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My boring writers life…

A couple of years ago, I penned a blog about the idea of my writing my autobiography.

Recently, on more than one occasion in fact, this subject has been broached again but just as I did back then, I dismissed the idea not simply because I can’t actually imagine why on earth anyone would be interested  enough to read it, but also because I have led a life which has been, shall we say, eventful. Indeed, back then I made the point that were I to commit it all to print, large portions of it would be disregarded as some kind of Walter Mitty fantasy.

However, as the completion of my 16th book approaches, and having recently passed the ’20 years in the job’ mark, I thought it might be worth listing some of the events that might make it in should I ever decide to take the plunge. I also threw in a few things which not many people actually know about me and purely for a bit of self-indulgence, thought I would share them.

In the interests of common decency I have edited out anything involving either women or sex (thank god I hear you cry!) as well as anything which might incriminate either myself or anyone else. I can however, assure you that everything listed here is absolutely true. And then some!

So, in no particular order, I…

used to smoke 60 Marlboro a day but gave up cold turkey. I would start again tomorrow if I was allowed.

once fell asleep whilst riding a motorbike and only woke up when I left the road and went through a hedge. I didn’t come off and yes, I was drunk, very drunk in fact. I’ve never again ridden or driven with alcohol inside me as I am terrified of losing my licence.

have eaten all kinds of odd things on my travels but the weirdest are Elk liver pate and sliced Reindeer tongue. Both were quite nice.

have only ever broken four bones and they were all as a result of sport. Nose (boxing), two ribs (stock car racing) and back (football).

once dropped a car on my hands and the only way I could get myself free was to simply wrench them out.  Sadly, not many of my nails made it and yes, it really was as painful as you imagine.

rarely drink these days because I am useless at it (and as previously stated, am terrified of losing my driving licence).

love giving random people compliments.

receive at least one email or tweet a day asking me something relating to Green Street. And no, I had nothing to do with 2 or 3 but would write 4 if they offered me enough money.

have taken part in all kinds of different motorsport with some success, but my proudest achievement was 8th place in the 1988 world banger racing finals.

was, on two separate occasions, in the exact spot where just 24 hours later the IRA carried out  assassinations of British servicemen.

have only ever been arrested three times; Once for theft of my own property from my own motor vehicle (!) and twice on the TV show, ‘The Bill’.

would love to write a proper full-on romance from a male’s perspective.

have ridden a motorbike at 150 plus and driven a car at over 140. Both were my own.

have only ever taken my daughters to one football match and specifically chose it to dissuade them from ever wanting to go again. It worked. Thanks Norwich.

love a good conspiracy theory.

regard Billy’s Log as my best book to date but had most fun writing The Art of Fart. However, the best thing I’ve ever written (and of which I’m most proud) is a film I’m currently developing about a British soldier.

am a firm believer in all things spiritual and have had all kinds of ghostly encounters over the years.

have always wanted to own a Range Rover. I don’t. Yet.

rarely refer to myself as a writer as I still don’t think I’ve earned the right to that title.

have only ever been invited to three literary events during my career. Two of those were to do with moaning about something, the third came about purely because I asked why I hadn’t been invited! I do like talking to book clubs and schools though, when the ask me. I have never even been invited to a screenwriting event!

was just over a week away from leaving for a four month tour of the Falkland Islands when a psychic told my wife that I wouldn’t be going. I didn’t, I developed a stomach ulcer instead.

once ended up in court as a defence witness in a case against someone who was accused of assaulting me (think about that for a moment).

have seen not one, but three planes crash.

was scheduled to be on the ‘Herald of Free Enterprise’ when it sank outside Zeebrugge but cancelled the trip at the last minute as my wife was asked to go on a girlie night out.

once had a German policeman point a gun at my head and switch the safety catch to ‘off’.

have been involved in a (very) high speed car chase with the police. I was being chased, not chasing.

once had a bounty placed on my head (not the chocolate kind either!) and was targeted by an extremely nasty political organisation.

used to co-host a late-night radio show for Liberty Radio in London which was, at that time, owned by Mohammed Al Fayed. We were actually on air at the time of Princess Diana’s death.

once swore at Lady Sarah Ferguson (by accident, not because I don’t like her).

was once involved in a fight during a live TV show.

