Author Talk

I had a lovely talk this morning with Ania at the Campbelltown library. They are going to host an Author Talk, featuring, me. Date and time to be determined, but we’re looking at the October / November time frame.

The biggest challenge I have as a writer is getting visibility. I have 18 books to choose from, but (and I did the math) 99.999975% of the world’s population has no idea I write. My goal over the next twelve months is to lower that to 99.9975% (or better).

This will be my first library hosted Author Talk. I have a general idea of content, but I’d like to hear from readers.

What would you like to hear from an author at an Author Talk?

Let me know below.

In the meantime, here’s me talking about my books, and writing.

ChatGPT: Why Story Structure is Important

I asked ChatGPT to write a blog post about the importance of story structure. While not bad, I wouldn’t call it good. I don’t feel threatened.


Here it is (edited slightly for some really bad grammar I couldn’t abide):

Stories have been an essential part of human communication for thousands of years. From the earliest cave paintings to modern-day films, stories have served as a way to convey meaning, emotion, and information. However, the success of a story depends not only on its content but also on its structure. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of story structure and why it is crucial for any writer or storyteller to master.

What is Story Structure?

Story structure refers to how a story is organized and presented to its audience. It is the framework that gives a story its shape and coherence. A well-structured story has a clear beginning, middle, and end and follows a specific narrative arc that engages the audience and keeps them interested.

The Importance of Story Structure

  1. It helps to create suspense and tension.

A well-structured story keeps the audience engaged by creating suspense and tension. It sets up the conflict, introduces the characters, and builds towards a climax that resolves the conflict. The audience is invested in the outcome, and the tension keeps them on the edge of their seats.

  1. It makes the story easier to follow.

A story with a clear structure is easier for the audience to follow. It guides them through the narrative and helps them understand the relationships between the characters and events. This makes it easier for them to connect with the story and become emotionally invested in the outcome.

  1. It gives the story coherence.

A story with a clear structure has a coherence that satisfies the audience. The events and characters are linked in a way that makes sense, and the resolution of the conflict feels earned. This coherence makes the story feel like a complete and satisfying experience.

  1. It helps the writer to stay on track.

A clear story structure can also help the writer to stay on track. It provides a roadmap for the story and helps the writer avoid getting lost in the details. This can be particularly helpful when working on longer fiction pieces, such as novels, where it is easy to lose sight of the overall narrative.

Elements of Story Structure

There are several elements of story structure that writers should be familiar with:

  1. The Beginning: This is where the story sets up the conflict and introduces the characters.
  2. The Middle: This is where the story develops the conflict, and the characters face obstacles and challenges.
  3. The Climax: This is the high point of the story, where the conflict is resolved.
  4. The End: This is where the story wraps up, and the characters are changed by their experiences.

In addition to these elements, many stories have subplots and secondary conflicts that add depth and complexity to the narrative.


In conclusion, the importance of story structure cannot be overstated. A well-structured story is engaging, easy to follow, and satisfying for the audience. It also helps the writer to stay on track and avoid getting lost in the details. By mastering the elements of story structure, writers can create stories that captivate their audience and leave a lasting impression.

So what do you think? Should I hang it up?

In Defense of Structure

I am predisposed to structure in almost everything.

When I first started writing (Matt’s War — read about it here), I had no idea how traditional story structure worked. I knew there were three Acts, but frankly, I had no idea what each Act consisted of, how to transition between the Acts or how much of the story was made up by each Act.

I had finished Matts’s War’s first draft when I learned how all successful movies and books are structured.

Now I need to be clear, all stories and movies that follow a good structure aren’t successful. The story needs to be good and the characters compelling. But a good story with compelling characters but poorly structured won’t resonate with readers or viewers.

So if story structure is so important, you’d think everyone would jump on it, but some still believe the mere existence of structure means a story is cookie-cutter with no originality.

I mentioned I have a predisposition to structure. I’m an Engineer by education and training. We don’t build something until we have a plan, whether it’s a computer, bridge, or building.

I see story structure as a blueprint. A line drawing of the cabinet you want to make. It contains the necessary elements to make a functional cabinet but leaves a lot up to the cabinet maker (or author). The type of wood, the finish, the quality of the hinges, all of that is up to the maker.

Same with story structure. I go more into it here (and more will be added in the future).

When I learned of this, the scales fell from my eyes. I had to make massive structural edits to Matt’s War. It has some of my best reviews yet.

So to the story structure deniers, deny all you want, but pick any successful book or movie, and I will show you, in detail, its underlying structure.

