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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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They used to talk of the 'elevator pitch' - a three-minute blast of information that reduces your book/ film/ play to something even an executive can understand. Today I still produce a synopsis for each book I write, so that editors can present them at internal meetings. But I'm really bad at them, and for one simple reason. At the time the synopsis is required, the book is an inchoate…
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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In 'Film Freak' I recounted this anecdote; A girl I knew, Amber, specialised in performing pantomimes in old folks’ homes. In one such place in Sevenoaks she played Cinderella. During the intermission she waited in full ball gown costume at the foot of the stage because there were no changing rooms, and a very old lady approached her. ‘I know who you are,’ said the old lady, pointing at her…
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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'Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?' This old chestnut crops up from experts and amateurs alike, and with such regularity that the creation of any work of fiction is clearly a source of continuing interest. Whether you relish the planning process or prefer to throw all your cards in the air and see what lands, you still need to be inspired by something. For me, sometimes it's about fulfilling a…
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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'Word Monkey', my third and final memoir, will be about writing - not about how you become a debut author but what you do next, and next after that. It's something few people are prepared to discuss. We always hear about the muse and the imagination but rarely about making a living in this peculiar fashion. But it's also about writers, reading, friends, family and how events can hijack your best…
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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I'm working on the final part of my trilogy-memoir 'Word Monkey' today, and therefore thinking about writing. A surprising amount of popular fiction is lazily, not to say badly, written. Want to write a quick bestseller? Try putting it in first person/present tense and you can get around the need for eloquence or better still, any research. Write only about your emotions and you'll never need to…
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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(My photo shows the cemetery where most of my family is buried) I've been blogging since (I think) 2006, starting on the site that preceded this one. It might have been earlier - the old site was far more complex and had revolving views of nighttime London built on Flash (remember that?), but was too difficult for some readers to load, so I eventually simplified the site. Since that time social…
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writer blogs
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Christopher Fowler
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How much of the times can you reflect? For most of the twentieth century the crime novel has been timeless, a place you could go where nothing much ever changed. Crime novels do reveal when they were written, of course. I instinctively place a pre- or post-war bracket on the older books I read. And current crime novels can largely be dated by their subject matter; sex trafficking, online…
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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It turns out people aren't comfortable just being with themselves. Blaise Pascal said, 'All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone,' and the figures back him up. 95% of adults say they found time for a leisure activity in the previous 24 hours, but 83% said they'd spent no time just thinking. The young, in particular, are not enjoying human interaction…
28 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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When I began my first memoir, 'Paperboy', about craving books and growing up in a home without them, I faced a problem. I had kept notebooks filled with fiction but never wrote down what actually happened within our family. The reason is clear to me now; I felt more comfortable inside a fantastical world than writing about my parents' disastrous, violent marriage. Having a terrible memory, I tried…
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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I'm in hospital again today with a tube hanging out of my arm so I'm typing this with one hand. The nurse isn't coming around for an hour so I've time to bang this out. I'm writing a third volume of my award-winning memoirs (my agent insists on me adding that phrase). For those of you who had the misfortune to be born late, here's a quick catch-up. I'm a writer of what's known as popular fiction…
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