have only been a best man once and that was at a same sex wedding (and it was brilliant!).

am all but blind in one eye which is why I can’t watch 3D movies.

have a desire to run for public office and almost ran in the first ever ‘Mayor of London’ election. I still have plans to form my own political party.

once set up a charity for British troops serving on the front-line and managed to provide them with almost 22,000 free books.

once got up and walked off of a live prime time UK TV news programme because they described me as a ‘football hooligan’ when I had repeatedly asked them not to and warned them I would walk if they did.

never play computer games (boring) and never watch horror movies (coward).

sell more books in Russia than anywhere else bar the UK.

have had two mates die in front of me. Both were on motorcycles.

am terrified of heights.

once stole a parrot. I did take it back.

secretly inserted 14 things into the initial script of Green Street which were either ‘in-jokes’ or referred to something very personal. They all made it onto the screen but only half of them have ever been worked out.

once spent an afternoon all alone in a little cove on Ascension Island swimming naked amongst a swarm of little black fish only to discover later on that they were actually sea water Piranha’s. Barely a week later, that same shoal (or their mates) stripped the face off someone who fell off a ship into the sea.

once sold condoms for a living.

adore America but my favourite city in the world is St. Petersburg in Russia.

once appeared fully naked in front of a platform packed with Russians on their way to work.

was one of the first, if not THE first, person in the west to know about the Chernobyl disaster.

was once held hostage by a cow (bovine, not female).

was once involved in an actual UFO related incident (and no, I wasn’t abducted or probed!).

turned down the opportunity to invest in the setting up of a very famous website which was subsequently sold for many millions!

was once trapped in my car for 24 hours by the snow.

am a Falklands Veteran and was the first RAF member of the South Atlantic Task Force to have his post disestablished after the War.

have been a guest at Buckingham Palace on three occasions.

once punched a donkey on the nose. It hurt. Me, not it.

have flown in a Harrier jump jet (not by myself obviously!).

have never knowingly taken, sniffed or smoked any kind of illegal substance!

appeared in the James Bond movie, Goldeneye and once had a screen test as a potential presenter for ‘Top Gear’ (I didn’t get the gig).

And finally….

As anyone who actually knows me will testify, I am actually quite boring, quite shy and am utterly useless at small talk.

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

Meet Georgina, my latest troll. (plus news of Mr. Sothcott).

I awoke this morning to discover that I had a new troll. Her name is Georgina Arapi and she’d apparently taken exception to my recent blog, It’s time for charity to genuinely begin at home.

Now I have no problem with people holding different opinions to mine and indeed, have been called many things in my time and been accused of holding all kinds of beliefs. However, I learnt long ago that the second you start trying to defend yourself against such accusations, you’ve lost. Conversely, if you stand your ground and come from a position of confidence in your own beliefs, you usually disarm the accuser leaving them with nowhere to go except into the world of reasoned debate or onto the other side of a ‘blocked’ button. Or so I thought.

For what Georgina did was to avoid any direct contact with me and instead, began to trawl through my Facebook friends list and send people the following message:

troll, politics, europe,refugeesThat, I do have a problem with. 

Thankfully, someone did the decent thing and let me know what she was up to but given the nature of the attack, I decided that rather than deal with it privately as I would normally, I would fight fire with fire and expose Ms Arapi as the cowardly troll she obviously is. So I posted details of her activities on my Facebook page together with the screengrab you will see at the top of this page.

To say she wasn’t happy at being publicly outed is an understatement -not least because the response to her was far from complimentary and within a few hours, obviously in response to complaints from her, Facebook deleted my original post meaning that everything vanished into the ether. However, it proved two things to me.

First, my Facebook friends list is inhabited with all kinds of awesome people and secondly, I hit the nail pretty much on the head with the original post. Because if people on the left are being forced to resort to such a pathetic tactic as sweeping through Facebook in an effort to try to undermine those who don’t follow the same fanatical beliefs as they hold, it’s pretty obvious that they’re running scared. As of course, they should be.

For despite what they believe, caring for veterans and wanting our taxes spent on our elderly, our schools, our public services and especially the NHS isn’t racist, nor is it bigoted. It’s common sense, it’s fair and it’s the right thing to do.

