Writing A Novel #1 – I Don’t Have A Title Yet.


It’s been a while since I’ve had time to update the blog, mostly because I haven’t felt compelled to put anything up here that I felt was worthwhile. Plus, I’ve been busy. 


Things have changed my friends and now you can look forward to a weekly blog from me.

What’s the content of this blog I hear you cry?

Writing a novel. That’s what. Over the past few years I’ve really enjoyed delving into various books, blogs and television programmes about the writing process. The one that stood out for me is a BBC documentary, part of the Imagine series, called Ian Rankin And The Case Of The Disappearing Detective. In this hour long doc, Alan Yentob chats to Ian Rankin over the course of six months while Ian writes a book. It’s fascinating. Like a video diary of the writing process. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And the book that was born out of that year was Standing In Another Man’s Grave – the return of the fabulous Inspector Rebus.

The piece of writing on the creative process that I really enjoyed was Reacher Said Nothing – a discursive, insightful book from Andy Martin. Basically, Andy sat behind Lee Child while Lee wrote Make Me.  The book touches upon Lee’s process, his thinking, and covers some of his more brilliant writing techniques. One such technique is “Write the slow parts fast, and the fast parts slow.” Think about it. Reacher can get from Phillidelphia to Los Angeles in a paragraph, but in some books a single punch can take a page to travel to its target.

I’ve decided to blog the writing of my new novel. I might do the odd video, but mostly it’s going to take the form of this blog. I’ve decided this mainly because I can’t ask Andy to sit in my kitchen for a whole year. Although, he’s perfectly welcome to do that. He’s a very nice man.  I don’t think he eats much. He could even do a bit of ironing while he’s waiting for me to do something. The other main reason I’m blogging this process is the BBC probably aren’t interested in sitting in my kitchen for a year either. It would be a bit crowded what with Andy in there anyway. Plus, Alan Yentob doesn’t know who I am and he probably wouldn’t speak to me even if he did.

So I’m kinda stuck with this blog.

Fear not, brave reader. I’ve asked a host of your favourite crime writers if they wouldn’t mind writing a blog post or two on their process. So look out for special guest spots.

The blog will serve as a sort of diary for me. It will be honest. There will be some weeks where the word count will be desperately low, and I’ll feel bad about writing those posts. Maybe the thought of telling the world how little progress I’ve made might give me a boost – you never know. There will also be weeks where the word count recorded will be reasonably high. Usually that means I’ll spend quite a bit more time on those sections when I come to do my second draft.

Upcoming posts may also contain the odd word about what movies or TV I’ve enjoyed that week, or what books I’ve managed to finish.

I’m looking forward to it. This is the kind of blog that I wanted to read when I was an unpublished writer, hacking my way through my first book. The aim is to lay the process bare and debunk some of the writing myths that seem to have cropped up. I’ll also post the odd section from the book as a work in progress.

My hope is that in the future I can look back at this blog and remember how difficult writing a book can be, and hopefully remind myself that I can do it, that it’s supposed to be tough, that you’re supposed to get stuck at some points, and that I will never ever be able to successfully spell Philidelphia.

I hope that readers who are fans of mine (I know you exist, somewhere) might get some enjoyment out of it and writers will also be able to sympathise/ empathise/laugh at me.

Look out for the first blog post soon.

First problem with the new novel – I don’t have a title yet.

See you soon.


  1. I for one will be ecstatic if you write a blog re your process. You know me as @salander24 on twitter.
    I loved both The Defence and The Plea and cannot
    wait for The Oath. Hope all goes brilliantly. Cannot
    offer help with title without synopsis. However I
    am sure it will be another of your books that keeps me me awake until finished. Hope all goes well.

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