The Real Life Setting of DECEPTION

I think this blog will be interesting for those of you who have read DECEPTION: A Love of Lies, and those of you who write. This is all about the establishment of the setting of the novel. Although the novel is fictional, the location itself is very real – with some slight twists.

The DECEPTION woodlands and its surroundings

I put out a post on my Instagram – showing off the locations of where my book DECEPTION is based.

Here are those photos and the post if you missed it:

DECEPTION woodlands - the road leading to Eve's
A view of the road that leads to Eve’s home. The very road where Billy follows her home.
DECEPTION woodlands first scene
The opening scene – Billy watches Eve walking her dog.
DECEPTION woodlands
The lining of trees, one of which Billy climbs up… those who have read my book will know why he does and what happens 🙄😬

Some background…

These woodlands are out the back of my childhood home. I used to love going down there with my friends to play all sorts of games, build bases and simply explore. And because I spent about 70% of my childhood there, I knew the woodlands like no one else.

Why my childhood woodlands?

I did consider creating a fictional woodlands for the story, but it wouldn’t have been the same; I needed an authentic woods to base my novel around.

I needed to know the woodlands like the back of my hand. Otherwise I would have been drawing a layout for the woodlands on a piece of paper and using that as a map to plot out Billy’s moves. But that wouldn’t have worked, and I wouldn’t have been able to go into the details that I manage to go into in the book about the woods.

The woods drive the story and characterisation. They allow the reader to become the protagonist, Billy Allen, and to really understand the mindset of Billy.

For the story to work I needed to know so much about the woodlands:

  • How they smell
  • How they look in different seasons
  • Where the trees are
  • Where there is or isn’t coverage from trees or hedges
  • Where the quieter parts of the woodlands are
  • Where people actually walk their dogs
  • How the woodlands made me feel
  • Where the pathway runs through the woods
  • Where you could realistically hide

That’s why I decided to choose my childhood woodlands – I had literally explored EVERYWHERE.


Thanks for reading guys. Hopefully this gave you some insight into how I wrote DECEPTION and how I decided on the characterisation and setting for my novel.

If you want to see the woodlands in action, then why not check out DECEPTION?

The 5* psychological thriller that won’t let you look at passing dog walkers the same.

“Through the stark and leafless trees, I see her.

I remember the first day I saw her; an instant attraction. I think she’s beautiful. She has such pensive blue eyes; they remind me of a blue sky right before the sun descends. Every time I see her I want to talk to her, I want to get to know her, and I want to be her friend.

She usually completes the lower woodland walk in six minutes and forty-two seconds; she misses the deeper woodlands and goes home, I believe.

I walk down the road at the same speed as her. She reaches the crossroads at the bottom of the road, looks both ways, and then jogs across into the garden of a house. I stop walking and concentrate on which house is hers.

I can’t stare too long but I am intrigued already, I will come back.”

—————————————————–

Reviews for DECEPTION

“This is a beautifully written gem of a psychological thriller, very creepy and atmospheric.”

“Be warned, though; this is an unsettling read at times, especially if you’re reading it in the dark just before going to bed.”

“A psychological thriller that leaves you breathless.”

“If you are looking for an edgy, addictive read, this is it!”

Read DECEPTION on Kindle

From 17676 to 31473 – progress on my WIP

It’s been a while since I last posted some progress on my latest novel.You know the one, the one that’s currently untitled but secretly titled? Don’t worry, I’ll be revealing the title soon enough.

The last time I posted an update on here my untitled book was at the 17676 word count mark. Now it’s 31473.

It’s just numbers I know, but I’m happy to say I’m on track for release in 2020. But let’s not jinx it.

A cheeky teaser for you all

So what’s the last sentence you wrote T. J.? I hear you cry.

Well, this:

“I said I was sorry,” Arabella groans to the empty room.

We want more!

Ok:

Arabella wakes to the rippling sting on the side of her face.

But that’s all you’re getting today!

‘Untitled’ will be publicly titled soon enough

I am working on the unveiling of the title, so keep an eye out for that.

It will all come out here on my blog, and on my social pages (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) very soon.

17676 words into my untitled novel

A great deal more progress has been made in my latest novel.

I’m currently writing chapter 8, which is just shy of 5k words alone. It’s the biggest chapter in the novel without a doubt. It’s based on the 15 year anniversary show of Arabella’s.

This is one of the lines written in chapter 8:

Above all, he loves fear. Arabella knows this because the more frightened she feels, the wider his smile becomes.

Naming the book

Well, I still don’t have a name. However, there are a few names being thrown around.

My partner is calling the book something whilst I’m calling it something else. It’s funny and everything, but I really want a name already!

I’m sure we’re close to a name now though, it won’t be long!

