Category Archives: screenwriting

Today I have been brilliant. Tomorrow, maybe not.

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritance, premiership, england, watford, zola, football, soccer, brimson, wembley, crystal palace, top dog, green streetI am by nature, staggeringly lazy. Yes, I know the evidence provided by my catalogue of work might suggest otherwise but the fact of the matter is that I am not one of those people who are driven to write, desperate to write or who have something they simply have to say so will labour long into pretty much every night in the hope of setting the world to rights. Indeed, I know this will upset some people but I’ve never really understood all that sort of nonsense. But then again, I’ve never really considered myself to be part of the literary world and to be fair, that’s reciprocated.

However, I digress. You see for me the joy of being a writer with 17 years worth of work sitting on Amazon (and iTunes and all decent online retailers) is that it allows me what I term ‘thinking time’. As a result I can usually be found either with my feet up watching TV, tinkering in my garage, riding my motorbike or, as has been the case these last few days, rediscovering the phenomenal talent that is Bjork via the awesomeness that is YouTube (and if you happen to be a fan you really should search out the 1997 concert at the Shepherds Bush Empire. One hour sixteen minutes of pure genius).

When I do write however, I write fast. According to certain people, blisteringly so. I also write for long periods, sometimes up to 20 hours a day. Indeed, if Red Bull are ever looking for a new sponsorship opportunity, I’d be only too willing to listen to offers if only if it’s of a few free cans!

More often than not, such instances are fuelled by a deadline induced panic but occasionally, they are driven by the excitement you get when a storyline or a scene is working exactly as it should. Once in a while however, it is driven by something else. Something called brilliance!

I had such an occurrence only this morning for after a restless night I awoke with my head full of a brainwave. Indeed, so amazing an idea is it that by midday I had cleared it with everyone involved and it’s now a goer.

I can’t say what it is other than it is related to Top Dog but rest assured, when it rolls out I’ll make sure everyone knows because I’m not actually sure anything like this has ever been done before. But that seems to be standard for this entire project which is becoming more exciting to be involved with by the day.

On the subject of which, the script is now finalised and both filming and release dates set. We also have our director signed and their name will be released over the next day or so. Now that is going to make people sit up and take notice!

Could I add one thing though, as yet we are not casting anything but the major roles so please do not bombard anyone with information or questions as they will almost certainly go unanswered. When we’re ready, details will be announced via twitter (@TopDogMovie), Facebook or this blog as well as the usual routes so please make sure you keep an eye out.

As they say, watch this space.

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritance, premiership, england, watford, zola, football, soccer, brimson, wembley, crystal palace, top dog, green street

I’ve just proof read the draft of the paperback edition of Wings of a Sparrow which I am informed will hit the bookshelves in October.

It looks absolutely brilliant and given that we’ll be flat out on the movie at that time, I have a funny feeling that the latter part of this year is going to be slightly crazy!

One final thing, I’ve been receiving lots of mails about The Art of Fart recently all of which have been complimentary. Could I please repeat my request that if you enjoy a book, you take the time to leave a review. It really does help for all sorts of reasons not least that it spreads the word. And nothing sells books like word of mouth!

I don’t have one internet troll, I have loads! And they picked on the wrong person!

Dear internet troll, you are fucked.
Dear internet troll, you are fucked.

I have recently become fascinated by the issue of trolls. Not the Peter Beardsley kind or the big hairy creatures featured in Lord of the Rings, but the people who haunt the internet and all too often (but not often enough) end up in court for saying things they really shouldn’t say.

However, I have a confession to make. I am also a troll. Or at least I am if you use the definition of a troll as being someone who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument. Because I’ve been doing exactly that.

But my target hasn’t been some poor kid, sensitive woman or celebrity sort, oh no. My target has been people who are clearly trolls themselves. And boy, do they get the arsehole when you give them a taste of their own medicine.

I won’t go into the reasons how I became involved in all this but suffice to say, I became a ‘victim’ a few weeks ago shortly after I posted something on a forum relating to writing and in particular the issue of self published authors. Naively, I assumed that as an author who has enjoyed a bit of success, some experience might be welcomed. Oh no.

