Category Archives: Chris Rhatigan

Guest Blog: Conflict by Chris Rhatigan

Rhatigan-photo-200x300One Thing Every Reader Wants to See

A manuscript arrives in the All Due Respect inbox. It sits there for some time.

Might be a day, might be a week, might be an hour.

At some point, usually in the morning with a thermos of coffee, I open the manuscript.

There’s one thing I’m looking for from the first sentence.

I’m looking for conflict.

You may have heard this a hundred times, but there’s a reason for that: It’s easy to forget about conflict. You might focus on any number of other things—the details of setting or how to make your protagonist more likable.

But I can tell you that editors are always looking for conflict. So are literary agents, publishers, and just average readers.

You may have a 300-page manuscript with a dynamite ending, but if you don’t establish conflict in the first 20 pages, your manuscript is unlikely to make the cut.

Open any book on the shelves of your local bookstore and you’re likely to see conflict in the first paragraph, if not the first sentence. Take this opening sentence from Lee Child’s The Hard Way:

“Jack Reacher ordered espresso, double, no peel, no cube, no china, and before it arrived at his table he saw a man’s life change forever.”

The reader knows from the first moment what this book will be about. The implied question—who is this man whose life has changed forever and how will Reacher become involved?—pushes the reader forward.

adrThe conflict in the first few pages need not be the core of your novel’s plot. For example, one of the first novels our press published was Uncle Dust by Rob Pierce. The novel begins with Dust, a bank robber, discovering he is missing two hundred dollars. Dust goes on a mission to find the money, roughly interrogating his girlfriend and her kid.

The protagonist wants something and other characters are in his way. It doesn’t matter that it’s a small amount; he will not stand losing the money. This is a small conflict setting up a larger conflict that also tells the reader a bit about Dust’s character.

It’s possible an editor or agent will continue reading past page 20 if you have an engaging voice or a fascinating character.

It’s much more likely they will continue reading because you’ve established conflict.

Chris Rhatigan is a freelance editor and co-publisher of All Due Respect Books.

More 5 STAR Reviews For Too Many Crooks

too-many-crooks
Too Many Crooks

Over at Amazon.com, Hector Duarte Jr says:

on March 7, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition

Paul Brazill gives us another slice of Brit Grit in the unique style only he can wield. With characters ranging the class, (and moral), spectrum, Too Many Crooks is just that. A tale of too many people chasing the wrong kind of loot. Think, it’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World but with a couple more of those adjectives thrown in there.

Settle in, pour yourself a couple of pints, and get ready for a mad, fun dash through Europe’s seedy– and oft-times funny–underbelly.

 

And Chris Rhatigan says:

on March 7, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Plenty of gallows humor and dive bars in this short, sharp read that alternates between London and Poland. Another winner from Brazill.

Recommended Read: All Due Respect Magazine 6

adr 6The sixth issue of All Due Respect Magazine is another beaut slice of pure hardboiled fiction.

You get gamblers, wrestlers, bank robbers, juvenile delinquents, drunks, and double crosses galore. Every story is a gem but Wayne Kershaw Goes to Church by C.J. Edwards is particularly good and is as noir as it gets.

The magazine is, as usual, rounded off with some terrific reviews of  some tasty crime fiction and is highly recommended.

Recommended Read: Wake Up, Time To Die by Chris Rhatigan

wake up time to dieWake Up, Time To Die by Chris Rhatigan is a corkscrewed collection of 12 darkly comic short stories that masterfully mixes the mundane with the bizarre.

There are lives of quiet desperation, small time crooks, wanna – be hit men, a heroic Bruce Springsteen, a vengeful Furby and more.

Wake Up, Time To Die  – published by the splendid Beat To A Pulp – is occasionally  disturbing, sometimes tragic, frequently laugh-out-loud funny and a great example of writing on the razor’s edge.

Recommended Read: All Due Respect Magazine 5

adr 5The latest issue of ALL DUE RESPECT magazine is a knockout.

Edited by Chris Rhatigan and Mike Monson, ADR is proving itself to be one of the best pulp magazines on the market. Even though they publish my stuff!

The magazine opens with Broken Prayer, an atmospheric and very well written novel excerpt from Steve Weddle– who is interviewed by Jed Ayres later in the magazine. This is a very tasty slice of what is sure to be a beaut book.

Next up is Keith Rawson’s marvelous Alkaline – a delirious and blackly comic road trip. A kind of noir primal scream.

My story The Last Laugh is next, and after that is  Angel Luis Colon with the story of a gambler whose luck runs out. A classic slice of hardboiled fiction.

Garnett Elliot‘s story is as gritty as can be and a great look at life at the bottom. Great characters and a perfectly pitched ending.

Gabino Iglesias gives us a tale of waking up in a motel with a mashed up face. A cracking story, full of atmosphere, great images and cruel humour.

Joe Sinisi’s The Faces Of The Dead Ones is a brutal but touching love story which ends the magazine’s fiction section with a bang.

