A short film I made of me interviewing myself about my debut novel, 33 Storeys, and my background as a freelance music & lifestyle journalist. I know. Me, talking to myself about myself, does it get any better?
I never wanted to be one of those writers who ends up writing endlessly about writing but never seems to do any actual writing. Then again I never wanted to be one of those writers who spent hours on the internet reading other writers’ writing about writing instead of actually doing any writing, but I do a hell of a lot of that and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t found it a most enjoyable and educational way to avoid writing. So, by way of a compromise, here are some links to some brilliant writers talking about their brilliant writing.
Inspired by Elmore Leonard’s now legendary ’10 Rules Of Writing’, The Guardian ran a two part feature where the likes of Margaret Atwood, Richard Ford, Jonathan Franzen, Philip Pullman, Ian Rankin, Will Self, Sarah Waters and Zadie Smith divulge the 10 rules which either make them the writer they are or stop them wanting to self-harm. Some tips are more technical than others, but all are informative, entertaining and worth reading. My particular favourites are Richard Ford’s: “Marry somebody you love and who thinks you being a writer’s a good idea” and Roddy Doyle’s very wise opener: “Do not place a photograph of your favourite author on your desk, especially if the author is one of the famous ones who committed suicide.”
Nick Cave has a new novel, The Death Of Bunny Munro. He also has a very good website to go with it. Simple but effective, I especially like the video clips of him reading extracts and the limited edition idea – one already used extensively by HarperCollins’s innovative indie style imprint The Friday Project – is genius, not least because if they sell all 500 copies, and at the time of writing there are only 91 left, they stand to turn over £50,000. That’s a pretty smart way of making hardbacks profitable. The book will also, apparently, be available as an iPhone app, which I may well get just to see what it’s like.
I’ve been invited to write a 140 character story for the Story 140 competition being run by Twitter’s very own micro-novelist Nick Warren. A daunting task. If you haven’t read any of Nick’s stories on Twitter I suggest you stop reading this and go and follow him now. The drama, intrigue and humour he can find in 140 characters (including spaces) is staggering. My particular favourite being his story of Jan 19 2009, the eve of President Obama’s inauguration:
Welcome Mr President, we’ve been looking forward to meeting you. Agent Owen and I are with Alien Liaison sir, perhaps you’d better sit down.
Don’t know if I can match Nick’s pithy prose – as he puts it, a novel is a marriage, a short story an affair, the twitter story is a kiss – but I’m having a damn good go. Have written 10 possible contenders so far. I can only enter one, not sure how I’m going to pick, but so the other nine don’t go to waste, I’ll post them here after Nick has announced the winner of the competition.