Tuesday 18 December 2012

An Unexpected Journey

Okay, so I'm a bit of a Tolkien fan. Maybe even a huge fan. I re-read The Lord Of The Rings every couple of years and I just adore the whole, epic majesty of Middle Earth. So the release of the first film in The Hobbit trilogy was kind of a big deal for me.

I remember stealing myself for disappointment when I went to see the first part of The Lord Of The Rings, worrying that Peter Jackson might have pushed the book through the Hollywood blender. Thankfully, he stayed close to the plot and the spirit of the original, and delivered a very enjoyable series of films, despite rumoured unhappiness from the writing team about Tolkien's alleged absence of strong female characters (and the curious downplaying of Eowyn, Tolkien's strongest female character).

So this time I wasn't overly worried about The Hobbit being mauled by the movies and, as it turned out, it was really a very enjoyable adaptation. Yes, there are one or two face-palm moments, such as Radagast's racing rabbits, and the Indiana Jones sequences in Goblin Town, but these are minor points that do nothing to spoil the experience. They also seemed to please the younger members of the audience, and this seems entirely appropriate as The Hobbit was always a tale for children to enjoy.

Perhaps that's the thing that pleased me most about it – that it was generally faithful to the spirit of the original story. Where things have necessarily been changed, care has been taken to ensure that the changes don't trample the books underfoot. Even the additional plot thread of the Pale Orc uses characters and back-story created by Tolkien, weaving them into the plot to keep up pace and tension.

The film cleverly manages to bring real individuality to the thirteen dwarves, rather than treating them as a group of extras, and Martin Freeman does a fantastic job of playing the younger Bilbo. Sir Ian McKellen is on fine form as Gandalf, and somehow Andy Serkis and the FX team at Weta deliver a Gollum that inspires both revulsion and pity – an amazing achievement for a wholly digital character.

It's exciting, it's engaging, and it's visually stunning. I think my only real complaint is that we have a rather long wait for the next instalment.

Monday 17 December 2012


I was watching BBC Sports Personality Of The Year this evening. It’s humbling to hear so many inspirational stories, in particular those of the Paralympians, who overcome so much just to be able to compete. You can’t help but feel pride in their achievement, admiration for their bravery.

But as I watched, it occurred to me that I know someone else who exhibits the same spirit, the same bravery.

My beautiful wife Anna has had a profoundly difficult eighteen months. Since she became ill last year, she has been in a constant battle with four serious medical and neurological conditions, any one of which would have stopped me in my tracks. But despite her physical pain, and the extraordinary neurological challenges she faces, she has never given up.

It’s hard to explain how proud I am of her. We’ve been together since we were teenagers, but I have never been more impressed by who she is than now. And I am certain that the same spirit and determination that drove those Paralympians forward, is in her.

She’s the bravest person I know. And if they gave out medals for resilience, she’d win gold.

Monday 10 December 2012


The last few weeks have been unusual, what with the hospital visits and the sudden bouts of unexpected discomfort, but despite the distractions I’ve managed to complete a reworked draft of book two.

It’s been a story of highs and lows – there was a true feeling of elation when I completed the initial draft, and a little bit of gloom when I had dismantled the “finished” book to restructure a number of plot elements – but the pieces have all come together again and, thankfully, they seem to fit.

Having gone through the publishing process with Eye Contact, I know that there are still a number of edit stages to go through, so I’m not agonising quite as much as I did that first time (otherwise I’d have been too angst-ridden to email it). As it is, the reworked version has now been sent, and I’m hopeful that it will be a stronger, more enjoyable read.

I’m certainly glad that this phase is complete and, best of all, it means I can do something I’ve been putting off for quite some time – get back into book three!

Thursday 29 November 2012


I've always had a thing about hospitals. I hate them. There's never a happy reason to go to them (except for the Maternity wards) and I have an absolute horror of even visiting.

So I suppose it's a good indication of how uncomfortable I was feeling that I didn't mind one bit when the ambulance came. The nice paramedics, with their fabulous gas & air, and their delicious morphine, were most welcome. I'm told that renal colic / kidney stones aren't a lot of fun and I have to say that I agree.

After a weekend in hospital, and with the pain subsided, I came home feeling fragile. Today was my first day out - it was oddly unsettling to leave the house, but it gave me a reason to get dressed and that definitely improved my outlook. Here's hoping that the worst of it is over, and my scan next week comes back with good news.

