6 tips for writing dialogue that you haven’t heard before

Alternative ways to find ideas for creating dialogue in your writing Posts with writing tips for dialogue always say more or less the same thing. In this post I’m going to give you some alternative and unusual sources of dialogue inspiration. First let’s recap on the tips you get everywhere else: • Sometimes the characters […]

Crime fiction’s best first paragraphs

Hammett, Chandler, and Simenon with 3 great ways to start a book If you have a lot of time to waste, you never judge a book by its cover. But don’t try telling me you don’t judge it by its first paragraph. What makes a great first paragraph? And which are the greatest? We all […]

Write about trauma to relieve the emotion

Memories turn into nightmares, until writing makes them something to be proud of While working on my second Palestinian crime novel, A Grave in Gaza, I sometimes wept as I wrote. I used to think that meant I was a damned good writer. Far be it from me to dispute that self-assessment, but now I […]

Fiction is closer to the ‘truth’ than journalism

Writing the truth by turning to fiction, instead of journalism Journalism is fiction. Don’t believe me? Open a newsmagazine and you’ll be expected to believe that a given Hollywood star is actually a nice man, that you can drive everywhere and not get fat provided you lay off fruit, and that the latest development in […]

Hammett’s writing evokes emotion through reality

How Hammett’s classic ‘The Maltese Falcon’ showed me what kind of writer to be As an undergraduate I studied English literature at Oxford University and I read all I could find of the sort of literary criticism which made novels seem like East German economic analysis. Three years later, I hadn’t learned a thing, except […]

Writing is like a rock’n’roll gig

The Woodstock Revival Nightmare featuring Matt Rees on “deaf bass” A few years ago I played a Woodstock Revival gig. It didn’t go well. In fact, I wrote an entire article about the various live-show nightmares involved. And why you shouldn’t care, because it’s rock’n’roll. I think it applies to writing too. Just do it. […]