Hats off to writers

Nature’s hatstand

I love a good back story. Now we’ve decided to shorten the third thriller in the Bladen series (giving it more of a pulp novel feel in my opinion) I’ve busy doing some pruning. It’s entirely possible that some scenes, flashbacks and dialogue will live again in another form, but they’ll more likely just inform the writing for me.

One of my battle cries is “Context matters.” If you’re a fan of The Monkees, you’ll know and love ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’ but try the Carole King version (she write it with Gerry Goffin) and you get a completely different take on it. Or maybe you’re a fan of Dylan’s Tambourine Man but you don’t really know Melanie’s version, where the lyrics turn from rebellious to soulfully melancholic.  

One song can be interpreted so many different ways. One scene, even one line of dialogue, can be rendered as comedy, tragedy, or high drama. Writing, like other art forms, can be nuanced and subtle. That’s the case for artists too.

Writers can allow themselves to become pigeonholed. I’ve mentioned before (somewhere in this blog, I think) about the time someone read my magical fantasy, Covenant, and remarked that it was like a clown trying to write Shakespeare. The comment’s kinder than it sounds, honest. I was a bit of a jokesmith at the time. Writers can buy into the belief that they may only wear one hat but it’s just that – a belief.

Recently, I had a visit. Well, a remembrance really. Just a name – Stephen Heick – that popped into my head. He was a character from a book I wrote (and burned) in my teens. It was a brief visit and, in my imagination, he acknowledged me with a touch of his fedora, and walked on through the scene. I haven’t thought about him in a long time, although one of the characters from his book did join the cast of Standpoint. 

As the third Bladen novel draws to a close so my eager publisher can turn it into a book, I’ve had time to reflect on what an extraordinary journey it has been since the contract was signed in January 2015. Three novels available in a year has far exceeded my expectations. It’s also happened at such a pace that my writing cupboard (we all have them, trust me) is getting bare. For fans of the Bladen series, Book 4 is being sketched out by the sleeping part of the my brain.

But those other hats…
1. My standalone transatlantic comedy drama, Scars & Stripes, is still in need of representation. That’s high on my priority list.
2. I still keep my hand in with gag and sketch writing, which results in a nice little cheque from time to time.
3. There is talk of another edition of As Above So Below magazine. Possibly.
4. I have a new standalone novel in mind, involving time-travel (though not what you’re thinking) and second chances.
5. A novella about a man whose dead brother rings him up for a chat from time to time.

Thriller writer, jokesmith, clown trying to write Shakespeare, fantasy author, magazine co-creator, comedy novelist. Guilty as charged, m’lud, with another seven offences I’d like taken into consideration. 

I’m a veritable hatstand – and so is every other writer.


  1. I've sketched out the beginning and I know the plot, but…there's some technical research I need to do first. (No DeLorean required at this stage!)

  2. If I told you it could spoil the surprise and then you might not want to read the book. Email me if you're desperate for a spoiler.

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