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Thursday, 15 March 2018

Andrew Mackey offers tips of the trade to authors from character building to research! @rararesources @Andrew_CVB #satire #underdog

Writing humour, horror, crime, romance... all under the banner of satire


Andrew Mackay

Henry Williams is the lead character in The Belch Park Field Trip. In many ways, his character is one of the most traditional arcs anyone could have in their story.
He’s a foot shorter than his classmates.
He’s a bit of a dweeb.
No-one thinks of him as a leader.
Of course, by the end of the trip to the theme park, he’s determined to prove himself.

Throughout the course of the story I used the challenges of the theme park for him to overcome. He’s an inch shorter than is required to go on the bigger rides. So he stuffs his shoes with stones and rocks to gain the extra inch. But it hurts his feet through the day. He’ll use the same rocks and stones to throw at the bad guy, thereby strengthening his resourcefulness.
He’s desperately in love with the new girl at the school. She thinks he’s a wet blanket. Of course, he’ll rescue her at the end and get a kiss. But throughout the day, there are many events which embarrasses him.
Henry is also something of a by-the-books kind of guy. He follows protocol and is a little bit selfish. When the bigger, badder rival school turn up, he’s put to the test. Henry carries a map to the park and figures out where they can hide, and tries to organise the day.
As an author, I threw every conceivable challenge his way. From food fights at the restaurant, to having to stand up for himself in the face of death.
It’s a true underdog story.
Henry’s arc is very traditional in that respect – from zero to hero via all these challenges.
As for researching for Belch Park, it really depends on the author’s overall aim. Belch Park is a theme park like Six Flags, or Disneyland. I’ve spent a lot of time at theme parks and I know how they work. I know the themes they adopt and the layout of the attractions and facilities at the parks. Because my book is a satire, I was able to parody the rides. For example, there’s a ridiculously violent roller coaster called THE VOMINATOR. My friends and I used to joke about renaming some of these rides when we were kids. The launch coaster is called THE BASTARD which was inspired by some of these jokes.
So, The Belch Park Field Trip didn’t need too much research. Although, I found some very useful V-Logs on YouTube of hardcore fans reviewing rides and taking their cameras on them. Also, there was one exceedingly stupid guy who tried to climb a roller coaster after the park closed for the day and nearly fell off. I have a character called Jasper Pratt in my book who does the same thing – but, spoiler, he does fall off. It’s a plot device, because the lead character Henry has to climb the same one in order to rescue his friends.
In the past, I have done a lot of research. My crime thriller, VERSUS, is about
the UK’s first ever school shooter. He decides to shoot his school up on the same day one as one of his classmates, a radicalised suicide bomber decides to blow it up. I had to scour some very peculiar ends of the internet to get the info I needed. I even interviewed some people I won’t name to make sure it was authentic.

In Their Shoes –The Nurse (Book V) obviously needed interviews with nurses on the British NHS frontline. They were invaluable. I couldn’t have written the book without it. I guess my research extends to my desire to treat whatever I’m writing about accurately and fairly. No-one really takes my stuff seriously (I hope) even though the themes are current and relevant.
But research never, ever gets in the way of a good story. It is possible to overdo it to the point where you never start writing, and I hate that.
My next book is sci-fi. I don’t know loads about sci-fi, but I know enough. My intention is to watch three specific sci-fi movies, and three carefully selected sci-fi novels. I’ve decided in the interests of sanity and satire to invent a lot of my own science for it. As long as it’s passably believable, especially for that crowd, then I’ll be okay.

The Belch Park Field Trip
 Amazon UK  Amazon.com 

Henry Williams has never been a leader.
Or stood up to the bullies.
Or kissed the girl of his dreams.

In fact, he’s never stood out from the school crowd.

Mind you, he’s only twelve years-old.
And a foot shorter than his classmates.

All that will change today, though.

The school inspectors are visiting Chrome Junction Academy.
The principal needs to get rid of the cream of the cr@p!
He would have preferred to send them to another galaxy far, far away...

Instead, the obnoxious, high-on-energy-drinks brats are off to...


Roller coasters! Mega-drop towers! Ghost trains! Ferris wheels! Bumper cars!

No end of opportunities for fun, thrills and spills!
The perfect place to run rampant and enjoy themselves...

But wait!

South London's notorious Our Lady of Sacrifice Roman Catholic school is also there.
They're Chrome Junction Academy's natural enemy.
Oh bugger...


Limbs will break...
Dares will result in irreparable damage...
The innocent will be caught in the crossfire...
Even the park may not survive

Henry’s destiny awaits...

Chrome Junction Academy's underdog must step up... and grow a pair.

He'll have to ensure the safety of his friends.
Fend off the bigger, badder kids.
...and get them out of Belch Park in one piece!

About Andrew Mackay​, in his own words:

Some authors are afraid to cross the line.

Me? Oh, I'm glad you asked! I make "the line" my starting point...
My brand is satire.

I hop between genres like madman on crack because my razor-sharp literary knife is hungry for political and social commentary. One genre just can't cut it (if you'll forgive the pun.) I'm obsessed, I tell you!

I write straight-up humor and farce, horror, crime, romance... all under the banner of satire.

My novels often contain a ruthless commentary on society, delving into the darker machinations of modern life. They can be uproarious, funny, outrageous and shocking. Make no mistake, though. They are this way for a reason, and always come equipped with a sense of humanity and wit.

My influences include John Cleese, Tom Sharpe, Kurt Vonnegut, James Patterson, Hunter S Thompson, Douglas Adams, Imogen Edwards-Jones, Michael Frayn, Chris Morris, Jerry Sadowitz, Christopher Hitchins, Bill Maher, George Carlin, Jordan Peterson, Pat Condell, and writer/director Larry Cohen.

My obsessions include (and are essentially limited to) obscene amounts of: smoking, drugs, alcohol, caffeine, sex, debating, daydreaming and writing about himself in the third person.

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