Speaking of Facebook, as some people are well aware, I am one of a number of people involved in a legal dispute with Jonathan Sothcott, the producer of Top Dog.

I won’t go into details here as it’s now a matter for HMRC and the police who have already interviewed him in connection with our allegations. However, both Top Dog Films Ltd and We Still Kill The Old Way Ltd, have recently been wound up on account of unpaid invoices and as a consequence, the investigator for the Official Receiver has contacted me and requested that anyone remaining unpaid for work on Top Dog, We Still Kill or for that matter, any film made by one of Jonathan Sothcott’s companies, contact him direct as a matter of urgency.

His details are: Andrew Beckett, Official Receivers Office, The Insolvency Service (London), 2nd Floor, Abbey Orchard Street, London, SW1P 2HT .

Tel: 0207 637 6337 email: andrew.beckett@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers, The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

Georgina Arapi, refugee, brexit, politics, author, screenwriter, racism, racist, hooligans, blogger


10 things all writers should know before signing a contract.

author, writing, screenwriter, screenwriting, amazon, ebooks, epublishing, publishing For some reason I’ve never been able to fathom, I receive a lot of mails asking me for advice about contracts, both publishing and screen.

Now to be clear, whilst I have done a lot of deals during my agent free days, I am certainly no expert in this field and should not be considered as such. In fact, what knowledge I have accrued is generally a result of my own mistakes and trust me, I have made some corkers over the years. However, as someone who’s always happy to help if I can (and as long as you don’t hold me accountable in any way should you choose to follow my advice and it all goes wrong) here are my top 10 tips. Take ’em or leave ’em.

1.  Arguing with editors or producers over terms can cause some serious rifts in a working relationship which is obviously best avoided. Therefore, if you have an agent you should leave everything, and I mean everything, to them.

It stands to reason that their job is to get you a great deal because whilst they might be fabulous people who you adore with a passion, the stark reality is that the more you earn, the more they earn. So if they are happy with the deal they put in front of you, you certainly should be.

2.  If you don’t have an agent, then you are in a weakened position because the people you are negotiating with will inevitably assume that you are either naive and/or desperate which gives them the upper hand. Therefore, you should write the following three words down and stick them somewhere which places them in your eye line at all times: TRUST NO ONE.

Believe me, no matter what anyone else might tell you, when it comes to deals there is only one person who has your interests at heart and if you don’t have an agent, that person is you.

Remember, it’s not personal, it’s business. The film BUSINESS, the publishing BUSINESS. As such, everyone you negotiate with might well come across as your best mate but the truth is that they are desperate to give you as little as possible or better still, strike a deal which means they don’t actually have to give you anything at all. This is because the less they give you, the more they keep for themselves or their employer. So read everything as many times as you have to and question anything you are unsure of. When it comes to contracts, there is no such thing as a stupid question, there are however, plenty of stupid writers who didn’t ask the questions they should have.

3.  It’s human nature to avoid asking for what we think we are worth and since most negotiators know this, their first words will be ‘so what do you want?’ thus putting you on the back foot from the off. Therefore to avoid this, it is vital that before a deal is even discussed, you take the time to work out what you have and how much will get it from you.

Remember, everything has a value be it your finished manuscript, your experience, your time, your backlist or even ‘From the writer of Green Street’. So be professional, quantify everything and work out both a starting point and a bottom line because pound to a pinch, the person asking you the question you will have.

4.  Publishing royalties should be on a sliding scale. For example, 7.5% for the first 10 thousand sales, 10% for the following 40 thousand and anything over 50 thousand should earn you 12.5%. All publishers will baulk at that but the reality is that most novels won’t get anywhere near sales of 10 thousand anyway so what have they got to lose? 

Should your novel be a success however, you’ll be quids in. As of course, will they.

5.  Unless you are knowingly going into an agreement for a film which is designed to kick start a career or you are willing to work on some kind of profit share, a contract for a screenplay with a production company should always include a fee on signature for one very specific reason; commitment.

If someone is prepared to put their money where their mouth is, it’s fairly obvious that they will be a lot more enthusiastic about taking your script through to the day the camera’s roll than someone who has nothing invested save a couple of lunches (if you’re lucky). Indeed, if someone is asking you to sign something but are not prepared to invest in you, you should be asking them (or yourself) why.

