Thursday, 22 April 2010

The symptoms of synopsis

NEWS - Dark Water published 5 August 2010
Bristol Crimefest 20 -23 May 2010

Millport Library - 3 June 2010

Harrogate Crimefest - 22 - 25 July 2010

I think the government should put a health warning on the word 'synopsis'. It should be considered a stress related illness and the request for 'synopsis' (or whatever the plural is .... answers on a postcard please, I've asked people with an awful lot of grey matter and they can't agree!!) should be accompanied by prozac and chocolate to deal with the sense of hopelessness and isolation it entails. I remember well having difficulty understanding the T lymphocyte response and it was only when the lecturer said ... think of B lymphocytes as hand to hand combat (Stewart Granger coming down the stairs buckling his swash immediately entered my mind) and the T's as the Indian scouts coming back to base with reports that Big John Wayne and a Hollywood camera crew are about to descend they need to get reinforcements!! This analogy was then taken up by the TB immune response; the cowboys all in a circle and the Indians going round and round... stalemate. And that I understood. I could see it all in my mind, Bernard McLaverty who I so adore, said good writers always see it in their mind, like a film or like reality ... (gives rise to the adage that if you can't see it, you shouldn't film it. We don't really want to know in the last line that the narrator is a cat, or sofa, or the back shock absorber of a Toyota Corolla) the visual aspect of the film would give it away ... instantly.

But the synopsis is dry, methodical, precise and rather grown up and well behaved. There's a Percy Perfect Prefect thing going on about the synopsis and I think you should be able to present synopsis in a variety of ways ... music, song, dance, french mime, finger puppets .... Can you tell it did not go well???

Meanwhile I seem to be a celebrity endorser for a local candidate for the election. I confessed at the time I knew nothing about politics (in fact politicans are probably the precise people that are good on synopsis and therefore not to be trusted). But this candidate is a good friend, and decent human being and on these grounds alone I think he'd be a good egg in parliament ... somebody who is honest, has a nice wife, a very well behaved, polite child and a cute dog. He has job worries and money worries just like the rest of us and lives a very normal life. So I am keeping my fingers crossed for him.

I can reveal exclusively that Gordon Brown was boogying on down at the Showaddywaddy concert in Glasgow recently, shame it was a Gordon Brown and not THAT Gordon Brown ... but somehow I find the latter image rather pleasing.

On pain of death and getting my fingernails pulled out by my editor, I am going back to my synopsis, might just have a look at how that volcano is doing ...

Or maybe walk the dog again

Or make a cup of tea

Or start my sitcom...

Or do my procurator fiscal essay!!


Tuesday, 6 April 2010

News - Dark Water published 5th August 2010


Bristol Crimefest, 20 - 23rd May 2010

Millport Library - 3rd June 2010

Harrogate Crimefest, 22 - 25 July 2010

Sometimes writing is a great life. And sometimes it ain't!

Good times are when a little innocuous looking email pops into your tray, bringing you the glad tidings that the new book has sold to the audio book company and therefore you have made money without typing a word.

Bad times are when you are happily typing away, the words are rolling across the screen, death and violence reign on the keyboard and hours pass with no caffeine or chocolate and the writer doesn't even notice - and then the phone rings and junior practitioner has slid down a mountain in Switzerland without the aid of skis, coming to grief with three limbs pointing one way and the fourth in quite another.... and can you come in and do the clinic. That is like being pulled away from good friends in the pub, just as one is about to relate a really funny joke that you have heard before but you'd really like to hear again. And it can take a wee while to get back in the groove of the story and the mood of the character again.

I've been asked to do an event at a school that shall remain nameless - last time I went there they were convinced I was Gordon Ramsay's sister. One thought I was Gordon Ramsay's mother (that child barely got out alive). So it'll be interesting what they come up with this time. Nice kids who don't have much in life yet let you have it with both barrels and like to get as good as they give. Could do with them running the country actually.

Am having a good time reviewing my Desmond Bagley and Duncan Kyle books. Just reading The Honey Ant... good story but plotholes that my editor would stick pins in your eyes for... people being shot at and not caring all that much and not mentioning it for a few pages. It's also interesting to see how the role of women has changed in novels written by the same author in 1960 then 1980. In the earlier they point and keep quiet a lot. By the 80's they have degrees and kick ass!

So I'm away to study my forensics now. Sufflocation, my word for the week.