There are many reasons to admire Stephen Fry, but none greater than his love of language. Here he makes the points that language is more than just words and meaning and that put in certain orders, they take on a life of their own to become something to luxuriate and get lost in, to enflame the passions and arouse the mind, to seduce, excite, anger and calm. Words, in certain orders, are more sensual than any sight or sound can be, because they get inside your head and fuck with it. Certain words, in certain orders, invite your imagination to roll around and get dirty, as Mr. Fry puts it here, “for the sound-sex of it.” Can there be anything better than that?


I am a fan of James Frey’s writing. I am a fan of viral marketing. So it makes sense that I would like and blog about this viral video for James Frey’s new novel, The Final Testament Of The Holy Bible. But before we all get too excited about the fact that my posting of this viral video is proof positive of the effectiveness of viral marketing, I should point out that despite the ad’s genius, I only actually know the book is out – and hence why I googled it and found this superb piece of viral marketing gold – because my girlfriend read a piece about it in last week’s issue of Grazia Magazine.


33 Storeys – A film about a novel from Dan Gennoe on Vimeo.

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 know lots of people have decided that now that they’re older, wiser and less angry with the world they’re over Brett Easton Ellis, and that his books, particularly his debut Less Than Zero and the callously excessive American Psycho , are just nasty, bitter and full of the kind of dead-eyed loathing that the world doesn’t need right now. But I’m not one of them. I think he does what he does exceptionally well, and that in a digital age his cold, detached cruelty is perhaps more resonant than ever. Just saying.


As previously mentioned, I like quotes. It’s as if I think that by merely knowing what someone intelligent said, I will become just as intelligent as they. Only I’m not intelligent enough to remember any of the things that they actually said, which is why I have to write them down. Here are my most recent finds, the majority of which I’ve lifted from the brilliant @ommwriter’s twitter stream (for ‘majority’ read ‘all’) – I suggested they make a page of them ages ago, they haven’t yet, so I’ve made my own.

Some are funny. Some are true. Some are familiar – although who remembers who first said “Less is more”? Really? Liar. Some are inspiring, but I left most of those out because most ‘inspiring’ things make me cringe. All entertained me though. Lookout for the one by Truman Capote, whose way with words was almost as inspired his taste in home furnishings (see above). The one from Popular Mechanics is also very insightful.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“What’s the sense of living if you’re not learning.” – Chiquira Carrasca

“Less is more.” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” – Maria Robinson

“Music is love in search of a word.” – Sidney Lanier

“Imagine more. Think less.” – unknown

“Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow…” – Lawrence Clark Powell

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” – E. L. Doctorow

“Writing is both mask and unveiling.” – E.B. White

“The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.” – Edwin Schlossberg

“Writing well means never having to say, ‘I guess you had to be there.’” – Jef Mallett

“Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” – Popular Mechanics, 1949

“The secret of good writing is to say an old thing in a new way or to say a new thing in an old way.” – Richard Harding Davis

“Nighttime is really the best time to work. All the ideas are there to be yours because everyone else is asleep.” – Catherine O’Hara

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” -Ernest Hemingway

“The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.” – Tom Clancy

“A dose of poison can do its work only once, but a bad book can go on poisoning people’s minds for any length of time.” – Stud Terkel

“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us” – Franz Kafka

“I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” – Elmore Leonard

“The human mind is like umbrella. It functions best when open.” – Max Gropius

“Discovery is the ability to be puzzled by simple things.” – Noam Chomsky

“Some stories are true that never happened.” – Elie Weisel

“I don’t paint things. I only paint the difference between things.” – Henri Matisse

“It [creativity] is like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – Doctorow

“A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” – Thomas Mann

“It’s a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.” – Andrew Jackson

“There is no method except to be very intelligent.” – T. S. Eliot

“The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in shock-proof shit-detector.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it.” – Truman Capote

“I never had any doubts about my abilities. I knew I could write. I just had to figure out how to eat while doing this.” – Cormac McCart

“Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you’ve made sense of one small area.”- Nadine Gordimer

“If you can’t annoy somebody, there is little point in writing.” – Kingsley Amis

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.” – Isaac Asimov

“The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean” – Robert Louis Stevenson

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” – Douglas Adams

“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” – Albert Camus

“Other people’s interruptions of your work are relatively insignificant compared with the countless times you interrupt yourself.” – B. Francis

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” – Cyril Connolly


I’m a big fan of Chuck ‘Fight Club’ Palahniuk‘s writing. I’m an even bigger fan of his warped world view. And I’m an even bigger fan of the way he’s created this whole cult movement around the first two. I would love to go to one of Chuck’s readings, but until he makes it to London I’ll have to make do with the film above.


Writing isn’t hard. It’s concentrating long enough to type a whole sentence that’s the real bugger. Which is why OmmWriter is one of the best inventions of all time. As they say, Your mind is a wild monkey, and this simple little piece of software is just the thing to tame it. Download it now (if you’re on a mac that is) you won’t regret it.


There is an advert that pops up every so often over there on the right hand side. It may or may not be there now. Have a look. It’s one of these google ads that is generated according to surrounding content. It features a picture of a very smiley bald man with a laptop (or sometimes an equally delirious lady with lovely long hair and a laptop) and above his head it cheerily reads: Why not be a writer?

I think the same thing every time I see it.


Just saying.


I am a big user of Moleskine note books. I have way too many of them. I will no doubt have way too many more. The pictures above are from an imaginary ad campaign that Amy Nortman, a student of the University of North Texas, won a competition with. What competition? I have no idea. But they are genius and ably explain the love of the Moleskine, so I hope it was a competition with a big fat cheque at the end of it.

See these and the rest of the series in their full glory on the Moleskine Flickr. To find your own deep love and spend more money than is reasonable on notebooks, see the Moleskine site.


I have ghosted celebrity memoirs. I have worked on biographies. I am currently two thirds of the way through writing a novel, plotting another and working on a film idea.

I used to do all of the above in Word. It used to to make me very unhappy.

I used to have folders all over my laptop with notes, research, transcripts, chapters, outlines, drafts, manuscripts. It was all very confusing. When the draft was finished I used to have to cut’n'paste each chapter into yet another Word document. Making sure there was a page break before each chapter was a nightmare. Keeping the formatting consistent made me want to kill. And if I wanted to change or move anything… I used to weep…a lot.

Not anymore. Oh no. Now I use Scivener. Now I have all my notes, research, transcripts, chapters, outlines and drafts in one place and when all the chapters are done I can compile them into a manuscript and output it to Word, page breaks and formatting included, at the touch of a button.

Am I happier? Of course. Would I recommend other writers try Scrivener for themselves? Absolutely. Am I more productive? Not a bit, but I at least get to procrastinate and be unproductive free from the fear of page breaks and formatting and not being able to find my notes the one time I do decide to write something. Which in its own way is worth every cent of the $39.95 it costs.

Don’t believe me? Why would you. Maybe the video below will do a better job of convincing you.

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