The remainder of the total fee will be staggered anyway so make sure you know what will be due to you and when.

6.  Unless a major star or studio is involved, back end payments are generally worthless so take whatever is offered with a pinch of salt and laugh at any offers of increased back end payments in lieu of a smaller front end fee. This is generally a simple tactic to save money so you should always squeeze every penny you can from the front end.

However, always make sure that a back end payment is included just in case it’s a smash and the creative accountants can’t cover it up.

7.  Watch the clauses! You want invites to premieres, involvement in promotions (at their expense), a cut of any soundtrack profits and if there’s a sequel, you want to be the one to write it. If not, you want a slice of the action including payment for the use of any characters you have created.

If there’s a chance of a novelisation, you want to write it but if you don’t, you want a cut of any profits, etc, etc.

If it’s for a book, you want details of the marketing publicity budget as well as an approximate publication date if at all possible.

Seriously, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

8. If the deal is for a screenplay, always ensure that there is a clause in the contract whereby if the film isn’t made, the rights to your work revert to you (for free) after a reasonable period. That way, if nothing comes of it, you will at least have a script you can try to sell somewhere else.

9.  Always, always, always get everything read by either a lawyer, the Writers Guild or the Society of Authors before you sign it. That’s what they are there for so use them.

If a lawyer comes back with some concerns about a contract, act on their advice and fight your corner. Producers are used to brinkmanship so take them all the way if need be and always be prepared to walk away if need be.

You might well come under pressure to avoid this step and just sign on trust or good faith and this will come in many forms from threats that the financiers are about to pull out if you don’t sign to female directors sobbing on the phone in the middle of the night. You should treat all such tactics as bullshit.

If someone doesn’t want a lawyer to see a contract they’ve put in front of you it’s almost certainly because they have something to hide (see point 2 above). Therefore, resist this pressure, stay cool and make them wait until you are ready to sign on the line. It’s your time, your money and your future income.

10.  Believe me, signing a dodgy deal is an awful experience so only sign on the line when you are sure that it’s as good as it can be for all sides, but especially you!

And finally, always trust your gut because if something feels wrong, it usually is.

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

author, writing, writer, screenwriting, screenwriter, publishing, indiefilm, low-budget, self-publishing, brimson, hooligan,veteran 

A writers life: The joy of people.

I doubt this will come of much of a surprise to anyone who has ever met me but the truth is that I am not exactly a ‘people’ person.

It’s not that I don’t like people, I really do. It’s just that far too many of them seem to do or say things which annoy me. Admittedly most probably don’t set out with the intention of winding me up me personally but that doesn’t excuse it. Indeed if anything, it actually makes it even worse because if they’re unwittingly annoying me then chances are they are unwittingly annoying lots of other people as well. Thus, they are clearly either stupid or worse, ignorant. And why should I or anyone else put up with that?

The problem for me of course, is that if I take the trouble to point out to a woman the simple fact that when I go into Starbucks for some peace and quiet, I do not expect nor want it to be disturbed by her screaming brat, I’m the one perceived to be in the wrong! How does that work? Surely it’s only by pointing out the error of people’s ways that they will ever remedy their social inadequacies!

Similarly, whenever I’m out and about with someone, I have a habit of commenting on what people are wearing –and yes, I am aware of the irony in that statement! Mostly, this is for my own amusement but I do wonder why it isn’t socially acceptable to walk up to someone and point out that they look a mess or that they would be better served either dressing to suit their age or simply stopping at home. After all, would it not be better to know? And if someone like me, who’s getting on a bit and has seen a bit of life can’t tell them, who can?

To be perfectly honest, the older I get the more difficult it is to keep silent and things become even harder when I am directly involved because adding the element of ‘personal’ into the equation takes it into a whole new dimension. Largely because there are certain things which drive me up the fucking wall –ignorance, rudeness, simple lack of manners and arrogance being the big hitters- and I do seem to encounter them a lot these days. As a consequence, there have inevitably been the odd occasions where keeping my own counsel has not been an option. For example, my one and only visit to the Cannes Film Festival resulted in my throwing some smug little shit into a swimming pool because he had clearly only crawled out of his own arse long enough to be incredibly patronising to both me and the people I was with.