Within a few hours I’d had everything from my ‘claim’ to have been at #1 on the Amazon sports charts for ever with The Crew to my role on Green Street dissected and dismissed. Not just as irrelevant, but by one individual as downright lies. Yes, that’s right, I made it all up. It’s all a dream.

And this continued, for days.

Now I’ve had to put up with some crap in my time from lousy reviews to death threats from extremist nutters and so a few idiots hiding behind ‘tags’ on a message board don’t bother me at all. I actually found it all quite amusing and so being me, I had a dig or to back.

This of course wound them up even more not least because they quickly realised that as someone who was already established, didn’t care, took everything with a pinch of salt and wasn’t adverse to saying what I thought, they were powerless.

Then, out of the blue, I began to receive emails from people talking about these people who were trying to have a dig at me. And the more I read, the more it became clear that these people weren’t just acting like dicks, they were  up to no good.

In short, they are a small group of people who using numerous fake identities and hiding behind some spurious ideal of ‘policing’ the quality of self published books, get their kicks from ripping apart the confidence of amateur and particularly first-time authors.  They do this by various means including posting bogus and extremely critical 1 star reviews of their books on websites such as Amazon. These being backed up by other members of the clique as well of course, by themselves using their numerous fake ID’s.

And some of these reviews are vicious, personal even. The very definition of trolling.

The more I dug into what they were and are up to, the more uncomfortable reading it became and so I made an allegation that there was some kind of review mafia operating on Amazon.

*Boom*

They were at me like a pack of hounds with more attacks. I was anti-woman, anti-American, sexist, racist, a bigot, etc, etc, but when this didn’t work they began to employ diversionary tactics. Every time a legitimate discussion would begin or a sensible question asked, it would be hijacked by debates about biscuits, sea monkeys… anything. A typical bullying tactic.

So from that point on, with the help of a few other people who they’ve also had a go at, I began digging into the background to some of these people and what I uncovered staggered me.

In a sense it’s no different from the hooligan world. I’m often asked about the type of people who become involved in football violence and people are always shocked to discover that very few are the knuckle dragging right-wingers they expect them to be. They are instead, relatively normal members of society who simply get off on what goes on at games.

The same thing applies to the reviewing trolls. Amongst the people I’ve traced are kindergarten teachers, lawyers, engineers, IT professionals, you name it. Some are even authors themselves and indeed, are acting in the very manner they are so quick to condemn in others.

But what they all are, are people who you would normally regard as respectable. And here they are for all to see acting in a way which is as far from respectable as it’s possible to get. That is quite scary.

Now I don’t like bullies and I’m certainly not fazed by them. I’m also of the belief that the best way to deal with a bully is to not simply stand up to them, but to name and shame them. This time is no different and in the fullness of time, these people will be exposed.

I already have the real names of some as well as the list of identities they use on various forums but I will only make that public once I am absolutely certain that the evidence I put forward is indisputable.

Not that it matters of course. After all, as I tell everyone who wants to write, if you can’t take criticism, don’t do it. Because sooner or later someone somewhere is going to rip you to shreds and that is often extremely difficult to handle especially when it is based on things which are fundamentally wrong.

The trolls who have infected Amazon and Goodreads will experience how that feels very soon and I hope they’re ready for it.

Then again, I don’t really care if they’re not because it’s coming anyway.

*

crew, violence, racism, racist, anal sex, oral sex, necrophilia,
The Crew. Still #1

I never get bored of saying this, truly, I don’t. A huge thanks to everyone who is keeping The Crew at #1 on the Amazon and iTunes sports charts. We’re now into out 9th month at the top of the tree which however you look at it, is quite something.

Top Dog is also sitting pretty in the top 3 which proves what I said years ago, that if you give people what they want as opposed to what you hope they might like, they’ll buy it.

My next book, Wings of a Sparrow, is almost finished and then, thanks to the success of The Crew and Top Dog, I’ll be starting work on the third book in the Billy Evans trilogy.

Trust me, it’s going to be the best one yet!

