Write Once, Then Link

If I’ve got something to say, I write it and then link to that post: Write Once, Then Link.

Follow this link if you want to read more about the thinking behind these posts. If you’re digging around and looking for the topics I’ve covered, you’ll find every page is categorized and tagged with either or both person tags and content tags. There is also a separate tag for authors/screenwriters.

If you’re unsure how this tagging can help you, then read this article.

last updated: 12 June 2018

For every book I have written there’s always something special for me as the author. Sometimes I’ve just tried something different and it worked and at other times it can be a character that I feel was realized especially well. Whatever the book, if it’s been published, you can be sure that in addition to me being happy with the story there are some things in there that I will like that you might not notice.

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Category: writing
People: Clementina  
Tags: High Five   Bag Man   Paris  

...continue reading: A Certain Satisfaction

last updated: 12 June 2018

It’s very easy to come up with a situation for a novel. It’s much harder to come up with a story. People often confuse the two and the difference is significant.

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Category: story
Tags: Bag Man   conflict   stakes   ghostwriter   situation   protagonist   antagonist  

...continue reading: Situation vs Story

last updated: 8 May 2018

I am a British subject and my language is English, but let me suggest a heresy: American English spellings (and grammatical practices) should be preferred over British spellings.

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Category: writing
Tags: British English   American English  

...continue reading: Spelling: UK vs US

last updated: 10 April 2018

When I was writing Tattoo Your Name on My Heart, I had a need for a minor character—a guitarist who plays in the fictional rock band Prickle. Luca Parzani is that character. In crafting Luca, I took inspiration from real life.

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Category: background
People: Michael Schenker   Boniface  
Tags: Tattoo Your Name on My Heart   UFO   guitar  

...continue reading: Needing a Guitarist

last updated: 10 April 2018

I’m going to take a controversial line for someone who makes his living by scribbling down words: Spelling doesn’t matter. At least, it doesn’t matter as much as people make out and it doesn’t matter for the reasons they think it does. What matters is the ability to be understood.

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Category: writing
Tags: spelling   British English   American English  

...continue reading: No One Cares If You Can’t Spell

last updated: 10 April 2018

We are all aware of work that is called literature today, but I wonder what will stand the test of time. What will be regarded as having literary merit by generations in 50 years, 100 years, or 400 years? I’m going to make one guess as to a work that will survive: The Wire.

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Category: writing
Author: William Shakespeare
Tags: The Wire  

...continue reading: What Survives to Become Literature?

last updated: 13 March 2018

Authors (and other creative people) are not uniquely gifted—we get as many ideas, and in particular as many bad ideas, as the next person. However, what authors do with ideas is different. Let me tell you a bit about what I do with ideas and the tool I use to help me manage these ideas.

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Category: writing
Tags: OneNote   ideas   Microsoft  

...continue reading: Nurturing Ideas

last updated: 13 March 2018

I recently read Snare by Lilja Sigurðardóttir, a story about a mother who is forced to work as a drug mule smuggling cocaine into Iceland. If you haven’t read it, you should.

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...continue reading: Snare by Lilja Sigurðardóttir

last updated: 13 February 2018

In 2010, when I first started outlining The Murder of Henry VIII, I had an idea for a 500-year-old conspiracy theory about the murder of Henry VIII. The notion of the Russians trying to influence an election just didn’t seem that much of a stretch. The scenario felt plausible to me. In fact, it wasn’t simply plausible—it was something that I expected to happen (assuming it hadn’t already happened). Events since then suggest that my fiction is quite plausible.

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...continue reading: Interference in Foreign Politics

last updated: 13 February 2018

John le Carré’s 1974 novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was adapted to be a movie and tv miniseries. Seek out all three.

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...continue reading: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

last updated: 9 January 2018

From time to time I get questions about bad language in my books. There are variants on this question, but it mostly boils down to: will I be offended by something in one of your books, Simon? In short, maybe, but I hope not. Or at least, I hope you will agree that any offense reflects what the character feels and is justified within the context.

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Category: writing
Tags: bad language   offense   Ofcom  

...continue reading: Causing Offense

last updated: 14 November 2017

I’ve been watching Comrade Detective. It’s fun…at least the idea is amusing, but I’m not sure it quite sustains over the full series.

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...continue reading: Comrade Detective

last updated: 10 October 2017

Before I wrote the first Leathan Wilkey book, I had the notion of a character who was later called Leathan. I had an idea of someone who was very human. A man who connected with people on a very human level. But a man, for whom life was difficult because of his unique circumstances.

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Category: background
People: Leathan Wilkey  
Tags: Diplomatic Baggage  

...continue reading: Developing Leathan Wilkey

last updated: 10 October 2017

I recently posted a first chapter from a possible future book. Having posted this chapter, I had some questions from, and conversations with readers about historical accuracy and my approach to the concept.

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Category: writing
Tags: historical series  

...continue reading: Historical Accuracy and My Approach to History

last updated: 12 September 2017

This post looks at some of my considerations and the decisions I made when writing the first chapter of an (as yet unpublished) novel which will be set in the mid 18th century.

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Category: writing
Tags: historical series   first scene  

...continue reading: Getting the First Chapter Right

last updated: 12 September 2017

I recently posted a first chapter from a possible future book. Having posted this chapter, many people were kind enough to give me their comments. I had some very interesting conversations with readers and want to share a flavor of those exchanges.

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Category: writing
Tags: historical series  

...continue reading: Reader Comments on My Historical Novel

last updated: 8 August 2017

I’m working on a new (as yet untitled) series of books that will see me return to London as a setting. I thought it might be interesting for readers to see a work-in-progress while it’s actually in progress.

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Category: writing
Tags: historical series  

...continue reading: Introducing My New Historical Series

last updated: 8 August 2017

This is a very early draft of the first chapter from a novel which will be set in the mid 18th century.

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Category: writing
Tags: chapter one   historical series  

...continue reading: New Historical Series: Chapter One

last updated: 11 July 2017

On the face of it, Sexy Beast is a gangster movie. In truth, it’s a love story. Sure, there are all the elements of a British gangster movie, a retired criminal living in Spain who is drawn back for one last job—a safe deposit vault heist. But dig deeper to the heart of the film and there is a love story. Gal Dove loves his wife Deedee, and is only forced back to take the job to protect Deedee.

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Category: books, tv, and movies
People: Ray Winstone   Ben Kingsley  
Tags: Sexy Beast  

...continue reading: Sexy Beast

last updated: 11 July 2017

In Pollute the Poor Boniface plays Sylvia, a tune from 1972 by the Dutch prog rock band Focus. The track is an instrumental with a strong, quite joyful melody, but there’s a mournful undercurrent. It’s one of those tunes that speaks without using words—and, of course, since there are no words, you can imprint your own interpretation.

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Category: music
People: Jan Akkerman   Boniface  
Tags: Focus   Sylvia   Pollute the Poor  

...continue reading: Sylvia