Blake Crouch’s 2016 novel Dark Matter is a page-turner, no doubt about it. It’s the first novel I’ve read that uses the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics as a plot device. This is a tricky matter to handle in fiction. Read More
I re-read Jorge Luis Borges’ short story ‘Emma Zunz’ last week. It’s a tale of revenge and I went back to it because I was writing my own tale of revenge. Read More
It wasn’t until I transferred the photos from my phone to my laptop that I realised I’d misread one of the words. I thought the sign affixed to the front of the old Midland Bank building on Glastonbury High Street said, ’Covid-19 Cull of Magic’. Read More
I haven’t read a ton of writing manuals (it shows, Ed.), but I have a small shelf’s worth at home, and I’m always on the look-out for something that doesn’t go over the same old ground of adverbs (bad), showing not telling (good), and inciting incidents (necessary). Read More
There is a Radio 4 programme called Great Lives— I was going to call it long-running but by BBC radio standards, nineteen years is positively toddling along — in which a celebrity guest chooses a dead person whom they admire and/or consider significant as the subject. Read More
Good and bad, light and dark, mind and matter, yin and yang, male and female, them and us, Celtic and Rangers — who doesn’t like a telling binary opposition? But given the supposed value placed on diversity in our current culture, it’s noteworthy that talk about race also hinges on binary opposition now. Read More
I am very fond of coincidences in plots and situations that are almost but not quite incredible, as in the audacious plan set forth in the first chapter of Strangers on a Train by one man who has known the other passenger only a couple of hours; the chance selection of Tom Ripley, potential murderer, by the father of a young man, as an agent to bring that young man home from Europe; the unlikely and unpromising meeting of Robert and Jennie in The Cry of the Owl, when Robert appears to be a prowler and Jennie ignores this fact and is drawn to him.
(Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction – Patricia Highsmith)