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So your novel has been optioned. Now what?

 A cautionary tale.

Hollywood has come calling, or maybe Pinewood but who cares? Your novel, your baby, is heading for the screen.

What happens next is entirely down to one single thing; budget. The best case scenario will involve huge option payments, a steady stream of expensive lunches in exclusive Soho clubs and for the lucky few, business class flights to Hollywood. The more likely scenario will involve coffee’s in dingy Starbucks, lots of phone calls and a significantly smaller option fee. In some cases, there may well be no option fee at all. At least not one worth of the name.

I’ve had both those experiences, many times in fact. But whilst the latter may not be the experience of choice, it never detracts from the excitement and nor should it. This is the dream.

It is worth noting however, that it can all end in a heartbeat and  there will be nothing you can do about it. Honestly, if you think getting a book published is hard work, try making a movie. It’s like juggling fish in the dark.

However, assuming that things unfold as you hope they will, one of the first issues you’ll encounter is the adaption process and I thought it might be worth looking at this particular aspect. For as someone who’s trod that particular path, it’s one that not many authors tend to consider.

In many, if not most cases, the decision of who will adapt your novel will be taken out of your hands anyway. The producers will have a list of screenwriters in mind and whilst they may well ask you to meet with them, it will be as much out of courtesy as anything else.

In this case you only have one choice which is the infinitely more sensible one of taking the money (as much as you or your agent can get upfront) and settling back to enjoy the ride.

There will however, be times when the opportunity to write the adaptation will be handed to the author themselves. Tempting though it is to bite their hands off, I would urge anyone considering accepting such an offer to think very carefully before agreeing to take it on.

It should be fairly obvious that screenwriting is a very different discipline from writing for publication and it brings with it very different challenges. Many of these centre on the fact that film making is a collaborative rather than a solitary process and that ultimately what ends up on screen won’t be your vision for your story, it will be the directors.

What that means in real terms is that whilst the director will work with you to get the best from you that they possibly can, the harsh reality is that if you can’t deliver what they want they will replace you. In fact that will be written into your contract. Whilst it’s not happened to me -yet- I know others it has happened to and in every case it had a huge impact on both their pride and their confidence.

Even if you do deliver, it’s important to understand that as the first link in the creative chain, your role, whilst vital initially, will rapidly reach a point where it is all but dispensed with.

This can be tough to handle, very tough. Not least because if you’re not careful, watching others make changes to your work without any input from you can very quickly start to feel personal. When it’s your own adaptation of your own novel, those feelings can be magnified ten fold.

And those changes will come thick and fast. If you think that your first efforts will be anywhere near close to a shooting script, think again. The screenplay I adapted from my novel Top Dog, which we filmed in 2014, went through something like 11 rewrites. Each one the result of input from various involved parties with far more power than I. I even had to change the ending and if you know anything about me, you will know how important those are to me!

Indeed, the list of factors that might have an impact on your script would fill a lengthy volume. One of the strangest I encountered with Top Dog was the casting. For with the original book being a sequel, my central character was like an old mate. Yet when the actor Leo Gregory was cast in the role, as good as he is he could not have been more different from the image I’d had in my head for over 15 years. That was a huge and quite difficult mental adjustment to make. One made all the more difficult because the pressure to get into pre-production was already growing.

Eventually of course, you will deliver a script that everyone is happy with but then will come possibly the most difficult part for you as a writer. The part where you have to relinquish even the last shred of what little control you actually had.

From that point on, you will have no input whatsoever save for the occasional short rewrite to suit a demand from the director or producer. You will certainly have no right to make any changes yourself or discuss anything relating to the script with the actors even if they ask you. In fact interfering with anything on a set can have huge and usually unpleasant consequences. A lesson I learned on my first feature, Green Street, which resulted in me being banned from the set altogether.

As a consequence, you’ll have to sit back and watch actors perform scenes and deliver lines in ways that are nothing like how you imagined them when you committed them to paper. For many writers, that can be toughest and most frustrating time of all. Indeed there are plenty of screenwriters, even well established ones, who will never venture anywhere near a film set for that very reason.

So is it worth adapting your own novel for the screen? Of course it is. As soul destroying as the film business can be it can also provide amazing and unique experiences. From playing football with Elijah Wood to watching highly choreographed fight scenes unfold before your very eyes, film sets can be glorious places. There will also be occasions where the actors will replicate your version of your script down to the very last vocal inflection. Trust me, those albeit rare moments will make any amount of pain and anguish worthwhile.