In the meantime, if anyone was planning on buying me alcohol this Christmas, please don't - I have a new favourite tipple, and it's name is Entonox: gorgeous gas & air!

Monday 12 November 2012


It was all going so well. I wrapped up a draft of book two that I was happy with, let a select few people look at it, and collated their feedback. And then I made my big mistake.
I got cocky.

I started thinking about book three, confident that book two would just require a bit of editing and polishing. This is the writer's equivalent of Wile E Coyote adopting a self-satisfied smile, blissfully unaware of the huge, boulder-shaped shadow growing around him. I was completely unprepared when, out of the blue, my agent asked a question about one of the principal characters. It seemed like a straightforward "What about XYZ?" sort of question, and I remember thinking "Hmmm, that might require me to change a couple of things."

Unfortunately, once the question is in your head, there's no getting away from it. And in a story where everything is connected to everything else, changing a couple of things has quickly evolved into changing a lot of things.

I've just returned from a weekend, locked away, cutting and pasting and rewriting. It's certainly been productive – I achieved more than I hoped and I've got lots of new material – but lots more is needed. And with every change breaking something else, it feels like I've spent two days working to take something that was essentially complete, to something that looks like it has been disassembled by men with hammers.

I'm sure I had an uplifting closing-point in mind when I began this post, but for the moment it escapes me. I'm hitting the Publish button in the hope of a triumphant follow-up post, some time in the next week or so, where I share my relief that it all worked out and the loose-ends were tied up. That'd be nice.

But for now, that's all folks!

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Star Wars? Star Drawers!

So it seems that George Lucas has finally decided to sell Lucasfilm to Disney, who are now rumoured to be planning a new Star Wars trilogy in 2015. To celebrate this exciting news, I thought I'd share a passage from Star Drawers, a humorous parody that I scribbled in my younger years.
In this scene, Bert "Oh-Begone" Knevil and Nuke Flyswatter visit a bar in Mos Angeles spaceport. There, they meet the roguish Hank Slowmo and the faithful Choochoo, with "hilarious results"… *sigh*

 - - - - -

“I’m impressed.” nodded Oh-Begone, “But what I really need is a fast ship.”
“That’s lucky, Grandpa...” Slowmo leaned back in his chair, “because what I really need is someone who really needs a fast ship.”
“You don’t say.” noted Oh-Begone, patiently.
“Oh but I do.” Slowmo leaned forward conspiratorially, “What’s the cargo, old timer?”
“Myself and the boy, these two droids...” Oh-Begone leaned forward, equally conspiratorially, “And no questions asked!”
“Who are you on the run from?” whispered Slowmo.
“I said, no questions asked!” replied Oh-Begone, “Let’s just say we’d prefer to avoid any run-ins with the Establishment!”
Slowmo nodded sagely. “We’d prefer to avoid any run-ins with the Establishment.” he repeated correctly, “But that’s gonna cost you some serious dough.”
“Dough?” frowned Nuke, “Damn! I only have money!”
“Don’t worry about him, he grew up on a farm.” Bert muttered, “How much are we talking about?”
“Well, I’ve got fuel costs to think about, take-off fees, landing fees, reasonable wear and tear, sales tax, postage and
packing...” Slowmo shot a sideways glance at Choochoo, “I couldn’t take on the job for less than... fifty?”
“Fifty?!” Nuke exclaimed, “Fifty?!”
“Yes, fifty.” repeated Slowmo clearly.
“Why, we could buy a thriving small business for fifty!” Nuke blustered.
“I think he meant fifty thousand.” Bert explained.
“What?!” Nuke gasped, “Why, we could buy a thriving large business for fifty thousand!”
“I meant fifty million, old timer.” Slowmo clarified.
What?!!” Nuke gasped again, “Why, we could...”
“We’ll take it.” Oh-Begone interrupted, “Mr Slowmo, how do you feel about payment on arrival at our destination?”
“That all depends.” Slowmo shrugged, “How do you feel about Choochoo taking you out back and...” he whispered something to the old man.
“You shall have your money within the hour!” Bert stated decisively, “Come Nuke, we have things to sell!”
Slowmo watched them go, then turned to Choochoo.
“Fifty million!” he grinned, “Those guys must really be desperate, or surprisingly bad with figures... hey, this is great - I’ll finally be able to buy mother that operation she’s been needing.”
Choochoo made a guttural sound and shook his head wearily.
“She’d turn in her grave if she heard you say that!” Hank scowled, “Anyway, you run along and get the ship ready... I’ll wait here in this bar full of bounty hunters and debt collectors and quietly consider the enormous price on my head.”

