Tomorrow Is Another Story

Reading & Writing

I’m tempted to write a literary book about stasis

Today I stumbled across a great file of film pitches for ‘Roofworld’, ‘Spanky’, ‘Calabash’ and many others. I have files full of such presentations, most of which you can date at a glance. Few of them ever got beyond the script stage. One or two are good – most are dreadful.

I feel like it’s time to take stock, to go through the files and see what’s worth keeping, what should be binned forever and what should be developed. I’ve been nominated for two national book awards this year and am never less than busy, but there’s much I haven’t done. I’ve never taught writing, or accepted a commission. I’ve never sold a screenplay. I hardly ever sell in translation. Other writers have tried to get various books of mine made into films, without much luck.

My epic fantastical adventure ‘The Foot On The Crown’ is finally finished and delivered to my agent, and I suddenly find myself between books. Health-wise, the chemo is taking its toll and slowing me down a little, but lockdown has helped me to maintain perspective. I can hardly feel trapped in London when everyone else is.

These days I’m known as the Bryant & May writer, but I’ve still written more non-B&M books, and continue to do so. I’ve written dozens of screenplays that never got made, hundreds of treatments for producers who then changed their minds and just one script adaptation of a novel by another writer, which I still think would make a great film.

There are also around 7-10 gestating book projects in the files, three of which have real possibilities. I’m tempted to write a literary book about stasis – people sitting around trying to figure out what to do with their lives. It would be interesting to see how uninteresting I could make a story while still maintaining the reader’s interest. I have the outline of a time travel story on my desktop, but maybe I should leave SF to the experts.

Or perhaps I’ll tackle another thriller. The next one, ‘Hot Water’, now has a publisher. But it’s hard to tell whether several of my ideas for psychological thrillers would pan out into full-length novels. I always thought that ‘Little Boy Found’ would have made a good TV thriller, if the publisher hadn’t f**ked it up.

The trick now is finding a passion project to tackle and just getting on with it. But right now I’m allowing myself 48 hours off, even though I’ll probably use the time to search for something that will inspire me.

13 comments on “Tomorrow Is Another Story”

  1. Peter+Dixon says:

    Have a drink and put your feet up – something will spring to mind.

  2. Liz+Thompson says:

    Well done for getting that off to the printers. Now have a good idle day to yourself?

  3. Cornelia+Appleyard says:

    Arthur does his own version of time travel all the time. I’m sure your story would work.
    Enjoy your rest.

  4. Wim says:

    Hi, just put your feet up and do nothimg at all; boredom produces creativity.

  5. Keith says:

    Hi Chris,
    Just watching Bent Coppers and the Obscene Publications Squad on BBC2. What a great job being a cop in Soho in the late 60’s/early 70’s.

  6. Martin+Tolley says:

    Off topic, but today I got the following from Amazon:

    “martin tolley,
    Because you follow Christopher Fowler, receive a 40% credit on each of these select Kindle Books seen below, which you may not have yet, up to a maximum benefit of £6 per book.
    Your credits have been automatically applied to your account. Any unused credits will expire 10 days after they were applied to your account.”
    Anyone else get this? Does this happen often? My account has genuinely been credited.

  7. Helen+Martin says:

    Nice to know there are some actual benefits in this world, Martin. No, not for me.

  8. Jan says:

    Bloody Hell fire Chris imagine “Roofworld” updated into this era of super duper skyscrapers?

    I know this will fall onto deaf ears but it’s worth a try!

  9. Jo W says:

    Chris, make the most of your forty eight hours r&r and breathe………. then keep on keeping on. Best wishes to you and to Peter xx

  10. Liz+Thompson says:

    Martin, I got a similar email from Amazon, although for a different author. Never had an offer of this sort before.

  11. Lorraine says:

    That’s now inspired me to dig out my copies of Roofworld and Spanky and give them another read! Hope you’re enjoying your brief break. 🙂

  12. Keith says:

    Roofworld, indeed a truly remarkable debut novel. And Rune, a great take on the M.R. James tale. (Jacques Tourneur’s Night of the Demon must surely be one of the finest horror flicks ever made.) Then there’s Spanky, Psychoville, Disturbia, Soho Black… why these have never been optioned for film is beyond belief. Hopefully one day…. The first six of your books have been translated into Dutch, but I’ve yet to see just one Bryant and May story. Although they did of course appear in De Donkerste Dag (Darkest Day).

  13. I would love to read your take on time travel! I’ve read a few time travel stories that are more fantasy than sci fi, and it works there too (without needing to explain how out works), so I have sense that you could do something along those lines and do it well.

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