It can also do wonders for your ego, your status, your future and your bank balance and if you think seeing your book on the shelves in Waterstones is a thrill, wait until you see you name on a film poster on the underground.

Just make sure that if you do venture into the world of film, whatever path you take, make sure you take every step with your eyes propped wide open.

@dougiebrimson

Dougie Brimson has written three award-winning feature films (Green Street, Top Dog and We Still Kill The Old Way) and is the author of 16 books including the best-selling Billy Evans gangland trilogy. His latest thriller, In The Know, was published by Caffeine Knights in May 2020.

His next novel will be his first military thriller and will be published in Spring 2021.

All his previous books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes

*A version of this article was first published in the Crime Writers Association magazine, Red Herrings.*

The business of writing: 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 despite his undoubted talent as both a musician and comedian, my dad was staggeringly lazy and this is one of the many bad habits I’ve inherited from him. It began whilst I was in the Royal Air Force when much of my time 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.

Inevitably, this lifestyle has also infected my career as a writer although even I know that it’s a luxury I can ill afford. 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 whatever movie I recorded the day before 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 once, but twice.

The first project I’m excited about is my next book which will be my first military thriller. It’s actually based on a script I wrote a couple of years ago which is currently in the process of being financed and is a truly cracking story set around the RAF. And that’s all you’re getting for now.

The second project I’m working on is based on another screenplay I wrote a few years ago, this one for a potential TV series. Sadly, despite some initial interest it fell by the wayside as so many projects do. However, one of the things I loved about the script was the central character and so did a producer friend in the US. So when she was recently asked by a Hollywood studio to pitch a new movie project within the same genre as my comatose show, she immediately thought of my creation. One thing led to another and we’re now at the point where the green light is beginning to flicker.

It’s all very exciting and hopefully, I’ll be able to pass on the details soon.

Speaking of likeable characters, you may or may not have noticed that my favourite anti- hero has returned with a vengeance (literally) in the third book in the Billy Evans trilogy.

To say In The Know has been well received would be an understatement with 5* reviews across the board both on Amazon and Goodreads. It’s also sold out the first print run which is fantastic (new stock is on the way as I type) so can I thank everyone who’s read it so far and taken the trouble to post a review.

Oddly, given that it’s a trilogy and all three books have already been published, I’m already being asked when the next one is coming. I actually have a few ideas for Billy including a prequel, but like all things, it will be wholly dependent on how well this one does sales wise. Mind you, a film adaptation would certainly help and that may well be in the mix already.

Watch this space. And please, stay safe everyone.


football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watford
Just in case you didn’t know already, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes


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Everything you wanted to know about being an author (but were afraid to ask).

As I sit here pondering my navel during the madness of this lockdown and doing pretty much anything I can to avoid actually writing, I often stumble across things which not only make me laugh, but strike a chord. One of the most recent items to achieve this double whammy was an old blog I read entitled ‘Everything you wanted to know about being an author (but were afraid to ask).

The reason this caused such mirth in Brimson Towers was because this last week I’ve received not one, but two emails asking me about that very thing. Now in both cases, given that Matt Haig, the author of said original blog, is a far better and more accomplished writer than I will ever be and had pretty much said everything I would have said and more anyway, I simply passed on the link and wished the individual well.

However, as I mulled it over whilst standing in line at my local Co-Op yesterday (I needed Mozzarella, seriously) I decided that if I was going to accurately apply this excellent list to my own writing life and process, it would need a tweak or two.

So what follows is a bastardised version of the list in question. I have included the original in italics for reasons which will become obvious and hope that Mr Haig will accept my apology for brutalising his excellent efforts which, if you would like to read them, can be found here: 

1.     We live on toast. And cereal. And caffeine. And wine. But mainly toast.   Since I am banned from eating bread due to my lard arse frames dislike of wheat and rarely drink alcohol of any description, I only survive at all thanks to a daily plate of eggs and bacon, this being supplemented by a ready supply of Bourbons. On reflection, this could explain my aforementioned lard arsed frame.

2.     By the time our book comes out, it feels like a childhood memory. But more distant.   As a writer who is intent on spewing out books and screenplays on a scarily regular basis until such time as readers finally suss out that I am a talentless hack (a fact I am already well aware of), I am no longer hindered by the agonising time it takes publishers take to get books from emailed file to the shelves of Waterstones. Hence, when a book is released into the marketplace, or as I prefer to call it, Amazon, it is still scarily fresh in the memory.