Now reading this might well give the impression that I am one of those loud brash people who think nothing of gobbing off to all and sundry about anything and everything and it’s fair to say that whenever I meet people who know something of my background, that’s kind of how they expect me to be. Sometimes, I do actually step up and play that particular game although more often than not, it is for my own entertainment.

However, for the most part the truth is actually quite different because in the flesh I am actually quite a shy soul. That’s why whenever I am introduced to new people I never like to be introduced as a writer unless it is directly relevant. Not because I am embarrassed about it, but because I actually don’t like talking about myself or my work that much. I’m far happier sitting in the background observing as opposed to indulging in the loathsome activity of small talk. Something I am incredibly bad at.

Then again, writing this down has given me food for thought. After all, ever since I’ve been writing people have been happy to take any opportunity to comment on pretty much every aspect of my life and there are plenty of people making a very good living out of stating the obvious or merely moaning for the sake of it. So maybe there is something to be said for a bit of reciprocation. I do after all have a degree of what called be called ‘a profile’ or even ‘fame’ so telling it as I see it could be just the USP I’ve been looking for!

After all, it doesn’t take a genius to understand that if everyone was more like me, this world would be a far happier place.

Surely that stands to reason doesn’t it?

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

The Myth of Writers Block!

It’s not often I write about the actual process of writing because I tend to think that to do so would infer that I actually know what I am talking about. 

So, when people mail me asking for advice and/or guidance, what I tend to do is to be either as supportive as I can or point them in the direction of the seemingly endless websites, blogs or even perish the thought, books (old school I know, but I am old) concerned with the world of penmanship. That way, I can’t be blamed if it all goes horribly wrong. There is however, one exception.

You see when it comes to writing, there is one topic which is guaranteed to get me going and that is the thorny subject of writers block.

Wikipedia defines writers block thus: a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand or, at the other extreme, some “blocked” writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers. It can manifest as the affected writer viewing their work as inferior or unsuitable, when in fact it could be the opposite.

Well I’m sorry, but I’ve written a lot over the years and with 15 books on my backlist I feel reasonably qualified to comment on this subject and say that as far as I’m concerned, writers block is bollocks. It’s merely a term invented by writers as an excuse behind which they are able to hide. 

So with that in mind, if there is anyone reading this who actually thinks that they are ‘suffering’ please take note of the following:

  • Not being able to sit down and write is not writers block, it is called laziness. So either man up and get on with it or give up altogether and do something else.
  •  Not being able to get past a blank screen or empty page is not writers block, it means you are devoid of ideas. So either get off your arse and get out into the real world for a while to find some inspiration or forget the idea of writing and find another hobby.
  •  Not being able to get over a hurdle in your plot is not writers block, it means that either your idea doesn’t work or you’re simply not clever enough to make it work. So again, either find a way to get over it or give up on it and start afresh.
  • Thinking that what you’re currently writing is inferior to your previous work is not writers block, it means that it probably is. So trust your own judgement, bin the lot and start again rather than flogging yourself to death.

I could go on, but you get the general idea.

Now I’m not saying people don’t get stuck and to be honest, I’ve hit an obstacle in pretty much everything I’ve ever written. But for me, dealing with problems is part of the creative process and in many ways, one of the most exciting. Not least because it forces you to look at your work from a totally different perspective and in my experience that’s always a good thing for a writer. Not least because it’s often where the best ideas are lurking.

@dougiebrimson

My numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

writing, screenwriting, writers block, author, hollywood. green street, 

Why this photo haunts my writing life. 

Harrier, author, writing, football, filmOn Dec 31st 1975, a week short of my 17th birthday, I left the confines of my happy, if chaotic, family home and headed off for an adventure. Or to put it another way, I headed off to begin my basic training in the Royal Air Force.

I have written about my time in the military many times and no doubt, will do so again as I become more and more involved in all things veteran. However, the more I think back to those days, the more I have one very specific regret; I never kept a diary. As a consequence, I’ve forgotten far more than I can remember.

Take the photo at the top of this blog. Yes, that fresh faced lad on the left is me, standing alongside a gentleman (and I use that term loosely) named Pete Cutler. It was taken in approximately 1980/81 and the fact that we were on deployment with the Harrier Force and flying out of a forest somewhere in Germany are about the only details I can remember with any degree of accuracy.