 - - - - -

Thursday 11 October 2012

Good and Bad

It’s an old maxim, but one which is still useful for challenging all sorts of prejudice: “There’s good and bad everywhere.”

Whenever a politician or a newspaper casts veiled hints that everyone in banking is a greedy criminal, or everyone living on benefits is a lazy burden, I become wary. Because such suggestions are obviously not true. Because there’s good and bad everywhere.

And that’s how I felt while reading The Casual Vacancy... wary. It’s certainly clever, with more than twenty detailed characters weaving their individual plot threads into a thoughtful story, and J K Rowling shows that she has more than one talented voice – that she can grip audiences in very different genres.

But it was difficult to shake that uneasy feeling, that wary sense that something wasn’t quite right. It wasn’t the fact that there were no characters who I really liked – weak, spiteful, broken, or deluded – they might not be likeable, but they were certainly interesting and readable.

No, the thing that really bothered me was the way that, as the story developed, virtually all of the affluent characters were revealed to be vile people, with layer upon layer of rottenness seeping through their respectable veneers, while all bar one of the deprived characters had huge, repeated signposts to tragic events that had derailed what might otherwise have been good lives.

Three hundred pages in, I began to worry that it might be a purely allegorical piece, and whether all the disadvantaged people would be revealed as rough diamonds, with beautiful hearts of gold, while the middle class would be unmasked as universally cruel and evil – a “happy ending” for social idealists.

Fortunately, and to J K Rowling’s enormous credit, The Casual Vacancy didn’t do that. I don’t want to spoil the story, as it’s well worth reading, but the book eschews the fairytale ending and pantomime comeuppance. Because life isn’t like that. Because there’s good and bad everywhere.

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Video: Severn Beach

A short video-blog post about writing "Eye Contact" on Severn Beach.

Sunday 7 October 2012

Starting Over

It’s that time again. I’ve been trying not to dwell on it too much, but with book two now sitting on my editor’s desk, my thoughts have turned to book three. It’s exciting to have that big blank page of possibility before me, and I’ve had the bones of a story rattling around for quite a while... but not the specifics. I like to establish the setting for my scenes early on so, with the luxury of a free Saturday yesterday, I decided to drive up to Bristol and do some location scouting.

My teenage son came with me – partly out of interest in the writing process, partly out of interest in where I was going to have lunch – and we had a day that was both enjoyable and productive.

We started out in Clifton Village. I knew I couldn’t set the story there, as it’s somewhere I’ve explored in previous work, but we visited some estate agents, picked up the property papers, and retired to BTP for brunch and some research reading. Much of book three takes place in a big old house that’s been converted to flats, and we scanned the papers as we ate, identifying which parts of the city had suitable properties. Then, after a very brief detour to Bar Chocolate (a truly wonderful artisan chocolate cafe near the Clifton Suspension Bridge) we jumped in the car and began driving around.

We explored a lot of different streets in a number of different neighbourhoods. It’s possible to remind yourself of details using online resources such as Google StreetView, but you don’t always get the real sense of atmosphere until you visit a place, and I wanted a location that felt right.

After an hour or two, we had seen several possibilities, but one seemed to stand out – a quite road in the Zetland / Montpelier area – so we drove back and took a second, longer look. Parking the car, I strolled up and down the street a few times, and explored the surrounding area, getting more and more excited. This was definitely the place!

There weren’t any estate agents’ boards on show, but hopefully a suitable flat will come on the market shortly – I’ve always found it helpful to get floor plans and interior photos for that added sense of realism. Who knows, I might even be able to arrange a viewing...

Our mission accomplished, we made our way to the Krispy Kreme donut shop at Avon Meads (I love the fact that a donut shop is so close to Avon & Somerset CID headquarters) before heading for home. It had been a really good day and it was pleasing to sense that something new was starting. Book three is well and truly underway!

Friday 5 October 2012

Sock It To 'Em

I was watching a wonderful Monty Python sketch, called How Not To Be Seen, and it occured to me that one of the most effective forms of camouflage is to be a debut author.

