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.

It left me wondering about my own abilties to predict the future, which was a deflating experience, to say the least.

One of my greatest forecasts, as my friends are always very happy to remind me, comes from my university days.

We were all given email addresses to help us communciate, and I was heard to remark - "What's the use of email? It'll never catch on".


So, I shan't be making any great predictions for the future in my books, but there is one advance in technology which is worth mentioning here.

My first novel, The TV Detective, has been made available free on iTunes for the rest of the month, as a special promotion -

Enjoy it on me, but don't expect any great forecasts of the future. A writer has to know his limits.