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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 small talk, keep anything uplifting well out of your way, the most interesting emails are for strange medical products to enhance your sexual vitality (I seem to get an oddly large number of those, do they know something?!), and the day passes without anything worthy of note actually happening.

That's the roller coaster, and the climbs and falls can sometimes be giddying.

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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 -

torquay simon.jpg

This is the theory behind the facade, for what it's worth -

You've got to show you're serious about the event, hence a degree of smartness. But this is an arty industry, so a degree of Bohemian creative distinctive individualistic dashingness is required.

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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 for the poor lad's life.

And not just him, but Augustus Gloop, and his greed... and the horrible ending that brought him in the book.

Dahl saw all those dangers coming, forty or fifty years before they actually happened, and portrayed them in such an elegant way that he gave us a subtle warning.

Which we didn't take much notice of, sadly, but we can hardly blame the excellent Mr Dahl for that. At least he tried.

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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 a confession, as crime writing has served me so well. It got me published, which lead to teaching, and talks, and travel and all the people I've been lucky enough to meet over these glorious years.

And it's a truth I've been struggling with. But now I think I'm emerging from the fog, and that's the point of this blog.

Because that's one of the joys of writing. Bored with one genre? Then try another... and there are so many to choose from.

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