Reading & Writing

Should Writers Read Their Reviews?

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Any writer who says s/he doesn’t read press reviews is a liar. We all do, without fail, because it’s human nature (also, if they’re good they get forwarded on by all sorts of people). What we should never do is over-analyse them. Or believe in them. I know how hard it is to get reviewed […]

The Writing Process: Where It Begins

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For the first time in an age I find myself seated at my desk with a clean slate and an empty screen. True, there are five titles sitting in a folder, possible ideas for new books, and at least two of these are workable. But my agent has asked me what I would like to […]

Frightening New Collection Coming

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There are going to be a total of twenty books from me coming out as e-editions this year, including nearly all of my short stories, and a brand-new collection of short stories entitled: ‘Frightening’. I hope to be able to price this below the usual level to encourage new readers. I’d told myself I wasn’t […]

Is There Another Way To Create A Heroine?

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They’re known as WIP films, and have been around as long as cinema. I suppose my favourite Women In Peril films would include ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, ‘Link’, ‘Wait Until Dark’, ‘The Hidden Face’, ‘Suspiria’, ‘Julia’s Eyes’, ‘Panic Room’, ‘The Hidden Face’ and ‘Penumbra’, but there are many others. One could even describe ‘Aliens’ as a WIP […]

Wrestling The Monster

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There was a film by Nick Broomfield about Spalding Gray’s attempt to write a new novel called ‘Monster In A Box’, which struck a horrible chord of familiarity with me. I’ve never had writer’s block as such, but I believe there are ‘easy’ books and ‘hard’ books. The former are smooth to write, come in […]

Make Money As An Author: Die Young

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Seriously, they’ll be able to republish your first novel while people are feeling sorry for you. It’ll be a good career move. It’s a long-standing maxim that while ‘no man except a blockhead ever wrote except for money’ (cf. Samuel Johnson), no-one can really make a living doing it. The traditional answer to that statement […]

Permission To Laugh

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An alarming idea today: Are readers and audiences now obeying demographics, which were once designed to categorise their tastes? It strikes me because, when I analyse successful entertainment (as all writers are prone to do) I can see a huge new change in our habits. Prior to the compartmentalisation of consumption, we enjoyed a book […]

What Makes Appealing Writing?

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A question: Do you want to try and get rich or do you want to be satisfied? Surprisingly, there are many writers who still believe that this is even a viable choice. Nobody who’s creative can ‘decide’ to get rich. Many writers who set out with supposedly killer hooks for their books quickly come a […]

The Rules Of Crime

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Ronald Arbuthnott Knox was a Catholic priest known for his theological scholarship. He single-handedly re-translated the Latin Vulgate Bible into English, and often wrote on religious themes. But he was also an editor, literary critic and humourist who wrote six decent mystery novels and three volumes of short stories, starting in the late 1920s. According […]

How Much Do Readers ‘Get’?

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I don’t believe in lowest-common-demonenator writing. There should be books we’ll never fully understand and tales of such complexity we have to wrestle with them, even though there are fears that the days of complex or obscure writing are coming to an end, partly due to the new ADD that has replaced quiet contemplation (there’s […]