How To Write A Short Story Part 2

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I thought I’d put these three posts together to save you hunting about for them on the blog, so here’s part two. Bad stories get published; it’s a shock, but they appear regularly in collections and small press, usually because lazy editors call their mates. The system is not a meritocracy – if an editor […]

How To Write A Short Story Part 1

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I’m going to post these lessons in a row, just for fun. They’ll cover a few of the questions I most often answer. Nobody likes a good all-rounder. That was the advice given to me by my favourite teacher, Mr Scholar (really), Sherington Junior Boys School. It’s great advice. To do something well, specialise. A […]

Unfilmable Tales?

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  When I started writing short stories I had no parameters I was aware of, and piled up tales on all sorts of subjects into collections willy-nilly. These are out as e-books now, and I’ve just noticed that many of the editions still have the original illustrations in. I used to commission them from artists […]

London’s Less Visited Museums

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Why is it that one of the first things one does upon visiting another city is to go to its museums? I hardly ever do that at home. And London is stuffed with them. The Kinetica is a platform for international new media art. At the moment it features immersive works that ‘challenge perceptions to question […]

Forever Young: What’s Missing In The Workplace

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I make no apologies for excerpting part of a much longer article by Tom Goodwin because he voices something many feel. It’s a bit patronising but hey, he’s in advertising (‘Head of Innovation’, poor guy) and has a point to make: Living in New York and working in advertising I rarely see people over the age […]

Hitchcock & De Palma: Stop Making Sense

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I’m always on the lookout for anything that can help writers understand how to create reader interest, and very often I find it in studies of film. Film is in many ways analogous to books. Watching the excellent documentary ‘De Palma’ last night I was struck by something the director Brian De Palma said about […]

On London Bookshops

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Mooching early through central London in the rain turns up several unwelcome surprises; the number of rough sleepers (they can’t sleep in Chinatown, where Westminster has allowed massive homeless spikes), the sheer volume of care-in-the-community babblers about, and the roads/buildings being demolished on such a vast scale that Soho has effectively been wiped off the […]

Celebrating 20 E-Books: ‘Rune’

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It came as a shock to me to open my battered copy of ‘Rune’ and find that the world of Bryant & May was already fully formed in my second novel. The characters are developed (although the idea of Bryant having ‘dinner with a beautiful woman’ is harder to see now) and there’s mention of […]

Dying To Be In London

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I just picked up Jim Dyson’s excellent book on the gravesites of London’s most notable permanent residents. Paris may have Oscar Wilde and Los Angeles has Marilyn Monroe but we have…the musical dancing grave of Joseph Grimaldi (see columns passim). But we do have a few more famous notables in central London around in the […]

Behind the Net Curtains Something Lurks…

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  Some authors seem to work forever below the waterline. They can be successful in their own right without impinging on the consciousness of an attention-deficient public, whose recall-rate of viral videos featuring inadequate Russian driving skills is far above works by novelists who bring a lifetime of experience to their craft. Equally, critics will […]