The inclement prevailing climatic conditions - or bloody awful weather, if you will - of this bank holiday has prompted me to begin work on a major project.  It's one which I've been putting off for a while, for the sensible reason that it's daunting. 

And it's also encouraged a little of the dangerous pastime of doing some thinking, of which more in a moment.

First, that project.  I'm off on a cruise at the tail end of the year (the first time I've ever tried one), where I've been asked to give six lectures, each of an hour,... Read more

The Long Drop

I'm facing one of the most unpleasant moments in the life of this humble scribbler.

It's second only to the dreaded writer's block.  I've come to think of it as the long drop, and it's the point at which you part company with a major piece of work.

How best to explain it?  Well, probably like this -

I think of writing as all about relationships, with the author at the centre. I have relationships with my agent and publishers, my characters, and most of all my readers.  And with every new book, or other big writing project... Read more

A wonderful week of firsts

An unexpected acting role, a sweaty impromptu book signing, and a grope of what could be found of my muscles, amongst other experiences -

I've just about landed back in dear Devon after a week of teaching at the wonderful Swanwick Writers' Summer School, so 'tis time for some reflections.

Well, it was certainly a week of innovations.

Firstly, never before have I tried to explain what the media are interested in regarding writers, so that was quite an experience.  Thanks to my class for playing along with my strange ways of doing things, particularly the newsroom exercise... Read more

Teacher's report

"Simon is a pupil who sets himself modest very aims and continually fails to achieve them..."

So might the verdict have gone at any stage of my education, but the point of this report is that it's mine on my day of teaching the youngsters of Falmouth about the joys of books, writing, and being a journalist.

I think it went well.  Or do I mean hope?!

I've never quite come to understand how of all the talks and teaching I do, it's the sessions with the kids that make me the most nervous. 

I was thinking about... Read more

A Choice of Endings

A dilemma has come to visit - entirely unexpectedly, and without so much as a "by your leave", as sometimes they do.

I spent some of last night tieing down the details of the end of the new tvdetective book, and found myself with this problem -

I thought I knew exactly how I wanted it to end, but now I can see a different denouement is not only possible, but perhaps more appropriate, given the subject and the roles of the various characters.

Cue some agonising, searching of the soul (or what's left of it after all... Read more

Fact and fiction

I've just been reading a debate on the merits of realism in detective fiction, and think it would make a worthwhile few words for a blog.

So, here we go, with the Hall take on it all -

It is a question I sometimes have put to me; that a problem with the tvdetective books is that, in real life, it's unlikely a journalist would be allowed so close to a police investigation. But happily,  I never worry too much about reality.

(Quick digression - I suspect I'm all the happier for it, but back to the point...)

As... Read more