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Authors need notebooks; plus, B-Movie Books

Being paper-free for 2013 is part of my movement to become a successful independent author, a punk-writer, if you will (as described in The Sunday Times last year). Writing though requires the use of paper at times, notably, for notes.

I have tried with limited if any success to use my Blackberry is a note-taker; really it is not worth the hassle. I have also tried to write notes on my PC at the end of the chapters that I am working on. The trouble with that is that if you forget to delete them then they will be there for all to see, and that is not something that I would enjoy.

I also like to doodle, or underline important things that I need to include. I like to make a mess on a piece of paper before I put things to Word and let the computer neaten up the lines. Any author will tell you that you need to carry a notebook around with you at all times. I don’t have a tablet yet, I have to wait until I have sold about a million books before I join that revolution; therefore my transition to paper-free will have to be on the cheap, so to speak. So, if I carry a book, and a diary (essential for my muddled brain) around with me, then does that mean that I could sort of get around the fact that I have paper in my pocket because there is nothing else that I could use? Save for carrying around my laptop with me, but then that would be a little cumbersome.

I think for the most part a notebook, small A5, pocket-sized, is an essential piece of equipment for a writer or artist. So, until they (technology people) create something digital that works as well as a pad and a biro, that you can open up and use within two seconds, then I am afraid that part of 2013 will have to remain papered. Still, I think I can justify it, having been on the receiving end of a bill from Southern Water that was on colour paper, in an envelope and sent first class: the bill was for a grand total of 27p…yes that’s right, £0.27. They sent me a bill for an amount that cost far more for them to send. Yet I thought that we were all moving into a digital age!

I was asked to explain my new book the other day, The Sublime Maisie Canon (now available at Amazon); in described it as a B-Movie of books.

I love B-Movies. Most popular modern movies, think of things like Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, take their initial inspiration from B-Movies. Typically, a B-Movie is a low-budget commercial movie used to be played before the main event. It became extremely popular in the 1950’s with science fiction movies, but B-Movies are also represented in the Western and in the horror genre. They were usually shorter than the top-billed movie but had an energy and a drive that led them to become much loved. Many artistes that we now know cut their teeth in B-Movies: Jack Nicholson; John Wayne; directors like Jonathan Demme and Anthony Mann.

So could we get away with suggesting that some books, especially some independently produced books, can be classed as B-Movie Books? I for one have no problem with this description, in fact, as an artist I find it rather compelling. I like the idea of being different to what is on offer in Waterstone’s; I like to try and step away from what I sometimes see is a snobbery in the book world. B-Movie Books are people with stories that want to share them with an audience. They can be crass stories about vampires and zombies; or love stories; or sex encounters. Just look at recent bestsellers: Twilight; Fifty-Shades, are these A-List movie books or B-Movie books? The A-list for me are people like J.K. Rowling; Robert Harris; Hilary Mantel. Then we have Amanda Hocking getting that leg up from the B-Movie to mainstream. I would be proud to be part of a B-Movie Book movement. Let’s get one together…who’s with me?


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