Particular Stupidities (R&M File #5)



At last! Some proper writing news to report.

This week I have sent Particular Stupidities (R&M File #5) off to the gentleman who proofreads my books. I wasn’t sorry to see it go. It’s been hanging around at home for a few weeks – or is it months? – while I’ve dithered over things, left it, gone back to it, read it again, left it, gone back to it, read it again ad nauseum. But I am happy with it. That’s the main thing. I really am happy with it.

This is my tenth book. With the other nine I have just released them with a bit of blogging and tweetiing and posting on Facebook – wiped their bums and hoped for the best. I’m determined to make more of an effort shouting about this one prior to its release. I need to DO something by way of promotion over and above the usual. Every week – make that every day – there are dozens of new books being released as well as back catalogues of older books that have been brought out as ebooks from the original print version. The competition to be noticed has never been fiercer.

I have not tried the pre-order option with Amazon, but this time I think I might. As I understand it, the advantage for authors with this scheme is that an interested reader can click on a button – job done – and then get the ebook automatically delivered on the day of release as opposed to trying to remember the publication date and forgetting all about it. This way authors don’t lose readers and downloads. When I tweet and blog and post on Facebook readers who notice and are interested will be able to click that pre-order button and forget about it until the day the book shows up on their Kindle. Everyone’s happy.

Something else that occurs to me – why didn’t I consider using the pre-order function before? Dunce.


I was contacted by a very nice lady last week to see if I would be interested in completing an online interview for a magazine that has an interest in writers living and working outside their home nations.

Naturally, I agreed. I spent much of the weekend staring at the blank screen trying to answer the questions. It was the closest I’ve come to experiencing writer’s block. I had no idea that I knew so little about my writing process. It was a bit of an eye-opener.

Here are the questions. I have a couple of writing buddies. I wonder how they would have tackled these.

Which came first, story or location? 

What’s your technique for evoking the atmosphere of a place? 

Which particular features create a sense of location? Landscape, culture, food? 

Can you give a brief example of your work which illustrates place? 

How well do you need to know the place before using it as a setting? 

Which writers do you admire for the way they use location?


So… what now? I remember reporting here recently that I was twenty-five thousand words into R&M#6 before I broke off for something I’ve forgotten. And then I started B&C #3 with an idea for an opening chapter. (I since took that up to ten-thousand words with a bit of a spurt. Another good start in the bank, I feel.) For now back to Romney and Marsh.


In B&C #3 David Booker laments the anti-social nature of jet-skis, which are permitted by local bylaws to spoil everything for everyone who wants to sit in peace and quiet and enjoy the view from Dymchurch seawall. As luck would have it, I was out with my son walking by the seaside in Istanbul last weekend when a couple of jet-skis came skimming noisily over the water in our general direction. They are an uncommon sight here. My son and I had been throwing stones at a football that was floating in the sea about twenty yards out. No one seemed to be claiming it. One of the jet-ski pilots saw the ball, diverted to it, stopped, fished it out of the sea, motored over to us and threw the ball to us with a smile. He thought we’d lost it. It was a good ball. And new. How kind that was.

Life is a bit strange sometimes.

7 thoughts on “Particular Stupidities (R&M File #5)

  1. Hi Oliver,
    Glad to hear we will be reading R&M 5 soon, and totally agree with you about life being strange, especially when you mentioned the list of questions for the magazine.
    We’ve just got back from another short sojourn, not Sweden this time, but Newcastle and York. Took our granddaughter to the Beamish Museum and it was like stepping into the centre of a small town in 1913. This whole museum centres around the town where the trams still snake down the valley to the pit village where we had the opportunity of going down a drift mine. We visited a row of miners cottages: went into a Victorian school, then the Methodist church which was banging on about temperance. A tram ride then took us back into town to visit the more affluent residents, and where a range of working shops and a working pub could be frequented. I was truly back in time that day. But it was the smells that did it for me: like the smell of burning coal in one of the pit houses – a smell I had not experienced for years. And the smell of coal-tar soap and Imperial Leather shaving soap always evokes a sense of nostalgia.
    A writer doesn’t always have to experience what they write about, but we do draw from our own life experiences. All that a writer needs is imagination and the ability to tell a good yarn. But most importantly, research: one can never do enough research. And it’s always good for a writer, every once in a while, to cogitate on the processes of how we work. We can learn and grow from taking a step back to look objectively at what we do.
    Anyway, that’s me done for the day: serious is draining. Hope you get hours of fun playing with your new ball.
    Best wishes,

    • Hi Pat
      Good to hear from you, as always. 🙂
      I’ve always wanted to visit the Beamish museum. Living history. Like you, I think it would be the smells that worked best for me. I remember visiting a ship museum once where they recreated the smells of tarring and the hemp ropes and the timber. I couldn’t get enough of it.
      Couldn’t agree more over your imagination comment. You need it as a reader, but as a writer it’s got to be particularly well-developed, I think. Let’s hope for both our sakes, it’s not something in finite supply, like patience.
      Best wishes.

      • Hi Oliver,
        Patience is something I have plenty of considering I have been writing for 30 years. But as for imagination: I’m a watcher and a listener. I find people fascinating, and to hear just a few words, or encounter a scene on the street will send my brain into story mode. My first book came about through something I overheard someone say. So, no, I do not think we will ever lose our imagination, because, like me, I believe yours works overtime, too.
        Best wishes.

    • Oh dear. Apologies. Entirely my fault. As usual I was a little ambitious regarding my abilities. I needed a few more readings. It’s now with the gent who proofreads for me. Not long now, I hope.
      Best wishes.

  2. Hello Oliver,

    Oh, am I so glad you have another book coming out I have finished all your books. I especially like the Ronmey and Marsh novels. I am an exile in Canada and I used to be law enforcement around that area so it just reminds me of home, and I so miss the sea, and proper British pubs! Don’t get me wrong, Canada is great, but just some things any ex pat will miss.
    Thank you for the great books, keep writing.

    • Hi Rozzyvee
      Thanks for taking the time and trouble to get in touch. Good to know that you are enjoying the books. Thanks for your downloads.
      I recently had a week in Vancouver. Loved it. The people were so friendly and life seemed so relaxed. I know it was only a week but first impressions and all that.
      I can see how you would miss some things, I would too, but from what I saw of the country I’d pack up and move tomorrow if I thought they’d have me.
      Best wishes.

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