The Return Of Mr Bryant
Some authors wax lyrical about the process of writing and speak of scenes coming alive and characters leaping off the page. I’ve always been allergic to that kind of talk, and in fact rarely discuss my personal methods at all. But something happened yesterday that I wanted to share, because to me this is the essence of writing.
I’m halfway through the ninth Bryant & May novel, ‘The Memory Of Blood’. In this draft it’s most about getting the plot in shape and shepherding the story from one end to the other. So far, I’ve written the words ‘Arthur Bryant’ without feeling the character was properly back, and that’s normal for this stage. I’d already written a scene where he’s at the beach, and liked it, but he still wasn’t really there in his full character.
Then I reached a point yesterday where Bryant was at his desk, ploughing through dusty old books about phrenology and being annoying, and suddenly – I don’t know what I did – he jumped into focus. And he was back, derailing the investigation with the maddest of ideas, and looking right at me with a smile on his face. Bryant is based on my best friend Jim, now deceased, and suddenly Jim was there in Bryant, and the whole thing blossomed into life – and at that point I knew the book would work.
And that’s why I’m a writer – for that exhilarating moment, pinned in place on the page – right there.
PS I see someone spotted the joke in the picture – well done!