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Bill and Joseph’s series on novel writing Part II: Research

Bill Hussey

Well, Joseph, we’ve discussed The Idea. The germ is in place. After a bit of story development next comes research. How do you approach research?

Joseph D’Lacey

I usually approach it with a very long, sharp object and give it a quick poke to make sure it’s safe to proceed. It usually isn’t – I’m not very keen on research, I’m afraid. Reminds me too much of being at school. That said, there are some subjects you have to look into if you want to avoid producing badly informed fiction. I usually do most of my research online. How about you? (more…)


December 1, 2008 at 11:03 am 2 comments

The Garbage Man cover: Take II by JD’L

I’m finally able to reveal the cover you’ll see on the shelves when The Garbage Man is released in May ‘09!

Once again, like Bill, I’d like to talk about ‘mood’ and ‘subtlety’ as key aspects of my latest cover.

I’d like to but I can’t.

Here’s why: (more…)

November 18, 2008 at 11:41 pm 5 comments

To edit, change nappies or clean house? That is the question by JD’L

This is a very swift entry about the realities of working part time, writing the other part of the time and being a parent…

Today I’m at home with mini me while her mum is out at work. Tomorrow, the role-reversal reverses and I’m out at work. (more…)

November 17, 2008 at 3:29 pm 4 comments

On how Stephen King influenced me and what that really means by JD’L


There’s no doubt that Stephen King has affected the writer in me. But he affected the reader in me first.

I wanted to share a few thoughts on which of his works have impressed me the most. I use the word impressed very deliberately. It’s only those tales that psychically ‘pushed into’ me I’m going to talk about, those works whose touch is still upon me. It would be very easy for me to go and pick some of them off my shelf or call them up online to refresh my memory but that would be cheating. I want to comment only what remains with me after all these years.

I was about 13 when I discovered Stephen King. I read his work with commitment and loyalty for many years. The novel I loved the most was The Stand. There was a tale to get lost in if ever such was written. Not only that, aged 14 or 15 by that time, I truly believed the end of the world was coming one way or another. The world in The Stand was therefore all the more real for me to enter and dwell in.

Yet, it wasn’t usually Stephen King’s novels that truly affected me. It’s my belief this gentleman of fiction is primarily an extraordinary craftsman of the short story and it is in those works that I really connected with his imagination – or his connected with mine. Many of his best works were collected in the 1978 anthology Night Shift – in there you can even find one of the seeds that went on to become The Stand; a post viral apocalypse tale called Night Surf.


November 11, 2008 at 10:33 am 2 comments

The Garbage Man ‘cover’ by JD’L

I’d like to echo Bill’s sentiments on cover art.

I’d like to do that because today I received the proof copies of The Garbage Man. I’d like to talk about ‘mood’, ‘subtlety’ and ‘menace’ as key aspects of my latest cover.

I’d like to but I can’t.

Here’s why:


November 9, 2008 at 12:53 am 5 comments

Part one of Bill & Joseph’s series on novel writing: The idea

Over the course of the next few months these sorry scribblers will be talking about the construction of the novel, from the blueprints to laying the foundations, from shoring up that load-bearing wall to the final decorative flourishes upon the architrave.

They begin with The Idea…

BILL:  So, Joseph, what’s the Big Idea…? Sorry, that came off needlessly aggressive. My question is that dreaded by all writers – where do you get your ideas from?

JOSEPH: I was hoping you wouldn’t ask me that. However… the simple fact is I have no shortage of ideas. They come to me all the time, like flies to poop, and I write them in a notebook. Boring, I know, but true.

BILL:  Ah, the ideas notebook. I always have good intentions when it comes to the ideas notebook. I try to carry mine around with me but generally leave it lying about at home. At the end of most days, I find my pockets full of receipts, restaurant bills and sweet wrappers covered in incomprehensible babble with things like ‘What if there was an X in the middle of X and the whole X had no idea it was buried there.’ Then it’s just a matter of deciphering what the hell I was talking about… But the germ, Joseph. The germ of a novel or short story. Where does it come from? Meat, for example… (more…)

November 3, 2008 at 12:13 pm 1 comment

A tale for Halloween by JD’L

Lights Out


Joseph D’Lacey

Outside the Benedict house on Birch Avenue, the daylight died so quick it was as though its throat were cut. Night was the one who did it. The lights inside were dim behind closed curtains, a weak yellow glow struggling to keep out the darkness.

            In a small upstairs room a father sat on the edge of his son’s bed with a story book open in his hands. The boy interrupted the tale.


            “What is it, Joseph?” sighed the weary man, putting his finger to the last sentence he’d read and looking at his boy. Joseph, so bold when he’d cut in, now lost his confidence. His words came out a croak.

            “I…I get scared sometimes,” he said. (more…)

October 30, 2008 at 6:10 pm 2 comments

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