I’m not usually one for taking part in online debates about writing, mostly because I’m not that clever and have an adversity to making myself look stupid.
There is of course, also the risk that people will discover that I’ve been winging it all this time which wouldn’t do my agents heart rate any good.
However, I recently became involved in a fascinating discussion with a group of writers on the use of gratuitous violence in both books and film. Or to be more specific, the duty of the writer in the way they portray it.
I won’t go too deeply into the way it unfolded other than to say it veered from one extreme to the other and back again at least more than once. But whilst it was extremely interesting to learn how others perceive their creative responsibilities, little or nothing was said which made me change the way I think about mine. And mine, as I see them, are relatively simple. Indeed, they can be encapsulated in one single sentence. For when it comes to anything fictional, my job is to tell a decent story as honesty and realistically as I can.
This is underpinned by something I have said many times and that is the fact that the most important person in the writing process is the person at the end of the chain be that the reader or the viewer. And when you write the kind of things I do for the kind of people I primarily write them for (lads), then my sole duty is to give them something which they can not only recognise but hopefully, put themselves into the centre of without any difficulty.
In the case of a subject like hooliganism, that means street fighting and anyone who has ever been involved in a row at football knows that it isn’t Queensbury Rules Boxing or Tae Kwon Do, it’s short periods of scruffy, disjointed mayhem. It’s still violence, but it’s real violence as opposed to the stylised fighting we see in too many films and computer games and whilst for some it can be little short of a terrifying experience, for others it can border on hilarity.
That’s how I have to write it because that’s how it is. Anything else would be a betrayal and I’d lose my readers (and viewers) in a heartbeat.
Quite rightly too.
The next few weeks will hopefully see a couple of announcements on the movie front. The first will almost certainly be related to my thriller, Three Greens which has now attracted funding from one of the major distributors and the second will be details of the sale of my latest co-written project, Pizza & Miracles.
The latter script was only finished last week but has actually been a really interesting project to work on not least because it is as far from my usual genre as it is possible to get given that the subject matter centres around the subject of spiritualism and the power of the universe. But in many ways, that challenge is what made it the most fun. More of that as and when!
I can also tell you that work is progressing nicely on the third book in the The Crew/Top Dog trilogy as well as on Billy’s Log 2.
My intention at the moment is to self-publish both books but it may well be that someone comes along who will take them along the more traditional publishing route.
On which note, if you didn’t know, I’ve been publishing extracts of the latter online at Billys Blog. Feel free to take a look by clicking here!