On Murder

September 23, 2015


I’ve come, over the past week or so, to realise that the best murder mysteries are, ultimately, about serial killers.

Not, necessarily, the Gory Hannibal Lecter type of serial killers; even the classic Agatha Christies, for example, seem to work even better when the Nemesis has a couple of (or preferably three) victims.

The classic Murder mystery pits a sleuth against a murderer. There’s a first murder – a hook; something to attract the attention of both the sleuth and the reader. Normality has been upset; the natural order has been broken, and must be restored.

And if there’s one murder, and the detective can investigate and, eventually, unmask the killer, then it can be a good story. But what makes it a Great story is when the stakes are upped.

Continue reading On Murder

How to be Terrified

August 29, 2015


Write. Your whole life. Tell Stories to your family, to your friends and – sometimes – to total strangers.

Write one of these stories down.

Write another.

Write a book.

Read it.

Decide it’s not very good.

Write another.

And another.

Read this one.

Laugh. A lot.

Decide it’s not half bad.

Rewrite it.

Rewrite it.

Edit it.

Rewrite the Fucking thing again.

Have it edited by a brilliant editor who gives great advice (thanks Julia)

Have it read by readers who help you hone it (thanks Norma, David, Warren).

Polish it.

Send it to an agent.

Have the agent return it, saying “Great story, but not for me.”

Realise this is a rejection.

Feel destroyed.

For a Day.

Send it to a publisher, and wait to be rejected.

Get an email from the publisher.

An email that says how much they love your book, and that offers you a contract.

Drink champagne.

Stand on the edge of a cliff.

With a book you believe in with all your heart.

Realise that this – THIS – is what it feels like when dreams come true.

Be Terrified.

And, also, more excited and happier than you have been since Childhood…