OMOHO

Lancaster University, 1993. I’m in a class. It’s the creative writing MA. My tutor is Alan Burns. He wrote Europe After the Rain, Babel, Dreamerika! He was one of a group of experimental writers knocking around in the 1960s which included BS Johnson. Alan used to talk about cut-ups a lot. And he was fond of this exercise: choose […]

Why Blonde became Dust

In the mid-90s I read all five of Derek Raymond’s pitch black Factory novels: He Died with His Eyes Open, The Devil’s Home on Leave, How the Dead Live, I Was Dora Suarez and Dead Man Upright*. I’d been of a mind to write a crime novel of my own for some time, and had […]

Two weeks until Dust and Desire

There was something about her shadow that just wasn’t right, but I was too pumped up to understand. Until I looked at her directly. I took in what was left of her for maybe a second, if that, then I turned off the light and sat in an armchair, just me and her in the […]

Dormiveglia

There’s some good can come from waking at 5.30 am with a full bladder, or an accidental kick in the shins, or the cat deciding that your head is the place where it wants to sit. This morning I drifted in and out of consciousness, now eyeing the LCD of the clock radio, now fending […]

Ghosts and Deadlines

I’ve been working on a novel with the working title HOUSE OF SLOW ROOMS for the best part of three years. I’ve not been writing it every day, but I’ve certainly been thinking about it every day (which is, some would say, the same thing, or at least part of the job). It has had to […]

Word Count Dependency

I tend to measure my day-to-day progress on a project by the number of words I’ve accrued. It’s easy, straightforward, quantifiable. You know where you stand. If you’re in the hunt for an agent or a publisher, the likelihood is their guidelines will tell you you need to write between 70 – 100,000 words (probably […]