Monday, 9 April 2012

Trying a New Style of Writing

When Matt Hilton first told me that he was planning to put together an anthology of all the tough guy stories where action and pace were more important than believability I was instantly intrigued. First of all I love the suspension of disbelief you have to have with such novels. Matt was harking back to 70’s and 80’s writers I quite honestly hadn’t heard of. However he explained the style of writing to me and I instantly knew what he was talking about. It’s the kind of story where the hero is unbeatable and cannot be killed no matter how improbable the escape.

The modern master of this genre is Matthew Reilly and I love his books dearly for their sheer pace and the escapism they provide. In cinematic terms it’s Roger Moore running across the alligators when playing Bond, any of the Rambo or Die Hard films. Every movie Schwarzenegger ever made with the exception of Twins (although you kinda have to suspend belief for that one too). Throw in Airwolf, The Dukes of Hazard and the A-Team from the small screen and you have the perfect idea of what you gotta do to suspend belief with heart pumping action.

Anyone who has read my stories though will know that I tend to write in a darker, grittier style than the gung ho, beat ‘em up style of extreme action thrillers which I so enjoy reading. However I really fancied trying my hand at this style, so I skipped work on my debut novel for a day and had a wee go at something different. It was difficult yet fun, challenging yet rewarding and most of all – it was a film playing before my eyes. All I did was write down what happened in my mind’s eye.

 It was still a structured story I was writing, so I had to leaven the action with explanation and consequences. I also had to write with a much greater disregard for the rules of believability than I’m used to. I try wherever possible to make my stories as realistic as possible, yet here I was doing the opposite and pushing the boundaries back further and further with every passing set piece. I had to write fight scenes which is not something I’ve done much of outside my Harry Charters stories.

 I submitted my piece in all its sword fighting, belief suspending and blood pumping glory to Matt and I was accepted as a contributing author to Action – Pulse Pounding Tales – Volume 1.

To say I was delighted is a massive understatement. Other contributors include Matt Hilton (obviously), Stephen Leather, Adrian Magson, David Barber and Stephen Savile. There are many other talented authors still being accepted and for a beginner like myself, being accepted is beyond my wildest dreams.

Submissions are still open, so if you want to join the party. Get writing.


  1. Great news, Graham. That's a fast crowd you're running with. you'll do well. I think my favorite read from thos early days was Riahard Prather's, Shell Scott series. (the ascendency of John D. Macdonald's landmark, Travis Magee, was barely on the horizon)A Modern day writer in that old tradition, but with a contemporary twist, is James Rollins.

  2. Thanks AJ. You're damn straight they are a fast crowd. I just hope I don't get left behind.

    You're right about James Rollins. Steve Berry, Chris Kuzneski, David Gibbins and Boyd Morrison are all similar authors.

    For more crime based action and less of the historical artifact slant you have Tom Cain, Tom Wood, Matt Hilton himself, Stephen Leather and Matthew Reilly.

    All the aforementioned authors have a cinematic style of writing. You get sucked into the book and end up dodging bullets yourself.