3.     Our daily word-count was approximately three thousand words higher before the arrival of Facebook and Twitter.   Absolutely true. Indeed, there is a whole heap of irony to be found in the fact that whilst the world wide web provides the engine for what passes as my writing career, it also does all it can to slam it into reverse on an almost minute by minute basis. Proof of which can be found by looking at my Twitter and Facebook timelines.

4.     At parties someone will always say, ‘So have you written anything I’d have heard of?’ Or, ‘How are the books going?’ Both questions end in awkward silence.   Again, absolutely true although the reality is that I rarely get invited to parties. In fact for rarely, substitute never. I suspect people assume I will turn up, get pissed and wreck the place. This being as far from the truth as you could possibly get.

5.     If we were number two in the bestseller charts, the only book we would ever be thinking about is the one selling more.   Partially true. Well OK, mostly true. Although in some instances, I do look at who is languishing below me and mutter a smug ‘take that you fucker’ to myself.

6.     We never know if the book we are writing is the right one until we have written it. And even then we are not sure.   In my case, I know it’s the right one because I ask my readers in advance and they tell me what they want. That’s the joy of being an author who actually talks to the people who buys his books.

7.     It is harder to make friends after you become a writer than it was before. But way easier to make enemies.   True and very true.

8.     People think you are automatically a bit weird. (Or is that just me?)   No, it’s not just you. Although in my defence, I am actually a bit weird.

9.     We need editors ‘like a fat kid needs cake’ – to quote that sensitive literary soul, 50 Cent.   This is golden rule number 5 in Doug’s golden rule book of writing. It is so, so true.

10.    The best day is when we get to see our book cover. Unless we don’ t like the book cover in which case it is the worst day.   Being an independent author, my publishers involve me in developing covers from day one and often I have the final say so this isn’t the case for me. My best day is usually when I write ‘the end’ and the worst is when I realise that it usually isn’t.

11.    ‘Royalty statement’ is Latin for disappointment.   Thanks to the web, I see my sales figures on an almost daily basis. Sometimes they are orgasmic, other times I want to kill myself.

12.    We get stomach pains every time another writer wins something. (We have continual stomach pains).   Not only have I never won anything, I’ve never even been nominated. Come to that, I’ve never even been invited to anything where any author won anything. My stomach pains are entirely due to my Bourbon intake.

13.    We all want to be Hemingway, minus the suicide part.   I’m quite happy being me.

14.    We would probably all be writing poems, if people actually bought poems.   If I could earn a living writing football chants or perhaps greeting cards for lads, I’d be happy with that. Who wouldn’t?

15.    We spend a lot of our time going on five hour train journeys to events where eight people turn up (and only three of them buy the book).     The only events I get invited to involve either court or family and generally speaking, I tend to avoid both of them like the plague anyway.

16.    We chose not to choose life. We chose something else.   This is true. It’s called solitude.

17.    We are generally quite bad at dancing.   Untrue. I have the moves! Or at least I did before my back gave out.

18.    In most cases, the person we don’t like more than any other just happens to be another writer. But then, the person we admire most is one too.   This is true. Although in my case it is more to do with personality than the nature of their output.

19.    We may have our name on the front of a book but we always feel slightly outside the publishing industry, looking in. Like Keats at that metaphorical sweet-shop.   True. Despite my success I exist firmly on the outside of the publishing industry and always have. I fear that is unlikely to ever change.

20. If we were a neurotic wreck before we were published – and we were – we remain one afterwards. Our brain chemistry doesn’t fundamentally change.   This is absolutely true although my worst insecurities tend to be more about my other writing life. Screenplays are genuinely terror inducing.

21. If we get good reviews, we want good sales. If we get good sales, we want good reviews.   I want both. Is that too much to ask?

22. We are happy for five whole minutes after a book is sent off. Then we realise all the mistakes we made.   True. Although thanks to the magic that is the eBook, we can if need be, continually edit!

