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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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'I got halfway through and stopped reading,' said my New York agent. He was talking about my new manuscript. 'There's no market for it over here.' 'Things must be pretty bad when your own agent fires you,' said a friend. 'Why don't you write to their market?' 'I don't know what their market is anymore,' I replied. There has always been a gap in the shared language of British and Americans. Reading…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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My hair, the one change everyone swore they could predict, never fell out. But it did turn white. Now it's starting to turn black. Every day's a surprise in C-Land. As my fuzzy head clears and I build up a head of steam to write, the question is no longer 'Can I?' but 'What should I write about?' I have three finished non-Bryant & May books in the pipeline. The first, 'Hot Water', is a thriller…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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It was larger than I remembered. Deeper, with bigger matches. The box was a gift to me - it's the first matchbox I've ever received - from my lovely neighbour Lou. It says on the front: 'Quis Separabit' - 'Who will separate us?' from Romans 8:35. It refers to the union and is usually decorated with patriotic flags. A Bryant & May match is a safety match, as opposed to a Swan Vesta, which was…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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Pressing The Nib I'm bored of writing about illness so let's discuss more interesting subjects. Did the above sentence bother you? The 'of' instead of 'with'? I notice the Youngs are using it. Does it matter? The flickering intricacies of the English language would test the patience of a poet. We learn to write in one style…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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Nobody in my family ever dies. My mother made it past 90 with a cheery smile on her enormous false teeth. My Uncle John is a fit, happy, tanned and laughing marvel at 91 (he sent a text to his son the other day. 'Have you got my extension ladder?') My feisty non-nonsense Auntie Doreen looks the same as she did fifty years ago and I'm still scared of her. They worked with radioactive chemicals and…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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Serendipity plays a large part in finding inspiration I'm thinking of starting another book, and to do so I'm going through the hunter/gatherer process that always occurs at this stage. It's complicated and works differently every time, but part of it involves churning through the work of many writers and thinking about the way they approach stories. For decades writers were held back by film…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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A lovely book discussion from members of the online crime fiction festival Hull Noir, feat. the superlative dame noir Cathi Unsworth, author of the knockout Bad Penny Blues, here banging on about Bryant & May...
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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Short stories are not making a comeback, they're still unpopular, but being a great fan of all things unpopular I still write them. A few years ago I wrote this amuse-bouche, and have since discovered that there may be more of a back-story to it than I realised. I've added a postscript. The Scent Of Roses It is a story I have dared not tell anyone,' said the man seated opposite. 'But now the…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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A letter reaches me from reader John Healey in South Australia who has twigged one of the longest-running games I've been playing in my novels. My love of esoteric language has occasionally encouraged me to add rare words, and to sometimes make them up. I figured that if Billy Shakespeare could invent over 1,700 words, I could at least manage a handful. Mr Healey writes, 'As a fan of Bryant and…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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I'm tempted to write a literary book about stasis Today I stumbled across a great file of film pitches for 'Roofworld', 'Spanky', 'Calabash' and many others. I have files full of such presentations, most of which you can date at a glance. Few of them ever got beyond the script stage. One or two are good - most are dreadful. I feel like it's time to take stock, to go through the files and see what…
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