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The Wars of the Edits

Editing a book is part teamwork and part battle, in my view.

It's always a nervous time, waiting for the suggested edits to come back from the publishers. You can't help but fear how many there will be and how much work they'll involve.

I'm pleased to report I'm on the final stage of the edits for the new tvdetective book, The Dark Horizon, which should be out in June. And happily, there aren't too many to do.

Quick interlude for a picture - it's not the most exciting, but please indulge me in my pride. Here's the title page on my laptop -



Now, as I was saying, edits - the problems come when author and editor disagree, and sometimes it can get a little feisty.

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Innovation online

Whenever I teach writing, there's always a section I come to with a little concern because I know there'll be a stark divide in the reaction of the group, and quite often some hostility.

It's the part about the online world.

I like experimenting, trying something new, innovating, however scary that can be (what's the playground of life for, otherwise?), so I've done my best to take to this new fangled internet thing.

I've come to enjoy it, but I know many writers don't see it as anything useful, helpful or in any way pleasant, instead more of a chore.

I think the argument is simple - publishers and agents expect writers to be online these days, so we don't actually have a great deal of choice.

And they've got a point - the net can be powerful free marketing and advertisting, and a great way of finding new readers and talking to them.

On the subject of which, I've recently done my first Twitter chat, as a guest of the wonderful Swanwick Writers' Summer School. 

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The Texture of Writing

Writing can be one of those wonderful arts which might look simple on the surface, but with a whole lot more going on than is immediately obvious.

I'm coming to the end of the new book I'm working on, and have also been doing a bit of teaching of late, which has left me thinking about the texture of writing.

It was spurred by a session I did at the wonderful Maynard School in Exeter, talking about creative writing and journalism, too -

Simon teaching maynard.jpg

Apart from the shirt, all else seemed to go well - the lesson certainly sped past - which left me reflecting on why that might be. And I came to the conclusion a lot was to do with the texture of it.

I try to put plenty of pace and variety into my teaching - maybe a bit of me waffling to start, then a group exercise, then me talking again, then a discussion, then an individual exercise etc.

Which I think is a big contribution to the session working. It's almost as if you don't give the group a chance to get bored - they're always being challenged and left wondering what's coming next.

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A Question of Questions

Ironic though it may be for a professional questioner, I've been reflecting on the pros and cons of being subjected to a public question time.

I'm happy to report I had a splendid week, doing a couple of writing events, both of which were hugely enjoyable (many thanks to the Maynard School (such bright and spirited young ladies), and the kind people of Sidmouth (so thoughtful and perceptive). At both events, everyone was so very warm and welcoming).

In fact, let's go straight in and scare you at the outset, with a shot of me "in action" in Sidmouth -

Sidmouth Kennaway best.JPG

What's been exercising me was the quality, and mind-stretching nature, of some of the questions I was asked at the end of both talks.

In Sidmouth, for example - "Do you write for yourself, or your audience?" At the Maynard - "What drives you to write?"

Question time is the one part of an event you just can't plan for or predict, and that - according to other authors - makes it either worrying, or delightful, according to your view.

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