On Being A Professional Writer No. 6: Physical Work

The Physical Part Why is it everyone asks ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ and nobody says ‘How do you stay fit when you’re sitting in a chair all day?’ Ideas are never the problems – that’s our job – but wellness is. The short answer is; Well, you don’t. The downsides of this lifestyle […]

When Writers Get Old

There are certain writers I can’t read now. They’ve got comfortable. They’re listened to. Their anecdotes calcify and they only hear themselves. They end up writing about writers because eventually that’s all they know. How do you avoid this happening? Earlier in the year I made a conscious decision to avoid festivals and professional events […]

The Different Worlds of Bryant & May

I’ve just received the British cover art for ‘Bryant & May and the Invisible Code’ and it’s sensational. The artist, David Frankland, just goes from strength to strength. I’m also in the middle of a quadruple edit – my most complex ever. First I’m doing the US edit, then tackling the UK notes, then I […]

The Romance Of The Keyboard

It weighed the same as a boiler, and the keys were always getting jammed. Threading a ribbon turned your hands black and red. Tippex and Snopake, scissors and glue were required for the simplest documents. I bloody hated the typewriter. I do not find them remotely romantic. And yet this was the first picture my […]

‘You Have To Care’

I posted about this book before, but I hadn’t read it then. I have now. I’d put off reading it for a variety of reasons; too demanding to be picked up for a short time, too precious to be wasted in casual skimming, literally and figuratively too heavy. ‘Finishing The Hat’ is an explication by […]

‘How To Write’ Books

Do you think writing can be taught? It makes economic sense to a lot of vested interests to say yes, it can. I’m not so sure. Yes, you can learn the structures, tropes and styles of writing, but without the innate ability to tell a story well, you’re working at a disadvantage. Not that this […]

Nothing Natural About Jan Moir

For years we’ve conveniently turned a blind eye when the Daily Mail publishes hate articles on subjects it thinks its dim suburban readers want to read (I certainly have, having had interviews published by them). So it’s good to see that Jan Moir, who penned an unforgivably disgusting piece on singer Stephen Gately’s untimely demise […]

Opinion: Why Is An Idea Worth Less Than A Brand?

There’s much hand-wringing about expenses and salaries in the press at the moment. The BBC seems to be suffering such a desperate dearth of ideas that all they can think of doing is throwing money at existing ‘faces’, but the idea-generators, the writers, are still on a pittance. This is highlighted when you consider that […]