Magnus Mills

‘A Good Idea Has A Thousand Fathers’

How often have you read a book and become convinced that you’ve read it somewhere before? Sometimes a particular scene will resonate and I’ll go searching for another version of it. In his immense volume ‘The Seven Basic Plots’ Christopher Booker argued that  there are only seven archetypal themes which recur throughout every kind of […]

Today’s Topic…

I start at the top of the blank page and work my way down to the bottom. 1. Grumping about the Last Night of the Proms is the tip of the iceberg; humanity as a whole is irredeemably, incorrigibly misguided. We are unreliable, chaotic, annoying and deeply, deeply stupid. 2. The idea that a civilisation […]

Stuck For A Title

Okay, so you’ve written your story, short or doorstop-length, and you no longer like the title you started out with, or maybe you never had one in the first place. What do you do? I know it may seem that I have it in for ‘The Girl on the Train’ (I have) but the one […]

When The Devil Isn’t In The Detail

Poor old Oscar, endlessly quoted, and not always accurately. I wonder what he would have made of the modern Twitterverse? Would he have loved dropping aphorisms onto it or would he have been horrified by its egalitarianism? I really enjoyed Jon Ronson’s ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’, an exploration of modern-day online witch-hunts which could not […]

Why Each Book Needs A Single Memorable Moment

I have a friend who wants to be a writer. He tells me he’s about to start ‘a huge series of books, which will be better when they film it as a series’. He still hasn’t started a single one after ten years, despite being obsessed by the idea of quantity. The author Magnus Mills […]