The perils of a pantser. Who’d be a bloody writer?

writer, brimson, lazy, ebooks, amazon, itunes, screenwriting, author, novel, green street, sex, monkey, imac, windowsStrange though it might seem given my lowly standing within the literary world, I am often asked for advice on different aspects of writing. However as someone who has never received or sought any kind of formal training (no need for any comment there thank you!) I have nothing much to fall back on and so in the majority of instances I can only offer advice based on my own experience. Not that there is anything wrong with that of course.

But these last few days, I have been the one seeking advice because I’m confronted with a major quandary and truth to tell, I’m still some way from making a decision.

You see when it comes to writing non-fiction it’s all fairly straightforward. Basic idea, outline, research, tweak outline, write. Easy.

Fiction however, is a different matter and the way I write it very much depends on the genre. For example, if it’s a comedy such as Billy’s Log, I’ll develop a plot and then work on constructing my characters until I know them inside out. For me, that starts with a name, a face and a voice. Once I have those (and they can be based on absolutely anybody from Vinny Jones to my mum) I’ll develop a back story for each of them until they become pretty much real people in my head and only then will I start the actual process of writing the book.

However if it’s a thriller such as The Crew, it’s all about the ending. That after all, is what people tend to remember (and if you doubt that, read the reviews of The Crew on Amazon and see how many people mention the ending) and so I take a great deal of time to get that right before I sort out my characters and start finalising the basic plot which in many respects is only there to get you, the reader, from the beginning to the ending I already have tight in my head.

At that point, I’m ready to start the actual process of writing and the first thing I’ll tackle is the ending. Always. Only once I am totally happy with that will I head for the opening line and go from there.

Now be it comedy or thriller, I always write the actual story in the same way because I’m what is known as a panster. And by that I mean I write by the seat of my pants. I know my characters intimately and I know exactly where they (and by default, the reader) are going but I’m never totally sure how I’m going to get them there.

The joy of writing in this way is that it allows me to be totally flexible with every aspect of the plot. I can add things in, take things out and even go off on completely odd tangents if I want but no matter what I do, I’ll always find a way back to the all important ending. That makes the process much more exciting for me and if I’m excited by what I’m writing when I’m writing it, that can only be a good thing when it comes to the finished product.

However, whilst being flexible is generally a good thing, occasionally it isn’t. And that’s where I am right now.

You see I’m currently working on a new comedy novel and up the two days ago I was more than happy with the way it was unfolding. The story is great, the characters believable and both the dialogue and humour sound. I’d even sent some to a couple of fabulous people who provide me with totally honest feedback on in-work projects and they were both extremely positive. All was looking good and then an idea suddenly hit me.

You see like The Crew and Top Dog, this new book is written in the third person. However, given the emotional journey the central character has to go on coupled with the fact that there will be a lot of ‘me’ in there, it suddenly occurred to me that it might actually be stronger and funnier if it were written in the first person.

Quite why I hadn’t considered this before continues to escape me but the fact is that for whatever reason I hadn’t and so I am now faced with the aforementioned quandary. Do I carry on with my third person version and end up wondering if I made a wrong decision and delivered a weaker book or do I start from scratch on a full first person version even though I’m still not sure if it would work properly.

Of course the obvious thing to do would be to write a new opening in the first person and show that to a few people to get some feedback on which works best. Well I’ve done that and all I’ve ended up with is a 50/50 split. As if that’s not bad enough, the more I read both, the more each version actually feels right.

But I still have to make that all important decision and I have to get it right because once it’s made there will be no going back. If I do decide to change my approach it will require pretty much a full rewrite and whilst that would usually be no problem, I actually have a very tight deadline because this book has to be out ahead of EURO 2012. However in the back of my mind is the nagging thought that if I make the wrong choice I might not realise it until after publication. Can you imagine the horror of that?

Who’d be a bloody writer!

writing, thriller, author, screenwriting, uk film

Could I once again say a very humble thank you to everyone who has kept my books so high up in the various online charts. I really do appreciate that you guys spend your hard earned cash on my work and utilise your valuable time reading it which is why I answer every single mail, tweet or Facebook message.

I think that’s the very least I can do!

Oh, and in case you hadn’t realised, this is an old blog and it refers to my latest novel, Wings of a Sparrow which is now available in ebook and print formats.

