“I’ve started so I’ll finish” — Best Business English


A big difference for me between writing fiction and non-fiction is that the start and the finish of a book are easier than when writing a report or an article. In non-fiction it may be simpler to write the bulk of the text and then turn to the all-important intro, conclusion and headline.

In my current experience of co-authoring a crime thriller, we have made strong sketches of the plot, including who is murdered and where that takes place, and the main characters. So far, some 75% of the 24 chapters are in first draft. We have even started the ending, although the final wrap up is in note form.

Now we are embarking on the middle section, traditionally the hardest part of a novel, especially a thriller. Here, red herrings and hidden clues must be let loose to feed readers hungry for evidence to prompt their own detective juices.

The great crime stories are full of detective discussion and consideration – from Conan Doyle through Agatha Christie to Ian Rankin.

Meanwhile in my non-fiction book Feel it as a Man: a fool’s guide to relationships, the central parts of the book came fairly quickly, with the help of a tip from Mindy Gibbins-Klein, my publisher at Panoma – to write for 2 hours every day for 5 days a week without looking back but leaving notes in the text for checks and research.

Then I considered a title which came from looking up in a Dictionary of Quotations the key words ‘man’ and ‘relationships’. The phrase ‘feel it as a man’ is from Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Macduff’s wife and family have been murdered and Malcolm urges him to take revenge on Macbeth in manly fashion:

“Malcolm: Dispute it as a man.
“Macduff: I shall do so. But I must also feel it as a man.”

And the ‘fool’ is in the Shakespearean sense of a person who is fearless of speaking the truth, is wise, and cloaks his wisdom in riddles.
Now, I need to cloak my clues in riddles and get back to the crime thriller.

Highly Recommended
Here’s a marvellous novel for your summer / holiday reading: Still Life, by Sarah Winman (who also reads brilliantly the Audible version). Brimming with great characters, luminous art and wonderful imagination, the story cascades through Florence and London between 1944 and 1979.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here