After the recent "sock puppet" scandals about established writers using fake accounts to write glowing reviews of their own work, there's still the tricky issue of how to get your book known if you're just starting out.

It isn't easy. You can repeatedly spam all your Facebook friends, or blatantly ask for retweets on Twitter, or amble into Waterstone's and make vague tut-tut sounds – while these approaches may be more morally honest than sock-puppeting, they are unlikely to help promote your book. Or make you popular.

I certainly don't have all the answers. Naturally, I've done the blog/website thing, set up my Facebook page and tried to be entertaining on Twitter. I've spoken politely to some local book shops, and even printed up some flyers which are displayed around the local communities where the story is set.

Is that enough? Well, no. I'm still very much at the foot of the mountain. However, at the time of writing, Eye Contact has 16 reviews on Amazon with a very pleasing 4/5 star overall rating. None of those reviews are from me or my family, and only one of them is from somebody I know.

Why does this matter? Why don't I simply make up a few fake accounts and award myself 5 stars? Because not cheating has given me hope. Knowing those ratings are real encourages me that the series will build a following and be successful. It'll take time, but I have a 3-book deal so I can take the long view (or I could if I was a little more patient).

So thanks to everyone who's taken the trouble to review Eye Contact… and to all the dishonest authors out there, who sneakily try and rate their own books, I say "Dishonest authors, will you please stand up!"

Thursday 13 September 2012

Eye Contact

For me, this is a day of days. Ever since I was a kid, lost in the pages of Tolkien or Douglas Adams, I have dreamed of being a published author.

Over the years I've written magazine articles, and even managed to get the odd short story into print, but a proper book? That was always more of a long-term goal or, if I'm honest, more of a long-shot.

But today, my first novel is finally published by Hodder & Stoughton. Eye Contact began life as an ongoing piece of homework for a Creative Writing evening class. When I started attending that class, our tutor asked each of us what our ambitions were – I told him that I wanted to get a novel published, and that I wanted to walk into a bookshop and see a copy of it on the shelf.

Well, today, I'm off to a series of meetings in London. But on the way home, I'm going to pop into a few book shops and see if I can find a copy.

And I'm going to count myself very, very fortunate indeed.

Monday 20 August 2012


Just finished reading "64 Things You Need To Know Now For Then" by Ben Hammersley, a book which considers the many ways that technology underpins and infuses daily life.

64 of those ways, in fact.

Short, snappy chapters contrast the lengthy title, each one pondering a facet of the digital age - with topics ranging from hacktivism to information overload. Crucially, the writing is accessible enough for normal people to engage with, but it's never dumb - I'm far from being a digital novice, yet there was plenty in there to surprise and intrigue me.

I love it when books make me think - when they fire my imagination - and when a non-fiction book does so, it's doubly satisfying. Ben Hammersley has created an engrossing look at our evolving digital world...

...and he's done it all from behind a truly magnificent moustache.

Saturday 18 August 2012

Another day, another victim...

Today was a truly great day. After an inauspicious start that involved sharing an early-morning train with a stag-party in full warm-up mode, I arrived in Bristol with another dead body.

I should probably qualify that.

Book Two feedback, from trusted readers and my editor, all suggested that another murder wouldn't go amiss. I already had one in mind - hinted at, but not actually shown in the draft narrative - and spent the last couple of weeks planning how it would unfold and sketching it out. By the time I got off the train this morning, the expanded version was woven into the main story, and I think it's going to work well.

It was warm in Bristol, and I walked by the waterfront before heading up to Clifton for lunch. As usual, the West Country Breakfast from BTP was heroic, and I spent a productive afternoon working through my edit notes, adjusting the order of some events, and adding a new opening section.

Already a good day, things got even better when I returned home and found a package waiting for me - my first copy of the finished Eye Contact hardback from Hodder. It looks great, and it's quite surreal to see the final version that will be in bookshops next month. I can't wait!

Friday 20 July 2012

Don't Look Down

Until recently, I hadn't appreciated just how much worry – how much dread – would come with the completion of book two. At various points over the last year, friends have asked if writing made me feel nervous or exposed, and for some reason I was able to shrug and tell them truthfully that it didn't.

Until recently.

