Writing a crime series

Bryant & May: Your Comments Answered

I’ve described the struggles of creating a long-term detective series, and you sent back some very interesting comments, so let me go through some of the main points. The idea of favouring Bryant over May goes to the heart of the problem with a series. There has always been a weight toward Bryant because every […]

Bryant & May: In For The Long Run Part 3

As any series extends, its effects diminish. We come to expect certain things from characters, we recognise the writer’s stylistic tics, we feel we can see where the plot is going, we grow tired and want something new. But there are many exceptions, from Batman to Doctor Who, because they’ve ceased to be a series […]

Bryant & May: In For The Long Run Part 2

In any crime series consistency is as important as originality. You’re not pulling off the trick once but again and again, without repeating yourself or deviating too far from the elements that attracted your readership in the first place. But it’s also a race to see whether you or your readers tire first. I don’t […]

The Perils Of Creating A Long-Running Series

  I first noticed it when I went back to check on a character’s name in ‘The Memory of Blood’, Book 9 in what looks like becoming a 20-volume series. One of the characters was using a Blackberry. As far as I know they’re long gone; nothing dates faster than technology. Then a Fax machine […]

The Invisible Novel

People don’t care where quotes come from. Does a book exist if nobody reads it? To the author, certainly. The profoundly innovative, ill-fated Ronald Firbank, who hid entire literary worlds in half-sentences, self-published in ever-shrinking quantities to no acclaim whatsoever. And that was in a time when the writer word was the sole media, so […]

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 […]

10 Day Book Challenge: Day 2

7:00am This is the 19th century building in which I live, a great stone dungeon that’s ice-cold even in summer (modern architects take note; if you build it properly nobody needs air conditioning). I’m clearly being tested, as today is hot and sunny, skylarks soaring about in the blue. My flat is so dark you […]