23. We start off wanting to be published. We get published. Then we want a nice review. We get a nice review. Then we want an award. We get an award. Then we want a film deal. We get a film deal. Then we want a film to be made. And so on. For ever. (We are never happy).   Well as previously discussed, I know I’ll never earn any kind of award although I have had a movie and plenty of film deals. Another West End premier would be nice though, I wasn’t actually invited to the first one… (long story)

24. If someone reads our work midway through the writing process we need them to faint in awe or it goes in the bin.   People are constantly reading my work at every stage from one-line idea to final manuscript. As a consequence, if they are happy, I am happy. If they’re not, I listen to what they say and change things until they are. They are legends!

25. We are a little bit lonely.   True. Thankfully, despite coming from a large family, I have always been a bit of a loner and my favourite company is er… me. That has stood me in good stead over the years.

26. Bad reviews are always taken personally. Always.   Totally and absolutely true.

27. Writing a novel is like a relationship. During the early stages every other possibility looks incredibly attractive. But commitment pays off.   True. And since manuscripts, like screenplays, are always females, there are occasions when you get to the end and are glad to see the back of her.

28. We rarely write in coffee shops.   True. Instead we watch and listen and use the fact that we are writers as an excuse for loitering. Or is that just me?

29. Writing is heaven. Re-writing is hell.   Oh god yes.

30. We are rubbish at other jobs. And DIY. And most other things too.   I was an engineer in a previous life so I can do pretty much anything. The biggest problem I have is getting myself motivated to actually do it whatever it is that needs doing.

31. We say the wrong things at parties.   I refer the honourable reader to the answer I gave some moments ago. I don’t get invited…

32. The definition of discomfort is the moment after your mother reads your semi-autobiographical novel.   Substitute ‘mother’ with ‘daughter’ and you’re about right.

33. There is no praise more treasured than that of an author you worship.   I wouldn’t know about this. It’s never happened.

34. The best book we have ever written is the one we are about to write.   It better be!

35. The best ideas we have are the ones that arrive accidentally.   True. In fact the idea for my next book actually arrived thanks to an accident. I was in hospital with my wife who had broken her arm when the plot came to me!

36. There is no email in the world nicer to receive than the one from a reader who has been moved by your work.   Oh yes. Thankfully, I have had many of those over the years and each and every one is valued.

37. We know, in our heart of hearts, that we have the very best job in the world.   The truest of all truths.

So there you have it.

Finally,  I’m happy, if not delighted to announce that work is currently well underway on my 18th book which will be my first military based thriller. However, before that, in a little over three weeks in fact, book number 17 hits the shelves. The third book on the Billy Evans trilogy, it’s entitled In The Know and is, if I say so myself, a cracker.

 

You can pre-order it, as with all my books, my clicking on the following links. Amazon  iTunes

@dougiebrimson

Why no writer should ever fear a blank page.

writer, writing, author, screenwriting, film, movie, hollywood, football, soccer
Ever since I’ve been writing, two things have regularly been thrown in my direction.

The first is that at some point all writers experience writers block, the second is that the blank page is a terrifying thing.

I’ve written about writer’s block numerous times before so I won’t go over that again (however, to paraphrase it for any newbies, in essence I believe it’s a myth designed to excuse one of any number of basic failings) but the issue of the blank page is something I’ve rarely discussed. As I sit here facing a new one today, now seems as good a time as any to tackle it because the explanation is relatively simple.

You see loathe was we are to admit it, all writers believe that somewhere deep inside us is the ability to pen a booker prize-winning novel, a ‘Harry Potter’ style literary phenomenon or an Oscar-winning screenplay.

The blank page signifies the opportunity to commence the creation of that particular creative journey and like any opportunity, there are two ways of looking at it. You can either be pessimistic or optimistic. Which one you choose, or rather which one chooses you, is wholly dependent on the type of person you are.

The pessimist will type those first few words already believing that this new project won’t be the big break they have been dreaming of and instead, even as they sit there hammering away, they will fairly quickly be enveloped by that awful sense of hope evaporating.

And as that hope rolls away, it will be replaced by the standard writers fears of exposure, of failure, of making yourself look stupid and possibly worst of all, of being boring. Who on earth would want to risk any of that let alone willingly put themselves through it?

Yes, all of that and more lurks on that single A4 page or blank screen filled with nothing but white. Having written 16 books and numerous screenplays, I can state that with some authority.

Thankfully, having been writing for some considerable time now I tend to be far more optimistic and far from fearing the blank page, I love it! For one very specific reason: it signifies power. Power to create anything I want to create be it non-fiction, fiction, thriller, comedy, male, female, sex, crime, football… anything.