I never saw it coming. Naturally, completing the first draft of book two felt great, and I was able to take a break from weekends of writing. But then, as the weeks crept on, I knew it would soon be time to look at the editing, so copies went out to a few trusted friends. And that's when it happened. Perhaps the simplest way to describe it is being a little like vertigo – everything's just fine until you glance down into the abyss and suddenly you're reeling.

What if this thing that I've spent a year on doesn't work? What if it disappoints the readers? What if I got it wrong?

I've heard several authors say that their second book was harder to write than the first. In my case, the writing part seemed okay, but I was much more worried about the reaction to the second book. Perhaps because this one had something to "live up to" or perhaps simply because I really had nothing to lose the first time round.

It doesn't sound like much of an advert for being a writer. However, there is an upbeat ending to all this. For as tough as those weeks of waiting have been, there is a huge sense of achievement – seriously, it's quite overwhelming! – now that I've heard back from some people who've read it. Yes, there's still work to do – lots to tweak and polish – but the feedback has been positive and, above all, they enjoyed reading it. More than anything, that’s what I wanted... and there’s no better cure for literary vertigo.

Monday 16 July 2012

Wheels within wheels...

It really ought to be easier than this. I need to replace my car, and I need to do it before the end of the month. I've looked around at what's out there, read reviews, narrowed the field to a few possible options, and I'm in the process of doing test-drives, etc.

I'm a bloke – this process ought to be fun, for crying out loud!

But somehow it isn't. Every vehicle I've looked at, and every dealer I've visited, has one or more negatives associated with it. One miserable salesman shook his head and insisted I'd prefer a different model. Another one told me I could get a particular discount, then immediately rowed back from it. And if I turn my attention to a used car, I feel as though I need a team of forensic motor mechanics, and a tame Trading Standards Officer in tow.

On top of all that, my previous car was great – reliable, great to drive, and really nice to look at. I'll be sad to see it go. So if it's going to cost me thousands of pounds, the process ought to be painless. It ought to be speedy and simple. It really ought to be easier than this.

Thursday 5 July 2012

Paparazzi Piece

What a pleasant surprise. Sitting at my desk, where I've just been handed the post, and the first envelope I open contains a couple of copies of Badische Zeitung - a German newspaper. And there, right across the section front page is one of my Stonehenge Solstice photos, along with two more underneath!
I've had photos published before, but seeing my work in a newspaper is a first - there's even a little Foto credit byline! Maybe one day they'll let me shoot the cover photo for one of my books...

Saturday 9 June 2012

What, me worry?

This is the bit I dislike. After the elation (and it was elation) of completing that first draft of book two, I've nervously handed out a few copies to some trusted readers, so I can get their thoughts before I start editing in earnest.

I think it's the waiting that's the real killer. Never the most patient of people, I'm finding the suspense just a little bit awful.

The good news is that four of my friends from the long-lost Taunton's writing group have generously agreed to be my test-audience. Their feedback did so much to shape Eye Contact, and they're honest enough to criticise where necessary, so it bodes well that they are accompanying my characters on the next leg of their journey.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

And now for something completely different...

I've deliberately avoided reading Book Two since completing the first draft. From my experience with Eye Contact, it's clear that a little time gives you a lot more perspective when it comes to the edit, and hopefully absence will make the heart grow fonder in terms of how well it reads too.

In the meantime, I've been able to relax a little more over the last few weekends, even managing to spend a whole day in Bristol with my wife, which was excellent. However, I have still found time to do a little writing...

It's a different idea - not part of the series, and not really a subject I'd ever thought about exploring. However, someone asked if I'd ever thought about doing a particular sort of story, and their words stayed with me. Discussing it with my son, we fleshed out an idea and then left it alone, but over the last couple of weeks I've revisited it and found it a refreshing change of scene.

The first three chapters came together surprisingly quickly, and I'm actually rather tempted to push forward with it. First things first, though. It's surely time to crack on with the Book Two edit, but it's nice to have a different project on the horizon to look forward to.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

A Tale of Two Box-sets

A while ago, my brother in law grew weary of recommending TV shows to me, and forcibly gave me a couple of box-sets. Consigned to the pile, and overlooked for a while, were Spiral (or Engrenages) and The Killing - both crime series.

We watched Spiral first. It's very stylish, very French and, despite the rather open ending, season one was gripping. Each episode has short story arcs, with crimes that the team are investigating, while the larger conspiracies unfold gracefully across the length of the series. Though some of the characters are more likeable than others, they all feel true, and it's hard not to be engaged in all of the interweaving threads.

