A Load of CWAP?

One of the good things about working from home is that when your child is off school for a few days ill you don’t need to organise a babysitter. One of the bad things about working from home is that when your child is off school for a few days ill they end up at home with you. Not my most productive week.


I’ve been working on my short story collection. I’ve had some ideas that I really like. And what these ideas have helped hammer home to me is the wonderful freedom involved in being a CWAP. I can CWAPing well do what I CWAPing well like. No one can stifle my creativity. No one can smother the ‘me’ element of my writing. Yeah, I know: maybe some of it needs smothering, toning down, tweaking for my own ‘commercial’ good because sometimes the ‘me’ element of what I produce doesn’t always chime with readers’ expectations or make good ‘commercial’ sense. While I freely admit to relying on the money I make from being a CWAP to live the dream, it shouldn’t always be about the money. And from happy experience I know that my very supportive readers are generally toleratant of my self-indulgences.

Take the short story collection, for example. Since I had the idea to combine my short stories in one collection and self-publish them I’ve been considering titles. And most of what occurred seemed too conventional i.e. boring. And then I thought, how about ‘A Load of CWAP’ for a title? No sane traditional publisher would put out a book with that title because realistically who would be attracted to it? But I like it. In the same way that I couldn’t resist calling a Romney and Marsh File ‘Particular Stupidities’ after my alternative to Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences I’m finding it hard to resist my urge to identify one of my books through its title with my brand of being a CWAP, even if that flies in the face of commercial appeal. (Not that I honestly believe that there is a great deal of commercial appeal in the short story collection format when compared to longer stories, especially in the e-book market.)

I’m also thinking about including stories from different genres. Most of them are crime or crime related, of course, but I’m considering slipping in a couple of others. If readers don’t like them they can pass. The potential inclusion of these is not a cynical attempt to up the word count – the non-crime related stories only amount to five thousand words of the eighty thousand word plus total. So why bother? Because I can. That’s the point. They’re stories I wrote and am happy to be associated with, so ‘why not’ would be my response (after all, I’m a CWAP and I can do what I like, right?). If just one reader is pleasantly surprised by something they might not otherwise read that will make it worth it to me.

I started the week with two stories left to write. Not long after making a start on the penultimate one I had another idea I liked. I decided to set myself the challenge of incorporating all of my fifteen book titles in it. It was a bit of fun for me. Because I’m a CWAP I could do that. And I did. Just. It’ll make a good quiz competition question when I do a future promotion.

I’ve got one more short story to write and I’ve given myself another challenge with it. And the reason for the challenge is twofold. I’m going to New York at the end of this month. It’s not cheap. It’s even ‘less cheap’ when the person I’m going with is expecting me to pay for everything including flights, accommodation, food and two tickets for a Nix game (how much!!!!???? But as she keeps telling me, ‘you only live once, dad.’). Daughters. Sigh. Anyway, my accountant tells me that I can offset a certain amount of that expense against my taxes. On one condition: I write a story set in New York. That way certain of the trip’s expenses come under the heading of research related and any money a writer spends on research of a story that he/she then makes money from is tax deductable in the same way as any self-employed person can claim a tax allowance for work related outlay. So, I’m going to have to have a good look at the big apple for inspiration and a tax break while, hopefully, enjoying myself.

It’s a long flight out and I don’t sleep well on planes so I’m making another part of my challenge to write the bulk of the story on the way there and on the way back. It’ll be something to do. Here’s hoping I don’t get stuck sitting next to some chubster who overflows the armrest and snores all the way there, or a screaming baby.


I’m currently working my way through the ten seasons of ‘Spooks’, the BBC MI5 drama of a few years back. I’m rationing myself to one episode a night. If there has ever been a better British TV series I don’t know about it. The depth and consistency of quality is excellent. Brilliant writing. Brilliant directing. Brilliant acting. I cannot say enough brilliant things about the series. It’s … brilliant.

A by product of my viewing is that after a few of the episodes I’ve turned the telly off with a good idea for a spin off story from it. One of the short stories I’ve written for my collection mentioned above is one of these and I have several more that I’d like to have a crack at. In that regard Spooks has been truly inspirational as well as truly entertaining. It’s made me want to be a part of something like that – as a writer not a secret agent. The Spooks’ tagline is ‘MI5 not 9 to 5’. Being a CWAP isn’t 9 to 5 either. And we both kill people for a living.


