For anybody considering writing for theatre: Things Theatre Writers Should Know

Theatre Advice 3The full advice, before you start writing for theatre:

  • Sadly directors are not there to get your ‘vision’ on stage in an unadulterated form – many have thoughts of their own. Live with it.
  • Actors are not wet-props. Some have thoughts and feelings like regular people do.
  • You will rarely get the credit, but some directors will always try to give you the blame (even if they rewrite your script).
  • Putting on a play is very much a group activity, but you’re not really in the group (most of the time).
  • Part of your job is to present your work in a properly formatted fashion with clear and precise stage directions. Your genius is more recognisable that way.
  • Do not expect to live on what you earn as a theatre writer, get yourself a proper job too.
  • It’s all right to say ‘I’ve got a new play on’, just not in the presence of anybody else involved in the production.
  • Writers are not meant to marry actors. It’s a matter/antimatter thing.
  • If you want to work with professionals, act like a professional – sorry, be a professional; never act at all. That’s not your job.
  • Theatre writers are not restricted to just writing plot and dialogue. If you really, really believe it is truly important that somebody should enter STAGE LEFT say so, but don’t be an arse about it.
  • You are not writing a radio play – think visually.
  • You are not writing a film script either – don’t think that visually.
  • If you require lavish sets marry well.
  • Never tell anybody with a manual occupation, or working in public services, how hard your job is.
  • Awards don’t matter until you get one.
  • Never trust anybody who says you can make money at the Edinburgh Fringe, unless they sell fast food.
  • Most critics are only human.
  • The show does not have to go on, get a sense of perspective – other people have lives too.
  • Producer is a job too.
  • Never be the last one to stop clapping at your own show. Continue reading For anybody considering writing for theatre: Things Theatre Writers Should Know

Meanwhile back in the Citadel…

The Dragonette ’57 convertible steamwagon was not facing any competition:

Keen Steamliner - cool!
Keen Steamliner – cool!

“I collected my wagon early the next day. It’s a racing-green Dragonette ’57 convertible; the last model with the little wings and the air-trimmed front end. Daddy’s pride and joy, with marble interior finish and leather ragtop. It did my heart good just to touch her. Sceech the grease goblin had done a good job on the shoes, and I took off in a reasonable frame of mind. I had slept pretty well and though I didn’t feel like a million crowns, well at least I didn’t look like buried treasure.”

Continue reading Meanwhile back in the Citadel…

Did I blink and miss them?

One thing I didn’t quite get about ‘The Shanara Chronicles’ – as clearly stated in the opening credits:

Shanara opening creditsA distinct lack of ‘Dwarf’ . That’s the sort of thing that annoys a certain dwarf Master Detective. Are the elves to blame?

Continue reading Did I blink and miss them?

Excellent Empire Magazine June ‘Ghostbuster’s’ Cover

Yes, the subscription cover offers loads of uses for blatant self-publicity! Such as:

Slimer on Nicely

Well, you have to do it, don’t you?

Continue reading Excellent Empire Magazine June ‘Ghostbuster’s’ Cover

The Oldest Mistake in the Book!

It’s my “Great Escape” moment – you know, when Gordon Jackson makes “the oldest mistake in the book” and replies in English to a German officer who wishes him: ‘Good Luck’.

How could he? The fool! After all he had been told?

good luck


I have just sent off an important document where I’ve written, “you’re” instead of “your”.

Continue reading The Oldest Mistake in the Book!

Next book news – soon!

We’re all hoping to give you some news very soon about the latest Nicely Strongoak adventure. It’s all written and has a great title too, which of course I can’t tell you – battle axes might have to be hefted. What I can tell you is that it’s got even more dwarf detective shenanigan’s and wisecrackery – as well as some great new suits. You’ll learn more about the Citadel and Widergard too, but nothing more about surfing and very little about house prices on the Third Level, although they are extortionate now.

We all want to know!
We all want to know!

So, keep your eyes and ears open for word on the sequel to the Epic Fantasy #1 Bestseller – very soon, we all promise you.

Continue reading Next book news – soon!

Spoiler Alert!

Spoilers are called ‘spoilers’ because they spoil things. If you let a ‘spoiler’ out of the bag you are going to spoil something for somebody. It does not make you clever or cool to know something and then tell everybody else, it makes you a total d*ck. So thanks newspaper writer who started his bit of smug smart-arsery with ‘as everybody must know by now…’ – no I didn’t!

This is a DUCKhead
This is a DUCKhead

I can’t afford Sky you see because nobody pays me to write drivel for a national newspaper and I have only just bought the physical DVD box set, because it has just been release and I was enjoying it – immensely. Now you have spoiled it for me. Because that’s why they’re called SPOILERS and that’s why nice people write things like SPOILER ALERT above their articles.

So thanks newspaper writer: d*ckhead

Continue reading Spoiler Alert!

The Devil is in the Decal.

I love decals. I even love the word decals. I especially love the fact that the word is derived from decalcomania. What a fab word that is too! ‘Transfers’ just isn’t in the same league, sorry.

I especially love vinyl-cut-decals, that’s the peel and stick sort, but I have a problem and it’s this. I like them so much that I can’t peel and stick them, or rub over the dry transfer sort with my biro. I also loved Letraset you see (dry-transfer lettering – other makes are available, probably. Heck I don’t even know if you can still get Letraset!), I just hated to use them. I loved the unsullied, unused sheet. I just like to stare at them! I did it when I was a kid with a sheet of fabulous different trees – just couldn’t stick them down.

comic book rift wars


You see, while the decals are still there on that sheet the possibilities are endless! So many eventualities to be explored and imagined, scenarios to be worked out – and while that’s the case then Schrödinger’s cat is both still alive and dead! The waveform hasn’t collapsed, hurrah!

The same is true with my stories and plots. I carry a lot of ideas around in my head and I explore the different possibilities, varying different scenes and thinking about other eventualities.

Press or stick them down and the cat’s dead or alive. Of course, you have to do that with stories in the end, which is almost kind of sad, but that’s what a story is.

You don’t have to do it with decals!

And this is why I have I still have a reasonably ‘mint’ Worlds Collide Number 1 July 1994 DC/Milestone Comics in printed plastic bag with decals – that have never been used. I could have adorned my cover with my own punch-ups but couldn’t have unpeeled the superheroes to save my life.

Continue reading The Devil is in the Decal.