1199 words written. 537 edited. “Untitled” book progress.

In my writing session today I managed to write 1199 words in chapter 8 of my next novel. 537 words edited too.

This was the last line written…

Untitled novel last line

A quick update on my writing

I’m not afraid to admit, this book is a welcomed challenge. But it is that, a challenge.

The first challenge, my time is limited to write. It’s a real shame as I really want to get this book written and into the editing phase.

Secondly, it’s a different kind of book. The narrative is unique and the voice is dissimilar to my other novels. However, the story itself is mysterious, gothic, dark and suspenseful, which I love.

It has great potential this one. It’ll be similar to DECEPTION in the way that readers will need to pay attention in this one.

Book title update

No luck yet. However, I have a few that are floating around.

None of them feel right, but I’ll continue to write this story and see if one jumps out at me suddenly.

Why do you guys think Arabella feels far from safe?

Writers are ‘losing control’ over their characters. But is this really possible?

I tweeted about a problem writers are facing. A seemingly ruthless and universal issue that shows no mercy. The problem? Misbehaving and disobedient fictitious characters.

What is losing control over your character?

Many writers talk about occasions when their character does something that they (the writer) simply didn’t expect or allow.

Maybe their character absolutely loves eating apples, but no matter what, the author just can’t stop their character from eating goddamn bananas.

I don’t know about you but this process of a character changing or doing something against your will is completely ludicrous. There is simply no way that a fictional character can dictate their own actions against you, the author, their god.

Fictional characters DO become real beings though… in your head and on paper

Sure, fictional characters become real, living, breathing, walking, talking beings in our heads, in our words and in our stories. They, however, cannot make a single decision without you. For a start, they’re a floating individual or group in your head. They don’t have their own mind, like a real person. Only in their fictional world.

As a writer, you are the character. You make their decisions and you control their behaviour. So if there is any behavioural change to your character, then that’s down to you as the writer and god of your fictional universe, not the character.

It’s character personality development rather than character defiance

It happens in a story. A character’s personality, behaviour and mannerisms can change, just like a real life person’s personality changes over time. Personality change is the result from life experience. This is something that happens in the real world and fictional universe.

Imagine yourself ten years ago, think about where you were in your life and how it affected you. Were you a different person? If so, why? Maybe you weren’t as confident as you are now. Maybe you say certain phrases that you would never say now. Maybe you now like a certain food that you never liked before. It could be any kind of behavioural change, but it all dwindles down to life experience.

It’s more impressive when writers ensure their character’s personality developments from their experiences. Whether the experience is part of their backstory or are the effects of the narrative we’re following.

Why do writers say their character is defying them and doing what they want?

It’s for effect. It makes it seem to others that they’re so wrapped up in their creative world that they’re part of the universe. Or that their character has escaped their fictional world and joined them in the real world – sounds like the bloody Matrix films now.

Simply put, writers have an overactive imagination. It’s what helps us to come up with the stories we come up with.

I have all sorts of random thoughts in my day-to-day life, creating various scenarios in my head.

Picture this: I walk in the front door after work. It’s dark upstairs. “I bet there’s a axe wielding maniac up there hiding in my wardrobe,” I think to myself. I walk up the stairs anyway without turning the lights on.

My Conclusion

I’ve said it already, but writers are gods of their fictional worlds. They’re in control of every single aspect of their world, including the development of a story and their characters. If a character swears, the writer allowed them to. If they order a pint, it’s because the author wanted them to. If they end up killing someone, it’s cause the writer allowed it.

You may not always agree with your character or condone what they do, say or think, but you created them. It’s because of you that they act a certain way or have a belief in your fictional world.

Sorry fellow writers who say their characters are going rogue, in my opinion, it’s simply not the case. It’s part of your imagination and you like the thought that your character is a real person who makes their own decisions. To some extent they do make their own decisions, but it’s down to you what decisions they make, whether it’s the right or wrong decision. But that’s part of the fun, isn’t it? Living a different life and doing things that we can’t always do in our normal lives.

We can live a different life through our characters.

Get in touch if you are a firm believer in lacking control of your characters

If you’ve ever experienced losing the control of your character and they do what ever the hell they want, get in touch. Tell us what happened!

A successful morning writing session… in my pjs!

My New Year’s Eve morning was spent working on my latest novel.

You can’t beat a morning writing session, especially when you’re slumming it in your pyjamas with a Groot mug.

Now that I’m 3900 words in across three chapters, it’s time to hand over the story to my harshest critic, the other half.

T. J. Blake's morning writing session in his pjs

The Verdict

Luckily, she liked what she read. A couple of good points for me to consider too, but on the whole, she really enjoyed it.

You may think she’s biased. Trust me, she isn’t, she’ll tell me if something is complete rubbish or not!