We immediately bought season two, which was even better, and followed it with season three, which was still enjoyable but a little more laboured.

And then we watched The Killing. I'm aware it's a remake of a Danish show called Forbrydelsen, but we came to it cold so I can't compare the merits of the two versions.

The first episode was mostly excellent - gritty, beautifully shot, wonderfully scored - with a few jarring "oh the humanity" moments that almost put me off. Fortunately, we persevered, and the series largely manages to shrug off these "subtitles for the hard of thinking" and deliver a one long arc, that twists and turns agonisingly around a group of disparate characters, drawing them together...

...except, it's actually less than one arc. Just as the last episode builds to a neat climax that wraps (almost) everything up, one deft move scatters all the pieces of the puzzle ready for season two. It's a measure of how good the show is that this wasn't too frustrating.

Season two starts this week, and while I love the ongoing nature of the story, I hope it does what shows like Twin Peaks never quite had time for - resolves!

Saturday 21 April 2012

And across the line...

So, I'm sitting on the train at Bristol Templemeads, waiting for it to leave. I've opened my laptop out of habit, but this will be the first train journey in almost a year where I've not been writing Book Two.

It’s a strange feeling, coming to the end of such a long endeavour (and yes, I know that there are months of editing ahead, but this is the only definite point you can celebrate in the process, and I intend to enjoy it). I came up to Bristol yesterday and checked into a hotel with the intention of staying until I’d wrapped the first draft. I finished at lunchtime today.

Part of the reason to come up here is because this is where so much of the book is set. Indeed, we’re moving now, and I can see the large grey building where Bristol CID are based – an important location for the story – out of the window. But I also needed to isolate myself from all the distractions of home, and sadly that means that I’m away from my family at a time when I really want to hug people with excitement. Somehow, I don’t think the rather serious-looking woman sitting opposite would appreciate that.

Oddly enough, as I’m writing this, my iPhone has just started playing The Moment I Said It by Imogen Heap – eerily appropriate, as the song has been a sort of mood-board for getting into the head of my principal female character, and my working title for this book came from within the lyrics.

I’m getting such a kick looking out of the windows – we’ve just left Bath and I’d forgotten how beautiful this journey can be. And there are more significant locations coming up shortly, when we pass through Avoncliff and Salisbury – like so much of the book, it seems this blog post is being written “on-location” ;-)

Time to close the laptop, I think.

Sunday 1 April 2012

Back again...

It's been a while, but Book 2 is progressing well and drawing towards a traumatic (and rather bloody) conclusion.

I've spent a few weekends in Bristol, where much of the story is set, freeing myself from the tempting distractions of home, and allowing me to quickly visit the places I am writing about. Sometimes I stay at the Radisson Blu, which overlooks the Watershed area of the harbourside - you can just make out the street where my detective lives from the higher floors - but this weekend it was fully booked so I tried a boutiquey little guesthouse in Clifton and had a very productive couple of days.

The weather was glorious this morning, and my walk into town was really rather cultural - passing Damien Hirst's giant Charity figure, the Banksy window mural, and at least one of those bizarre painted gorillas that you see all over the city - before a spell spent typing in the Arnolfini.

Later, I moved across to my normal haunt upstairs in the Watershed Cafe, and managed to complete two of the linking chapters that have been eluding me recently. By the time I got off the train and walked home, I had yet another section done.

A couple more weekends like this, and the draft should be wrapped. The only problem is all the calories - I now have so many places I like to eat in Bristol, and if I'm not careful, either myself or my detective will need to go on a diet.

Friday 10 February 2012


It isn't easy to kill someone, especially someone you know. Over the past couple of weeks, my thoughts have increasingly been drawn to the last moments of a character who I'm really rather fond of, and the fateful chapter I know I have to write.

Strictly speaking, it's not "due" yet – chronologically, there are other bits to finish first, but the scene is growing ever clearer in my mind, and I think I'll have to address it soon. I wonder if doing so will change how I feel about the character – going back and writing other parts of their story, knowing that they're already dead?

These major scenes can certainly be emotionally draining to do – perhaps that's the reason for my reluctance to tackle it. Then again, with my habit of writing on-location, I must admit that a storm-swept clifftop will be more appealing once the weather gets a little warmer.