crime fiction demands a compelling and credible plot to sweep the reader to a satisfying dénouement.