A blank page gives me freedom to develop characters and make them do whatever I want them to do be it good, bad or even evil. I can make them love, hate or even kill them off, horribly if I want. And all of that comes from nothing other than my imagination. How can anyone not find that exciting?

That, in essence, is exactly what I’m facing at the moment. For having just completed work on the third book in the Billy Evans trilogy, today I start work on a new novel.

It’s a thriller I’ve been planning for a while and having read over the numerous notes I’ve made over the last few years, it’s going to be great fun to work on.

Blank page… don’t be frightened of it, love it. It’s everything any writer could ever want.

violence, racism, racist, anal sex, oral sex, burlesque

Despite being over 18 years old, The Crew and Top Dog continue to sell well with the former continuing to inhabit the #1 slot on its Amazon chart. Indeed the new book will bring the character of Billy Evans right up to date and if I say so myself (although I don’t because my beta readers have told me) it’s a cracker. I’ll have news of publication dates as soon as my publisher lets me know!

Finally, thanks to everyone who continues to contact me about Wings of a Sparrow which also continues to do well in both paperback and eBook formats. Having recently sold the film rights, I’m seriously hoping that we’ll soon see it make the leap to the big screen.

screenwriter, screenwriting, author, self-publishing, green street, top dog, british film, gangsters, the krays, hooligans, collymore, troll, trolling

 

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

writer, writing, author, screenwriterAmazingly, it is now well over 20 years since my first publishing contract landed on the doormat and a chunk of hard earned money hit my bank account.

Sixteen books, three feature films and numerous screenplays 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 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 on top of that, you get paid for it! As if that wasn’t enough, you’re allowed to spend weeks in your pyjama’s without anyone thinking it’s odd and best of all, if you write about football, you’re entitled to write off your season ticket against income 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 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. 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 or the Society of Authors. They are your unions 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 its 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 going out on a motorbike, sitting on the sofa watching TV or strolling around Ikea.

12. ’People watching’ is research. Therefore it’s also a perfectly 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 if not years 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. First drafts don’t have to be good, they just have to be written. That’s why they call them vomit drafts.

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. Never let anyone demean or undermine you whenever you tell them you’re a writer. That’s easier said than done but the Terry Thomas classic movie ‘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.

My next book, In The Know, is the sequel to Top Dog and is currently with my publishers. It will hit the shelves  in May 2020 and is, I have to say, awesome. 

From the writer of Green Street….

wordcount, writing, writer, greenstreetThis isn’t something I would normally do, but with three projects currently in development and taking the bulk of my time, I have a number of additional scripts in work so thought I would offer a few out via my blog. All are at the second draft stage so if any are of interest to anyone in the industry, please drop me an email via dougiebrimson@me.com

Boots on the Ground:  Drama (feature or TV): A soldier loses his legs after an ambush in Afghanistan and returns home to the brutal realisation that his real war has only just begun.

Wings of a Sparrow: Comedy (feature or TV): A fanatical football fan inherits a multi-million pound fortune and thinks that all of his dreams have come true. However, his dreams soon turn to nightmares when he learns that the money comes with some very unsavoury strings attached!

First Parallel: Supernatural Drama (returnable TV): A shy, unassuming woman girl discovers that she is the only hope for mankind in a supernatural war being fought against an army of evil led by the malevolent spirit of her dead mother.

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart

football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watfordJust in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information at dougiebrimson.com

beer, lads, women, men, relationships, sex, love, romance, author, screen

Tales from my father. Volume One

Derek Brimstone, father, folk singer, comedianMy father died recently, he was 84.

I won’t go into the medical details other than to say that whilst it wasn’t exactly unexpected, his ultimate demise was quite sudden but it was also very peaceful. I know that, because I was with him when he died.

He was a great man my dad, a legend in fact. I know many people says that about their fathers but in his case, it was true. Indeed, he is cited by many of his peers, including Billy Connolly and Jasper Carrott, as being one of the most influential figures on the British folk scene that exploded in the 60’s and 70’s.

However, it wasn’t simply his undoubted abilities as a musician that earned him that accolade, it was as much his skills as a story teller. Oh yes, the old boy could certainly tell a tale. Indeed, a quick search of Facebook will reveal numerous threads containing ‘my favourite Derek Brimstone’ joke.

I mention this now because one of the questions frequently thrown at me is how, and indeed why, I made the transition from humble serviceman to best-selling author and screenwriter.

