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The Roller Coaster

This writing life is a delight, but as with everything in the world it seems there must be a drawback or two.

For me, the worst is the roller coaster.

Ok, it's a bit of a cliche, but writing is a creative job, which thus involves the artistic temperament. And that means ups and downs.

Some days go well. The words flow, you might get a good review, or be invited to do a talk at a festival, or some teaching.

On other days, the fates are having none of you.

They stubbornly resists all your best attempts at alluring... Read more

The Agonies of Appearance

An admission, to start - I never got the hang of fashion (I can sense you nodding, stop it), which wouldn't normally be a problem, but sometimes a writer has to try to look the part.

It may come as a surprise to hear that I think carefully about how I dress when I'm doing an event, be it a talk, or teaching, or whatever.

And I've come to this conclusion - it's not easy for an author, getting the appearance thing right.

Here's my latest attempt; from my course in novel writing last weekend in Torquay -

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The Writer's Foresight

One of the marks of a great writer, in my humble view, is the ability to see the future.

I was teaching at the weekend (many thanks for all who joined my novel writing course in Torquay), and using Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as an example of great characters and plot.

Roald Dahl wrote the book at the start of the 1960s, long before television became as widespread and dominant in our lives as it is now, and what did he foresee, but...?

Mike Teavee, a child who was obsessed by television, with all the unfortunate consequences that had... Read more

The Writing Phoenix

One of the great wonders of writing is the gift it gives to arise from the ashes.

I always try to be honest in these blogs - what's the point of them, otherwise? - so here's a tricky truth. It's one I've been whispering quietly to myself, but now am reconciled sufficient to write...

I've been lucky enough to have seven crime novels published, and it's like this - I'm getting a little bored.

Not with writing, you understand. That relationship retains the passion we've always shared, and I hope always will. No, I mean with the genre.

It's quite... Read more