Book Review: Heritage House

Heritage House: A Cape Breton Mystery

As a transplanted Canadian now living in Australia, the fact this was set in Cape Breton (the island of my birth) was the hook. The characters were familiar, the setting well-drawn, and to my delight, the mystery well-formed.

I understand there are other stories in this series (and I’ll have to look them up), but that doesn’t seem to matter.

The story takes place post-pandemic (referenced a few times for plot reasons) and centres around a murder on Isle Madame, Detective Gordie MacLean’s home turf. Detective MacLean and his junior partner Detective Roxanne Albright are assigned the case. Albright is put in charge (for reasons), and the only reason this isn’t a 5-star review is the reaction MacLean had to this. It felt like forced conflict for the sake of it. Again, I haven’t read the earlier books, so maybe it’s in character.

The story unfolds nicely. The resolution doesn’t require any author sleight of hand — it’s earned. Plenty of legit red herrings and a couple of double bluffs will keep you guessing. And while you might figure out the “who”, you’ll unlikely know the “why” before the author deigns to reveal it.

A definite recommend. I’ll be checking out her other books now.

Book Sprout

I confess to having never heard of these folks before a week ago.

Book Sprout allows readers to find books to read and review, and authors to find readers, and thus reviews. I set up an account a few days ago (a very reasonable monthly subscription), so it’s a little early to say how effective it is, but I’ll be sure to pass on the efficacy after a month or so.

I’ve put my three Nick Harding novels up there if you’re a reader.

Pop by and look me up. And if you check out one or more of my books, be sure to leave a review.

Looking for ARC Readers

Dead Tomorrow will be available on Amazon (eBook) and everywhere in paperback format on May 1. It’s available for pre-order on amazon now (as an eBook) and will be available for pre-order in paperback format in about a week.

I’m looking for avid readers who enjoy a fast-paced crime story to provide ARC reviews on Amazon for me. Got to get that algorithm working for me.

ARC copies are available now. They will be pdf copies. If you’re interested and think you can read (or attempt to read) a 70k book and review it by May 1, please leave a comment below, and we’ll chat, and I’ll send you a personalised copy.

Available now for preorder. Help me kick the Amazon algorithm in the arse. If the description below interests you, please preorder at Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Looking forward to hearing from you all.

#KindleUnlimited / KDP Select

In an attempt to raise the visibility of the books which lead into “Dead Tomorrow” (coming to all good and shitty bookstores in May 2023), I‘ve placed “Broken” and “Unprotected Sax” in the KDP Select program on Amazon.


Broken is Nick Harding’s last case. Nick is a former member of the Australian Federal Police who specialised in financial crimes. He left the AFB almost a decade ago and set himself up as a PRivate Investigator.

Nick Harding has a new case. Actually, two of them.

A very rich old dude is about to kick off and is desperate to make amends with his estranged son. Nick is contacted by the old guy’s lawyer with a task: Find the son, convince him to get in contact with his father, and help mediate the relationship.

Nick hates mediating.

That same day a friend of a friend engages him to track down a serial deadbeat who has bilked a small financial services company out of millions of dollars. The fee is lower, but the job is more up Nick’s alley.

Then the heir’s life is threatened, the deadbeat has a compelling backstory and everything Nick thought he knew was wrong.

Amazon AU | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

Unprotected Sax

Unprotected Sax came out over a decade ago. The main antagonist in this story was a Rusiian mobster in South Florida named Vladimir Petrovski.

In “Dead Tomorrow (coming to all good, mediocre, and shitty bookstores everywhere in May 2023), Petrovski reappears, with good reasons (for him) and proves to be a worthy adversary.

Amazon US | Amazon AU | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

Scrivener Templates – Again

I use a couple of different templates when I’m writing. One, a 4-part novel template for Scrivener, has been linked by several websites and unfortunately, that link now goes nowhere.

This is/will be the new landing post for templates. They generally follow the structure I talk about elsewhere on this site.

You need to right-click this link (don’t click it. It won’t do you any good) and save the file in a location you can’t forget (let’s go for desktop, for now).

When you start a new Scrivener project, you’re presented with a window that allows you to select a template. The bottom left of that window is an “Options” button that allows you to import a template:

Navigate to the Desktop (or wherever you’ve saved the download) and select the template. It’ll be an option (under Fiction) going forward.

I also use an 8-part “mini-movie” template when writing screenplays. It’s a bit more streamlined than the 4-part (counter-intuitively) because I’m not breaking it into chapters.

If you’re interested, right-click here and follow the directions above.

REMEMBER: Right-click and save. Don’t just click on the link.

If you’ve got any questions, please drop a comment below.