Usually, my answer is something along the lines of ‘it was the only way I could think of to earn a living sitting at home watching football’ but the truth is, it was because of my father. For he was the one who taught me not only how to to weave a tale, but to construct humour. Be it as a simple one-liner or in a full length novel such as Billy’s Log.

Sadly, I never really acknowledged that until recently and I certainly never thanked him for it. But the truth is that every book and film I’ve ever written has the DNA of my dad running through it and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

RIP old man. Thanks for everything but especially the laughs. On which note…  Derek Brimstone at his finest. 

@dougiebrimson

Dad’s funeral will be on the 24th March. If you would like details, please drop me a line at dougiebrimson@me.com

derek brimstone, folk singer, banjo, guitar, musician, comedian, cockney, cambridge folk festival

I wish to announce my retirement.

author, screenwriting, writing, veteran, publishing, football A couple of weeks ago, whist sitting at my computer as I do most days, I had one of those gut-wrenching writing related moments when I begrudgingly accepted that what I was working on wasn’t working.

These, as you can imagine, are painful times for a writer because not only do they signify wasted creative effort, but wasted time. Worse than that, they inevitably kick off feelings of frustration and anger and can even signal the start of what some people refer to as writers block (and my feelings on that are well documented).

Anyway, when such a moments occur in Brimson Towers, any one of a number of things will happen:

1. I will make tea before simply dumping everything I’ve written and starting again.

2. I will make tea and settle into a few hours of quiet reflection (sulking) before going back and finding a way to make it work.

3. I will make tea, curse my life and lack of talent and settle into a few days of quiet reflection (sulking) before going back and finding a way to make it work.

4. i will switch on the internet and waste hours of time arguing with someone in the name of research and/or spend loads of money on eBay before going back and finding a way to make it work.

5. I will go out on a motorbike for a few hours and return with not only a way to make it work, but a way to make it better.

Sadly, due to the ravages of time on my knackered back, number 5 is no longer an option which left me with only four choices, or so I thought. Because as I switched on the obligatory kettle, it suddenly struck me that I wasn’t actually enjoying writing. Not just the project I was actually working on, but at all. This light-bulb moment instantly presented me with a fifth option and it was one which, as someone who lists ‘laziness’ as a personal attribute, had an obvious appeal. So much so that right then and there, I grabbed it with both hands. It was retirement.

Yes, that’s right. I didn’t tell anyone about it but early on in November I made the conscious decision to retire from writing altogether. It was bliss, and it lasted approximately two days.

But what dragged me back to my keyboard wasn’t boredom, it was a series of phone calls informing me that two scripts I’d written had taken major steps forward along the development path whilst another idea I’d thrown into the mix had begun to generate some serious excitement.

As motivational tools go, mentions of A-List actors and doubled budgets sit pretty high on the list and so I am happy to announce that my short-lived retirement is now at an end. In fact my writing life is more hectic than it has been in ages. 

Watch this space.

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart

football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watfordJust in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information at dougiebrimson.com

screenwriting, author, ebooks, kindle, green street, writing

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So you want to write a book?

writer,writing,screenwriting,screenwriter,author,amazon,kindleI’ve received a number of mails recently from people who are keen to write books and need advice on how to go about it.

Invariably, these mails ask about finding an agent and/or a publisher as well as any one of twenty questions relating to the actual process of getting a book from brain to bookshelf. However, whilst I’m always keen to encourage new writers, it’s fair to say that most of the people who contact me need (and receive) a reality check.

The truth is that when you’re starting out on the rocky road of penmanship, you don’t need an agent and unless you are incredibly famous or staggeringly lucky, the chances of you securing a publishing deal are pretty much zero. What you do need however, are words on pages. Lots of them.

So if you want to write a book, the best way to start is to simply sit down and get writing. And once you have a few thousand words on your hard drive, you’ll soon realise any number of things. Not least if you have the imagination and drive to actually see it through. Most don’t, but if you actually reach the point where you can say ‘yes’ to both of those questions, that’s when you need to start thinking about the next stage in the process.

Until then, it’s all about actually doing the graft. And you do know it’s hard graft right?

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart

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

Further information can be found at dougiebrimson.com

screenwriting, author, ebooks, kindle, green street, writing

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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.

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 in Russia. 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 script about a British soldier. Sadly, although it got very close to production at one point, it never made it. One day though.

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 have never even been invited to a single 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 aircraft 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 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.