Writing rules

A Ten-Minute Argument With PD James

  Phyllis Dorothy James was, everyone will tell you, the grande-dame of crime writing, and once issued her top ten tips for writing novels. It’s heresy to contravene the rules, but what worked for PD James was clearly not what works for every aspiring or professional author. Let’s have a look at them and see […]

Crime Can Be Anything You Want…

Here are some jottings I found on writing crime fiction. I have a sneaking feeling some of these points came from a US TV writer, but I can’t for the life of me remember who – if it was you and I’ve not namechecked you, I’m sorry, tell me and I’ll correct it. Crime is […]

How To Start A Story 1: Don’t Mention The Weather

It’s usually a bad sign when a novel opens with a description of the weather. With so many ways available of capturing the reader’s attention, why start with one we can all see? The exception is the famous opening of ‘Bleak House’ (which I parodied in the opening of ‘The Burning Man’), because Dickens manages […]

The Writing Rulebook 2

Blake Snyder wrote terrific books on screenplay construction that I feel apply equally well to novels. His attitude was far less pretentious that most, and supersedes those volumes by Syd Field that now only seem to apply to 1980s action flicks. His book ‘Save The Cat!’ and its sequels sum up a lifetime of work […]

The Writing Rulebook Part 1

I’m sure someone must already have put out a writing app that allows you to access writing advice, but if they haven’t, I’ve been gathering writing tips from all over the place, and plan to put a few up here. I ran some at the end of ‘Paperboy’, so let’s start with some amendments to […]