On the face of it, that would be enough. It is after all, a relatively simple picture. However, that single photograph serves as a portal into a unique world that very few people ever got to experience. I’m not talking about being at the sharp end of the West’s response to the threat posed by the Soviet Union or the fact that we were working with what was possibly the greatest military aircraft of all time. I’m taking about what went on when the flying stopped and we were free to relax. And when I say relax, I mean get up to mischief.  

Indeed, it’s safe to say that were I ever to write my autobiography, life out in the field with 4 Squadron RAF (and Mister Cutler for that matter) provided that young fresh faced lad on the left with enough anecdotes to fill more than a chapter or two.

Blagging a flight in the rear seat of a T2 Harrier, living in an abandoned Nazi Hospital, swearing at Fergie (the Princess, not the manager), waking up in a lake (literally), encounters with the SAS, getting shot at and even late night visits to live sex shows are amongst numerous tales I have rattling around my head from those days but sadly, thanks to the obligatory intake of vast amounts of duty-free alcohol coupled with the passing of far too many years, the details of most are at best sketchy and at worst, vague. Yet had I kept even a simple diary, all of this history and more would be at my fingertips ready to be transcribed.

The fact that I didn’t is one of my greatest regrets and not just as a writer or even as a veteran, but as someone who has lived and enjoyed their life. Then again, if I were able to put it all on paper, it’s fairly safe to say that it would be quite a read!

So please, whoever you are and whatever you do, keep a diary, even a basic one. And urge your kids to do the same. You never know when it might come in handy.

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

 

Here it is. The most useful book I’ve ever read on the writing process.

Brad1As someone who has written in pretty much every type of genre and format possible, I’m often asked for advice by others keen to follow in my blood and sweat stained footsteps.

Whilst such requests are flattering, suggesting as they do that I know what I’m talking about, I tend to avoid questions of this nature because the truth is that there is no real mystery to writing. In fact, be it novel, non-fiction book or even screenplay, there are only really two things you need and if you have both, you’re already well over halfway there. However, if you have only one, you’ve got nothing. 

What are those two magic elements? They are, quite simply, a decent story and motivation. 

Decent stories are, to be fair, reasonably easy to come by. Motivation isn’t. indeed, of all the things a writer needs, motivation is often the most difficult thing of all to source and retain. For that’s what will drive you on to write, learn, develop and finally, to finish. 

So, with that in mind, I want to do something I never thought I would ever do. I want to recommend a book to anyone looking to write for either publication or screen. It was written by a chap named Brad Burton and is called Life. Business: Just Got Easier.

Yes that’s right, it’s a business book.

I won’t go too deeply into what Brad says or how he says it but what I can tell you is that whilst it might not teach you anything about the craft or technicalities of writing, it certainly will teach you everything you need to know and more about the process of keeping yourself motivated from blank page to ‘the end’ and beyond. Just as importantly, if you treat each individual project as a small business in its own right (which is exactly what each is if you think about it) it will show you how to manage them and your time more effectively.

It’s amazing stuff and it has certainly worked for me. I can’t see how I can give it a higher compliment or recommendation than that.

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

25 things I’ve learned in 20 years as a pro-writer.

football, self publishing, author, screenwritingAmazingly, it is now over 20 years since my first publishing contract landed on the doormat and a chunk of money hit my bank account.

Fifteen books and three feature films later, I’m still wondering how this happened and, just as importantly, how I’m continuing to get away with it. However, given that ‘writer’ is the box I tick whenever I’m asked for my occupation, I must be doing something right and so it occurred to me the other day that it might be worth scribbling down some of my perceived wisdom in the hope that it might help or inspire someone who is seeking to tread the same slippery path.

So, in no particular order…

1. It really can be the best job in the world. You get to create things, meet fabulous people, visit fabulous places and you best of all, you get paid for it! On top of that, you’re allowed to spend weeks in pyjama’s without anyone thinking it’s odd and best of all, if you write about football, you’re entitled to write your season ticket off against tax.

2. It really can be the worst job in the world. It can be soul destroying, confidence sapping and incredibly frustrating, all at the same time. You also encounter scumbags and smiling knives on a regular basis and have to deal with people who think it’s perfectly acceptable to slag you off simply because you because you either turned down their kind invitation to work for them for free or you managed to avoid feeding their sad egos by avoiding getting into online spats with them.