Are you a fellow writer who writes in their pjs?

Feel free to send a snap and let me know where you are at with your latest novel!

Planning a Novel – I’m trying out something new!

The development of my previous five books all followed a similar format – first came the initial idea, then the fabrication of the world and the characters within it, and then a basic outline of the story’s journey. This usually took the form of my thoughts combined with the plot outline on my iPhone notes; which seems ridiculous looking back!

With a new book currently in development, I wanted to try something a little different in preparing myself to write it.

Time and patience is the key to writing an effective novel. The initial planning and development of a story is more important than the writing itself.

My novel latest novel, DECEPTION: A Love of Lies, relied heavily on the characterisation and plot of the story. This is what drove the story. The initial idea was very different to how DECEPTION is now, but the time spent on researching and developing the plot is what made it the big hit it is today.

So, how am I changing my novel planning process?

I’m still embracing my mental plotting, but I’m taking the approach of jotting it down on paper, which is why I’ve got my own book planning notebook now!

Novel Planning Notebook T. J. Blake

As dull as the image is above, this little notebook of mine has book titles, plots, quotes, character profiles and backstories inside it. I’ve separated the various elements of the novel up. The notebook currently contains a book title page, character profile page, character background page, key events page, quotes page, writing inspo page and genre theme page.

With the divided pages, I’m able to jot down my ideas in basic note form. All the ideas I note down aren’t guaranteed to feature in the book when I come to write it, but it allows me to plaster my ideas and let me review it over time when the time arrives for me to start writing and put the plot together.

My character profile and background pages were looking very full to begin with, mostly because the protagonist in this novel was the key to the story; it all started with her (there’s an exclusive for you all!).

What’s your planning process?

I’d love to know what your novel planning process is. If you’ve tried many ways to plan your books and have both terrible and great experiences, I’d love to hear them!

New Year’s Eve – What’s to come in 2018? The next Endurance & a new Alive eBook cover

Endurance front cover

It’s New Year’s Eve. Do you want to know what I’m doing right now? I’m writing. Finally!

I’m not afraid to admit, I am quite disappointed in myself, mostly because I didn’t nearly spend enough time writing for the year of 2017. I’ve been writing more than ever, but not in terms of writing creatively for my books.

Having changed jobs and started a writing business, my time has been taken up by these two things. I guess that just happens, life gets in the way. Even so, it’s still disappointing!

Something I have found though from my 3 hour writing spree is that I haven’t lost the passion or enjoyment whilst working on the final book of The Endurance Series.

I’ve been working on Endurance 3 since I finished my last book, Deception, back in 2016. And here we are in 2017, on the brink of 2018, still a lot of work to do before the last instalment is released – it’s worth the wait though!

Endurance is coming to an end… or is it?

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 15.13.01

The plot and story of the final chapter in the series, Endurance: Recovery, is all planned out. All that is left to do is to write it.

Only 12,500 words into the book so far, and a lot has happened already!

If you enjoyed the fast pace, action and gore in the first two books, then you’re going to love this one too!

I won’t go into too much detail about the characters in this one because there’s potential for spoilers. So we’ll just say this – if you’re hungry for more kick-ass fighting, blood and infected maniacs, keep an eye out for the release of Endurance: Recovery.

It’s the last instalment of The Endurance Series, or is it? You’ll have to wait to find out!

Endurance: Recovery, coming 2018!

New eBook cover for dark fantasy short story, Alive

Back in 2016 I released a short eBook dark fantasy short story called Alive. This is the synopsis:

For nearly a year now I have been living a lie. My husband and two daughters believe that I am dead. No one can know our secret.

2018 will see a new front cover for the dark and chilling short story!

The planning of more stories

I’ve got a catalogue of book ideas to choose from, but I am always looking for new ideas to entertain you all.

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope you all have a great night tonight seeing in 2018.

I’ll see you on the other side!

My New Content Writing Business – TJ Creative

I'm very happy to announce that I have started my own business; a writing company in Surrey, UK, called TJ Creative – The Write Solution.

I started TJ Creative with the aim of becoming the local solution for individuals and businesses across Surrey and Hampshire looking for website content, SEO copywriting and social media support

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) should be a big part of anyone's online marketing, and digital content plays an integral role in the process of SEO. 

Although my business is new, I hold the experience and knowledge to help you. I have spent many years writing creatively in my degree and as an author, and professionally as an SEO copywriter with a leading digital marketing company in Hampshire. 

To find out more about my content writing services in Haslemere, Surrey, continue to my new website and read up on my services. 

Also, if you have a spare couple of minutes, please follow TJ Creative on Twitter – https://twitter.com/tjcreativeuk (@tjcreativeuk) and like the page on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TJCreativeUK/