Up Close With Ian Rankin

Did anyone watch ‘Imagine’ last night – the BBC1 programme about writer Ian Rankin, working on his latest novel?

Do not despair if you missed it – you can catch it on i-player here until 25th December 2012.

It’s worth watching – even if you don’t want to write crime and you’re not an Ian Rankin fan – because it really shows you what it’s like to write a novel (hard!).

I really liked the idea of starting with a ‘green manila folder’ (this is where Ian puts his jottings, newspaper cuttings and half-formed ideas in the months before he actually sits down to get ‘The Idea For The Novel’).

I met Ian Rankin once at an author event (I must admit I’ve never read any of his books – gasp – but my mum’s a real fan). Anyway, the queue for getting a book signed was really long, so my mum and I wandered off and when we got back, he was sitting there, all alone.

“Where’ve you been?” he said, as he duly signed our book.
“In the bar!” we said.
And he laughed and said, “I don’t blame you!” (I think he was rather jealous – he likes bars, as you’ll see if you watch the programme).

National Short Story Week

On a different subject, next week is ‘National Short Story Week’, (12th – 18th November).

There’s lots of information on the website about events that are taking place (some of the competitions are already closed on this though, just to warn you) and you can even listen to some short stories if you want to – or check out the regional radio stations that have made a commitment to broadcast short stories by local writers (and lobby your own if they’re not doing it!).

There’s no payment if your story is broadcast but you can send stories that have already appeared in print – and you can send up to 3 stories.

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10 Responses to Up Close With Ian Rankin

  1. Jackie Sayle (Brown) says:

    Oddly enough, I’ve just written about that Ian Rankin interview on my own blog.

  2. Patsy says:

    My local radio station doesn’t seem to be taking part – I’ll get on to them.

  3. sp56h says:

    I watched this too and was glued to it. Fascinating stuff and comforting to know that after writing so many books he is like the rest of us…..struggling to write!

  4. Yes, I saw it – fascinating, and I loved the way he checked small details like the scenery, when he knew it, but to be sure in his mind. I haven’t read any of his books, but I will now. Interesting to see how he needed the editor to tell him as well that he couldn’t change someone’s personality like ‘Fox’ as it didn’t work.

  5. Linda says:

    Yes, I saw the Ian Rankin programme. The two things that really surprised me were 1) he didn’t know himself ‘who dunnit’ until he was actually writing the last section of the book. I’ve always assumed that crime writers have to work out all the details of the crime before they start writing so they can include the right balance of clues and red herrings as the story unfolds – but apparently not! And 2) that after several rewrites and finishing the book to his own satisfaction he went back to it and made more changes on the advice of an editor, even though he didn’t agree with all her views. How many bestselling books do you need to produce before your publisher allows you to write your own books in your own way?

  6. Pat says:

    I wrote about the Ian Ranking interview on my blog too. Thought it was really interesting on a lot of levels. I appreciated the lack of ease of writing, the insecurity of whether what he was writing was good enough, whether he would be able to do it, to remember the personality of Rebus. I liked his worry about page 65 and the fact that he was still undecided about his baddie six pages from the end. Mind you, with a broadcast team looking over his shoulder, I was surprised he could do a thing.

  7. Tracy Fells says:

    Glad you reminded me about the Ian Rankin programme, I completely forgot to watch or record this so will definitely be on iplayer soon. I haven’t read his books, but a friend is a massive fan. I have recorded a short story for a talking newspaper to be distributed during National Short Story Week – I love listening to short stories and it’s great to see a focus on this.

  8. I thought it was absolutely fascinating! It gave me hope lol 😉

    X

  9. Maggie May says:

    I loved the programme too. It was real insight into the every day life of a writer. A series with different authors would be great.

  10. julielees says:

    Thanks for the pointer – caught it on catch up. Nice to know that even successful authors continue to struggle with inner demons when it comes to their own work. Caught the book review in Fiction Feast, by the way, and totally agree with your appraisal. Tracy Chevalier is one of my favourite authors and looking forward to reading her new novel when it is released in the new year. Keep up the good work.

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