Blog / 2020

Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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You don't need imagination to write drama, you need empathy This week I finished the main draft of 'London Bridge Is Falling Down', the 20th Bryant & May novel, and became aware that I've entered a new stage of a writer's life. I started very young with no confidence at all, fooling around with elaborately drawn graphic novels and short comic tales, then published some silly gift books, then many…
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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Lying for a living is no longer the sole province of the writer. A complaint from a reviewer today about a new historical fiction. 'It's interesting, but would have been so much more exciting if we'd known it was a true story instead of fiction.' Why? The obsession with true stories strikes me as odd. In the latest issue of the Crime Writers Association newsletter, author Vera Morris talks about…
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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When I was young I used to have a framed print of Charles Edward Perugini's 'Girl Reading' on my wall. It's amazing how many paintings there are of women reading - perhaps because it was considered a genteel, passive image, demure, ladylike and calming. It also suggests virginity or purity; the girl in white, the uneaten apple. How do we read, physically? The small child lies on their front…
46 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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This is the latest in an occasional round-up on readers and writers, books and their readability or unreadability, general discussion points for us all. First up; Are you a book snob? Recent reports suggest that one reason for not buying e-books is that others don't know what you're reading. Women find men who carry books less threatening. The young are keen to appear well-read. Bookcases in…
50 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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Meet the king of the keys... He was the bard of the barred, the lord of the locked-up, the king of the keys. Robert Adey worked what I could only call an extreme niche of the murder mystery writing trade. Throughout his life (he died in 2015) he had collected notes on his particular area of interest in Golden Age detective stories, the locked room mystery. In 1979 the first UK hardback edition of…
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Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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Could Less Be More? I've been thinking about posting longer articles with less frequency. A piece every day, in days which are sometimes fraught with meetings and a tight writing schedule, plus the everyday bore of household chores, is manageable but tends to take the edge off my regular word count. Also, I'd like to write a few more in-depth pieces, like the ones I used to write about London…
24 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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Writing about Charles Dickens is almost as big an industry as books venerating the Brontë sisters. Every age takes an appropriate critical view that chimes with current obsessions, but where, say, Jane Austen unites critics in worship, Dickens divides for the simple reason that he is so profligate with contrary opinions that it's possible to find enough evidence to support any argument for or…
10 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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A dear friend tells me he is writing a cycle of seven books. He has never written longform before and shows no inclination to do so. He's decided to start his career with a world-and-ages-spanning epic that has a vast cast of intergalactic characters. He says he's just waiting for the right time to start, after he moves house. Or countries. We've been having this conversation for about ten years…
5 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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In every magazine about writing the question comes up with dispiriting regularity; where do you get your ideas from? And every answer must be different. For me it's not a spark, an image or a snippet of dialogue that sets me off on the trail of a new story. It's a twist of thread with enough colour in it to be woven into something interesting. This is literally true of a novel I'm working on in…
30 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Reading & Writing
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This week's challenge is to create two separate offices in one open-plan flat without damaging the way either of us work. We don't want to wreck the design integrity or leave cables and peripherals all over the place. The first idea was to fit a desk where those two sofa units at the front currently sit, but a desk looks ridiculous plonked into the room, and I want to live in a home, not an office…
27 comments

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