A different kind of talking

As part of next week's teaching at the Winchester Writers' Conference, I've been asked to do a talk about the tvdetective books - but in a rather different way from usual.

Those who've suffered my ambling orations will know that I tend to make them light-hearted affairs, with a few (vaguely) amusing anecdotes from my life reporting and writing.  But this time, I've been asked to make the talk more thoughtful and serious.

Cue a mild panic, as I try to come to terms with those weighty demands. However!

I've spent the last couple of weeks thinking about what I'm going to say, and am hopeful I'll make a decent stab at it. Without spoiling it for anyone who might be coming along, I'm planning to go into more depth on characterisation, the intimacy of the relationship between the author and the reader, and the old (yet still fascinating) issues of soul searching about how and why we scribblers write.

Anyway, as with so many things, when you start thinking about it in some detail you tend to learn a fair bit yourself. And I've come to this curious conclusion in recent days.

I've been writing for eight years now, and I think I could argue that time has effectively been a long, but hugely enjoyable, period of study akin to an English degree. 

I've been trying to understand for myself how books work, how characters are formed and interact and live, how plots and sub-plots and various forms of narrative work, and all that kind of clever stuff.

I read Natural Sciences at the big school which is commonly known as university, as I harboured ambitions to be a teacher at the time. It would have meant I could teach maths, physics and chemistry, which seemed more interesting than just one single subject.  Now I wonder if I got the decision wrong, and should have studied English.

Ah well, it's a Hall principle that there's little point having regrets, or overly revisiting the past, so I won't dwell on that one, however interesting a thought. 

But it does go to reinforce what I always think about this wonderful game called life - there's plenty of time within it to have more than one career. And, as I shall be telling the doubtless fascinated and captivated folk at Winchester next week (hopefully!), I'm very glad I found this writing one, however late, and via however wandering a route.

Ok then, a song for this blog, and today I'm going for Rattlesnakes, by Lloyd Cole, because he's a great (and underrated, in my view) songwriter, and it's a very fine tune about one sad journey of life.

Finally, I've had quite a few good questions come in of late, and I will get around to answering some soon, I promise.  Don't forget if there's anything you'd like to ask about the tvdetective books, or any area of my writing, you can get in touch via the contact page of the site - www.thetvdetective.com/contact.html