12 thoughts on “A Load of CWAP?

  1. I’m daft enough to by your short stories whatever they are called, you may be CWAP writer,,I’m a CWAP reader hence your books.

  2. SOOOOO much to comment on – SOOOO few brain cells awake. You are very good at writing CWAP – I don’t read just any ol CWAP. First – remember to wear running shorts when jogging in NY, or you may never be seen again in that great but crazy city. I don’t usually read short stories but your devoted readers will do so, including me. If you don’t make eye contact on plane you may be left alone OR someone may just ramble on thru the whole flight. NEVER EVER show interest in what is being rambled or you are doomed. I grew up in Chicago not N.Y. but the do’s & do nots are similar. Enjoy yourself, stay safe, & share all with us, your CWAP readers. Celeste

    • Hi Celeste
      Thank you for your lovely message. It’s great to know that there are readers on here who are more than readers, if you know what I mean.
      No running for me in NY but lots of eating. (I’ll work it off when I get back.)
      I do have some very supportive readers and I know they’ll give my short stories a whirl. I can only hope that you and they find something in there to enjoy.
      I will take your sage advice re keeping myself to myself on the flight. Wise words. And I hope to have one or two pics to share on my return.
      Best wishes.

  3. Sounds like fun. I for one would buy an omnibus of your short stories. Even though I prefer novels. I would like to see how you explore other genre to crime. Even though I enjoy your crime writing.

    • Thanks very much, Simon. I appreciate your support. I’m actually looking forward to finishing and then getting this one out and seeing what readers think. As I said, no great commercial potential in short stories that I’m aware of but hopefully some entertainment.
      Best wishes

  4. Great blog, Oliver. I am not aware of the show Spooks. As you think so highly of it I will look out for it here in Australia.
    I hope that one day you will write a genuine spy novel, a la John LeCarre. It would require a lot of research I would imagine, and would take more time to write than you can dedicate to a book at the moment.
    I loved Acer, and think you would cut the mustard creating a ‘Smiley ‘ character.
    My wife and I read will always read your books as long as Cartland romance genre is not among them.
    Enjoy the Big Apple.

    • Hi Geoff
      Thanks for your comment. It’s always nice to know the blog is being read.
      I finished series 3 of Spooks last night – gripping stuff. Really worth a look.
      I do enjoy the spy genre as a reader. Le Carre and Charles Cummings are two names that spring to mind. I’m currently reading a book called Slow Horses – MI5 rejects. If was only 99p on Amazon. I’m enjoying it.
      High on my list of writing projects is an idea I got from watching Spooks.
      Thanks for your kind words and support and good wishes for NY. (I think that my foray into romantic fiction is a long way off still.) 🙂

  5. I started out reading one Romney/Marsh novel & the moment (split second) I finished it, I immediately ordered the rest of R & M ebooks off Amazon. Obviously they grabbed me. I’m now in mourning over their possible ending. Yeah it probably isn’t healthy to get SOOO involved, but I love the characters (cept the bad guys) I have several of your other books to read now, as soon as I can switch gears. Just PLS don’t start writing romance (can’t imagine you would) cuz I’d force myself to read them but I WOULD NOT LIKE IT!! : /- Celeste

    • Thanks, Celeste. It’s great that you are so involved with the characters and I take it as a real compliment. 🙂
      I hope that any of my other books that you read bring you as much pleasure.
      Best wishes as always. 🙂

  6. I have to agree with other comments on Romney and Marsh– please don’t end the series.
    I read your previous short stories and will read more when they are published. Many other novelists​ (john grisham for example) have published short stories..

    And finally, If your plane gets lost and ends up in Ohio, stop by.

    • Hi Brenda
      Thanks for your comment. 🙂
      I haven’t completely given up on writing another R&M yet.
      It’s good to know you’ll give me short stories a read. Thank you. I’m looking forward to getting those out there.
      If we end up in Ohio I’ll get in touch 🙂
      Best wishes

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