3. The best marketing tool you will ever have is yourself, so be yourself. If people don’t like you, f**k ‘em. There are always more people, there’s only one you.

4. Editors are the unsung hero’s of writing. A great one will make you look like a great writer, a bad one will make you look like an idiot. So make sure that you only work with great ones.

5. Never resent anyone else’s success. Unless it’s E.L. James in which case you are perfectly entitled to think ‘how the f**k?’

6. Join the Writers Guild. They are your union and they are awesome. Oh, and never sign anything either they, your agent or a lawyer haven’t checked first!

7. Trust only two things: your gut instinct and your bank balance. Neither will ever let you down.

8. Generally speaking, if someone wants to meet you, they want something from you. That’s fine (and often fun) but if it’s in a professional capacity and involves the use of your time and experience, there had better be a good reason why they aren’t prepared to pay you. Usually, there isn’t so in such instances, do not hesitate to turn them down. If they’re serious and professional, they’ll come back with an offer of some kind. If they don’t, you’ve lost nothing (and possibly had a close shave).

9. The internet is the enemy of creativity and social media are it’s special forces. Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat are not careers, nor do they pay your bills but if you’re not careful, they will happily consume your time faster than you can ever imagine.

10. Troll baiting can be great fun but if you don’t have a thick skin, treat them with extreme caution. Hitting the block button is not a weakness, it’s a strength.

11. When a deadline looms, you could well end up working 20 hour days for as long as it takes. For that reason, when you don’t have a deadline to meet then ‘I can’t be arsed today’ is a perfectly legitimate excuse for wanting to go out on a motorbike, watch TV or visit Ikea.

12. ’People watching’ is an acceptable reason for sitting in Costa or Starbucks drinking coffee, eating toast and watching the world go by.

13. Adapting your own novel for the screen is a bad idea. There’s not much fun to be found in spending weeks cutting perfectly good bits from a story you previously spent months creating. To make matters worse, despite the fact that ultimately you have little or no control over what ends up on screen, everyone will blame you if it’s not as good as the book but no one will praise you if it’s brilliant.

14. Writing a novel based on your own screenplay is a great idea. You get to put in even more good bits and tell the story you really wanted to tell.

15. If you’re screenwriting and serious about it, use Final Draft. It’s the established tool of your trade and if you’re not prepared to invest in it, how can you expect people to invest in you?

16. The world is awash with writing teachers but 95% of them are charlatans who merely want to separate you from your money. However, if you really do want to employ one, look at what they’ve had published or produced and if the best you can come up with is ‘teach’ then go elsewhere. The old adage ‘those who can, do but those who can’t, teach’ is 100% true.

17. Nothing shows commitment like cold hard cash and in most cases, you (or your agent) should get that cash upfront. Promises of higher back-end payments are generally worthless.

18. There is no such thing as writers block. It’s a cop-out term employed by people who are either lazy or simply not prepared to admit that whatever they’re supposed to be writing isn’t working as they think it should or, more likely, hoped it would.

19. Always have two entirely different projects on the go. If you’re stuck on one, simply switch to the other one and carry on.

20. You can’t edit a blank page.

21. Every writer, however successful, has a specific book inside them that they really want to write but probably never will. Or is that just me?

22. The Terry Thomas classic ‘School For Scoundrels’ will teach you everything you need to know about conducting yourself both in public and in meetings. Watch it religiously at least once a year and make sure that you learn from it.

23. Find a comfy chair and love it like one of your children.

24. Don’t play safe. If you have something to say, then say it. But be prepared to back it to the hilt if need be.

25. Family aside, the most important people in your life are your readers. They give you everything from your wages to their time and as a consequence, they should be loved and cherished accordingly. Treat their reviews, even the bad ones, as market research and learn from them but never respond to them directly unless you actually like being trolled. Above all, give them what they want because if you do that, you can’t go wrong.

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

The art of killing for fun.

I kill a lot of people, I hurt a lot more. And believe me, it’s great fun.

I am of course, talking in the purely literary sense (officer) but it is fair to say that there is something extremely satisfying about inflicting pain on someone even if it is only in my warped brain. And since I’m currently working on something which involves doing it to an awful lot of people in all kinds of settings, I thought I’d write a quick blog about how I go about it.

