Reading & Writing

The Short Story’s Shelf Life Comes To An End

You Have To Love Something Enough To Kill It Martin Scorsese said that. It’s how I feel about short fiction, which I love writing. Above are some of the giants who have created complete short story collections. The era of the short story is not quite over – the Sunday Times still offers the biggest […]

Writers And The Subconscious

You need the pieces on the board before you can capture enemies I’m currently grappling with a slippery opponent; my new novel. So this is one of those articles in which I try to get at what happens inside the brain of any creative person when they’re trying to make something from nothing. If there’s […]

My 10 Best Pieces Of Writing Advice For 2019

Every year teaches me something new about the writing trade. I feel guilty that I have few discernible skills other than being a writer and being able to draw a bit (I’ve tried learning everything from windsurfing to piano and failed) but here at least I can offer a few words of advice to writers […]

‘Don’t Try Anything Funny’

‘Having a pronounced sense of humour is not a job qualification,’ a teacher once told me. I could have replied that having a low droning voice like a distant lawnmower was not a teacher’s job qualification, but I fear that would have proved his point.   Problem is, my desire for high learning is tempered […]

Another Thriller? I Must Be Mad

Of the many different genres in which I’ve dabbled, thrillers are the trickiest. From the mid-nineteenth century novels of Alexandre Dumas onwards there have been thriller rules established that remain in place today. The genre enjoyed a postwar heyday through Ian Fleming, but largely fell out of fashion (kept alive by Lee Child) until the […]

More On The Trouble With Anthologies

To be clear, a written anthology is a set of stories by different authors, often on a common theme. A collection is a set of stories by one author. Some publishers still get the distinction wrong on their covers. The advantage of producing a collection is obvious; the reader gets a kaleidoscopic view of the author’s […]

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, […]

How To Exercise Without Leaving The House

So I was wandering about on Amazon, cruising for a casual pick-up in the world of literature, and stumbled across (then purchased) Christopher Hart’s ‘Lost Children’, a novel which has one of those chapters destined to be forever engraved in your mind – this one involves a terrified, unqualified British doctor and a very angry […]

Incoming!

Sally, my PA, says it’s now officially autumn in London. I’m not buying this, as I’ve yet to have my summer holiday (I go next week, off to try some refreshing wines in the delightful vineyards of the Spanish countryside). London is glorious at the moment, fecund and lush and warm, but soon will come […]

The Ideas That Didn’t Make It

For every plot I come up with that makes it into a book, there are twenty that don’t make the cut. Because I’ve paced technology throughout my career, I’ve changed systems with each new technological development and have no hard copies or online files from the past, so I’ve not been able to save these […]