The perils of a pantser. Who’d be a bloody writer?

writer, brimson, lazy, ebooks, amazon, itunes, screenwriting, author, novel, green street, sex, monkey, imac, windowsStrange though it might seem given my lowly standing within the literary world, I am often asked for advice on different aspects of writing. However as someone who has never received or sought any kind of formal training (no need for any comment there thank you!) I have nothing much to fall back on and so in the majority of instances I can only offer advice based on my own experience. Not that there is anything wrong with that of course.

But these last few days, I have been the one seeking advice because I’m confronted with a major quandary and truth to tell, I’m still some way from making a decision.

You see when it comes to writing non-fiction it’s all fairly straightforward. Basic idea, outline, research, tweak outline, write. Easy.

Fiction however, is a different matter and the way I write it very much depends on the genre. For example, if it’s a comedy such as Billy’s Log, I’ll develop a plot and then work on constructing my characters until I know them inside out. For me, that starts with a name, a face and a voice. Once I have those (and they can be based on absolutely anybody from Vinny Jones to my mum) I’ll develop a back story for each of them until they become pretty much real people in my head and only then will I start the actual process of writing the book.

However if it’s a thriller such as The Crew, it’s all about the ending. That after all, is what people tend to remember (and if you doubt that, read the reviews of The Crew on Amazon and see how many people mention the ending) and so I take a great deal of time to get that right before I sort out my characters and start finalising the basic plot which in many respects is only there to get you, the reader, from the beginning to the ending I already have tight in my head.

At that point, I’m ready to start the actual process of writing and the first thing I’ll tackle is the ending. Always. Only once I am totally happy with that will I head for the opening line and go from there.

Now be it comedy or thriller, I always write the actual story in the same way because I’m what is known as a panster. And by that I mean I write by the seat of my pants. I know my characters intimately and I know exactly where they (and by default, the reader) are going but I’m never totally sure how I’m going to get them there.

The joy of writing in this way is that it allows me to be totally flexible with every aspect of the plot. I can add things in, take things out and even go off on completely odd tangents if I want but no matter what I do, I’ll always find a way back to the all important ending. That makes the process much more exciting for me and if I’m excited by what I’m writing when I’m writing it, that can only be a good thing when it comes to the finished product.

However, whilst being flexible is generally a good thing, occasionally it isn’t. And that’s where I am right now.

You see I’m currently working on a new comedy novel and up the two days ago I was more than happy with the way it was unfolding. The story is great, the characters believable and both the dialogue and humour sound. I’d even sent some to a couple of fabulous people who provide me with totally honest feedback on in-work projects and they were both extremely positive. All was looking good and then an idea suddenly hit me.

You see like The Crew and Top Dog, this new book is written in the third person. However, given the emotional journey the central character has to go on coupled with the fact that there will be a lot of ‘me’ in there, it suddenly occurred to me that it might actually be stronger and funnier if it were written in the first person.

Quite why I hadn’t considered this before continues to escape me but the fact is that for whatever reason I hadn’t and so I am now faced with the aforementioned quandary. Do I carry on with my third person version and end up wondering if I made a wrong decision and delivered a weaker book or do I start from scratch on a full first person version even though I’m still not sure if it would work properly.

Of course the obvious thing to do would be to write a new opening in the first person and show that to a few people to get some feedback on which works best. Well I’ve done that and all I’ve ended up with is a 50/50 split. As if that’s not bad enough, the more I read both, the more each version actually feels right.

But I still have to make that all important decision and I have to get it right because once it’s made there will be no going back. If I do decide to change my approach it will require pretty much a full rewrite and whilst that would usually be no problem, I actually have a very tight deadline because this book has to be out ahead of EURO 2012. However in the back of my mind is the nagging thought that if I make the wrong choice I might not realise it until after publication. Can you imagine the horror of that?

Who’d be a bloody writer!

writing, thriller, author, screenwriting, uk film

Could I once again say a very humble thank you to everyone who has kept my books so high up in the various online charts. I really do appreciate that you guys spend your hard earned cash on my work and utilise your valuable time reading it which is why I answer every single mail, tweet or Facebook message.

I think that’s the very least I can do!

Oh, and in case you hadn’t realised, this is an old blog and it refers to my latest novel, Wings of a Sparrow which is now available in ebook and print formats.