Monthly Archives: October 2018

How The Bryant & May Series Works – Part 3: Where To Next?

(This is the last part of a 3-part article) )Having reached the end of a second arc – that’s two arcs of six books apiece – I once again felt I had peaked. I was especially pleased with ‘The Burning Man’ because it matched the mood of my city. I had got caught up in […]

How The Bryant & May Series Works – Part 2: Going The Distance

(Continued from yesterday) If I’d felt the series was going to run out of steam (the publisher’s nightmare, that an author invested in fails to deliver with consistency) I needn’t have worried. By pegging the characters to a more recognisable world I could lightly reflect current events and always have something new to write about. […]

How The Bryant & May Series Works – 1: What Am I Up To?

I’m up to Book 18, if you must know. Seriously, it crossed my mind the other day, what am I up to with these characters? Writers are meant to have a plan, but I started out with a crime novel set in World War II, inside a venerable theatre. I had already created (I say […]

Perfect Company

In 1970, composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim had a show called ‘Company’ open on Broadway which, unusually for him, caught the tone of the times. The hippy era was ending, the swingers had swung and commitment loomed. ‘Company’ was a musical comedy presented in a fugue state, taking place between an intake of breath and its exhalation […]

Predicting The Future From The Past

The science fiction author JG Ballard predicted that writers would soon become obsolete. They would be like Victorian stock characters, with no discernible purpose in the world. He suggested that given external reality is now a fiction, you don’t need to invent it anymore. It’s an idea echoed by Adam Curtis, a Ballardian documentary-maker, here; […]

How Writers Handle Success

In rom-coms, all the effort is put into finding a mate and falling in love. The film usually stops at the altar, as if this is where life ends instead of being where it begins. So with writing; all the effort is concentrated on finding inspiration, writing and getting something published, not on what happens after, […]

Last Of The Crazy Houses

Not long ago I went to a place called Pyramiden, an abandoned Russian mining town in one of the northernmost points in the Arctic Circle. You have to carry rifles because of polar bear attacks, and the temperature reaches minus 40 degrees. The icy wasteland has kept the deserted settlement intact, and there’s a cinema […]