There are actually two elements to scenes of this kind, the actual mechanics and the set up and execution (pun intended).

To deal with the latter first, there is obviously a huge difference between screen and book given that most film tends to remove the element of imagination. So as a screenwriter, what you’re looking to develop is a scene that will stick firmly in the viewers mind. Primarily because those ‘Holy Fuck, did you see…’ moments are marketing gold. Both for the film and, just as importantly, for the writer.

But generally speaking, for me they come not from what is being done but how it’s being done. The electric drill scene in We Still Kill The Old Way is a good example as this is the one most people ask me about when talking about that film. However, I’d had that specific idea in my head for years and in truth, whilst it’s not very nice, it’s hardly anything spectacular. What actually makes it memorable is the dialogue and in particular, the almost comedic matter-o-fact way in which Butch goes about his gruesome work.

The printed word requires an entirely different approach because as an author, you have to effectively outline the picture in the readers head and give them the space to colour it in. The key to doing that is to be both inventive and realistic in the setting and totally honest with your characters and their motivation. If you can take a reader to the point where they can imagine what they’re reading being done to them (or by them in certain cases!) you’ve cracked it. 

Central to it all of course, is the mechanics of the infliction and to be fair, this is where the writers imagination comes to the fore because if there are a lot of incidents, each one needs to be different from the last. But, and this is quite important, I never plan those when I’m actually writing. By the time I’m putting pen to paper, I’ll already have them firmly fixed in my head because I want to put all my development time into characters and plot rather than detail. 

Indeed, it’s fair to say that I’ve whiled away many an hour between projects thinking about ways to inflict pain on people with everything from cable ties to hot exhaust pipes and all points in between!

Doing it like this has other benefits. Not only is it a great way to pass the time when driving but if someone has pissed you off, you have a ready made victim which believe me, is often a great incentive to be extra brutal! 

In fact, if you ever read or see anything of mine which really makes you wince, pound to a pinch of poo that when I came up with the idea, I had a very specific individual in mind.

Who knows, it might even have been you!

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fartMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

The fight to write: finding motivation.

write,writing,screenwriting,screenplay,author,hooligan,football,soccer,independent film,When asked about writing, author Neil Gaiman once famously said, “This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”

He is of course, spot on, well, almost. You see for me the hardest part of the writing process isn’t the actual creativity element, it’s the physical one. Or to be more specific, the act of dragging myself to my desk and actually sitting down at my computer. This is a torture I have to endure on an almost daily basis.

I blame my father, and the military. You see my dad was, and remains, staggeringly lazy and this is one of the many bad habits I’ve inherited from him. But in addition, much of my time in the Royal Air Force was spent employing the ‘minimum input, maximum output’ approach to service life and to be fair, I was bloody good at it. Just ask anyone who worked with me.

But as a writer, I don’t have the luxury of this lifestyle. If I don’t write it, it doesn’t get written and if it doesn’t get written, I don’t eat or get to go to *football/stock car racing/cinema/restaurants *delete as appropriate.

As a consequence, most mornings I have to force myself away from the sofa and the delights of breakfast television and go through what is an increasingly defined ritual to begin my working day. I won’t go into it all as it’s starting to get a bit OCD like, but it is safe to say that both coffee and Solar Radio feature as prominent kick starters in my motivational process!

Occasionally however, I don’t have any trouble getting to my desk. Indeed, sometimes I can’t actually wait to get started and when I hit that point, I know I’m onto something solid. Thankfully, I am there right now. Not with a screenplay, but with the third book in the Billy Evans trilogy.

I’m not going to say too much about the plot at the moment as I want to keep the details quite close to my chest but what I will say is that my favourite anti- hero is coming back with a vengeance.

If all goes to plan, In The Know should be ready for release in a couple of months.

I have not however, forsaken the world of film just yet and in fact, have a new project almost ready to announce. As is the way with such things, the timing of that is down to others with far more power and influence than I have so I will leave that down to them but I can tell you that we have a household name attached to direct and some world-renowned producers holding the reins.

Oh, and it’s going to shock a few people.

Watch this space. 😉

Just in case you didn’t know already, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes


author, screenwriting, writer, script, football, soccer, sport, independent, film, self publishing, hooligan, gangs

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