As usual, ALL DUE RESPECT magazine finishes with an interview- the aforementioned Weddle/ Ayres double act – and a fistful of interesting reviews of books from the likes of Donald Westlake and Nigel Bird.

The fifth issue of ALL DUE RESPECT magazine is well worth your time and cash.

The Last Laugh in All Due Respect Magazine

adr 5I was very pleased to have a story in the first issue of ALL DUE RESPECT MAGAZINE and am also pretty damned chuffed to have a new one The Last Laugh in the fifth  issue. Here’s the blurb: ADR‘s heads to the Bayou with an excerpt from Steve Weddle‘s upcoming novel Broken Prayer and an interview with the Needle editor. More of the mean, gritty crime fiction we’re known for from Keith Rawson, Paul D. Brazill, Angel Luis Colón, Garnett Elliott, Gabino Iglesias, and Joe Sinisi.

ADR 5 is out now!

Exiles Guest Post: Midnight Train to Delhi by Chris Rhatigan

exiles artizan

My story in the EXILES  anthology is “Midnight Train to Delhi.” Unlike most of my stories, this one is based on a specific experience. My wife, Melanie, and I have lived in India for the last two years. (This is the first story I’ve written that’s set here.)

We traveled around the country in the winter of 2012. One of our favorite cities was Jodhpur. There’s an incredible fort on a hill there, a relic from the Maharaja era. The entire city is a maze of alleys lined with blue houses. The food’s great. We stayed at a wonderful guest house with a very welcoming family. We were there for about a week and got a good feel for the place. We wandered around the city frequently.

One day we got lost in the alleyways and a bunch of kids began pelting us with rocks. Not really sure why they did this. In any event, we left on a very early morning train back to Delhi. We took an auto-rickshaw to the station and the city was empty. I remember it vividly because the narrow streets always bustled with all matter of traffic–pedestrian, car, scooter, goat, cow–and it was silent and quiet on the way to the station.

We arrived at the station exhausted and mildly confused about which train to take. We were standing at a platform when a group of high school boys on a school trip came up and started talking to us. There are very few white people in India, so we tend to attract a lot of attention–usually people just want to take a photo with us, for some reason. A couple of these high schoolers wanted to practice their English with us, which was fine. But before we knew it, there was a group of about thirty boys crowded around us. One of them asked if we spoke Hindi. We said we didn’t. (This was a rookie mistake.) He started saying dirty things in Hindi to my wife. All his friends laughed. They started crowding in closer. We tried ignoring them. They surrounded us–the one guy egging the rest of them on. It was the only time while I’ve been in India that I was scared. Their teacher just walked by like nothing was happening–that guy is a spineless piece of shit.

Then a train station security guard–a woman–blew a whistle and waved a cricket bat around. The high schoolers scattered, and we took a long, relieved breath. Most of the time being a foreigner here means you’re privileged. But the status can be a double-edged sword.

The story I wrote is a composite–in part it’s this experience, in part it’s based on the stories foreigner women have told me. Single women (or women who happen to be traveling without a guy) are frequently harassed–lewd comments, groping, constant unwanted attention. It’s a real problem. And a good subject for a crime story.

Bio: Chris Rhatigan is the editor of All Due Respect. He is the author of more than fifty published short stories and the book The Kind of Friends Who Murder Each Other.

The Bucket List at All Due Respect

adr 1I’m more than somewhat chuffed that my story The Bucket List will be included in the upcoming debut issue of  All Due Respect magazine.

The full line up is:

Chris F. Holm
Paul D. Brazill
Walter Conley
Travis Richardson
Renee Pickup
Todd Robinson
Mike Miner

With a great pulp cover from Eric Beetner.

All Due Respect is edited by Chris Rhatigan & Mike Monson and published by Full Dark City Press.

 

 

Bits And Bobs.

noir

… well I gave a short  REVIEW OF 2012 over at VIC WATSON’S blog … at CHRIS RHATIGAN’S DEATH BY KILLING,  I chose five of my favourite short stories of 2012 … and AJ HAYES included my flash story, RETURN OF THE TINGLER – which was at SHOTGUN HONEY- in his FIVE YOU CAN’T MISS.

TA!

 

OFF THE RECORD 2 – AT THE MOVIES : COMING SOON!

Looking tasty, eh? Great cover by Steven Miscandlon. More info and cast list at Luca Veste’s Guilty Conscience.

Watch You Drown by Chris Rhatigan.

If ever there was an American equivalent of the Brit Grit writings of, say, Nigel Bird or Luca Veste, then it must be the stories in this fantastic début collection.


With Watch You Drown, Chris Rhatigan  mixes up micro fiction, flash fiction and short stories that show us slices of life that are far from cosy and that pull a tattered rug from under the protagonists without a moments notice.


Rhatigan shines a torch on people at the bottom trying to dig themselves out of a hole and only getting deeper and deeper under. People with no hope. People with messed up ideas. And people who can’t help but screw up. Crime, noir, social realism, black comedy and more. Just like in life.


Watch You Drown is a dark, realistic and funny collection of tarnished gems from a very talented craftsman. Highly recommended.