Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Write Stuff

For once a good piece in Campaign today, about ad people who write novels.

They name-check the classics - Fay Weldon, Salman Rushdie, Dorothy L Sayers and Len Deighton, and they also mention James Herbert, though they neglect to include James Patterson (interestingly, ex-Account Man not Copywriter; and supposedly accounted for 19% of all adult fiction sales in the US last year).

From today's crop, they interview the lovely Paul Burke (ex-DDB, now freelance, author of well-crafted 'light read' Father Frank), Meg Rosoff (ex-JWT, author of How I Live Now, impressively disturbing tale), Lorelei Mathias (freelancing at Euro, author of Step On It, Cupid, which I haven't read) and Jonathan Drapes (CDP creative director, author of Never Admit to Beige, which I haven't read but it sounds good, might give it a go).

If you're interested in books and writing and that, then you will definitely be interested in a new blog called Insecticide, in which a London advertising Creative Director who has written a book, blogs about the process of getting it sold.

His reasons for doing it include "It's enjoyable... The possible cash... You can say you're an author, and authors are generally respected, thought to be clever and more interesting than, for example, valve salesmen."

Who is he? For the moment, he wants to remain anonymous. But judging from the quality of writing displayed on his blog, I suspect he won't be for long.

"There's a place for a decent page-turning action novel," he writes. "To compare books to films, although there are many Armageddons, there are also many Terminators. I hope I've written the latter rather than the former, but I definitely haven't written Madame Bovary."

33 comments:

Gordon Comstock said...

It's either you, or that bloke from Lunar isn't it Scamp?

Scamp said...

Well, it isn't me.

Anonymous said...

So it's Wal...

Anonymous said...

I'm Spartacus!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Maybe you could do a book of all the comments you've had to delete

g. said...

Hemingway's an encouraging one, although I think he did the famous author bit first.

http://www.slate.com/id/2151514

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever read any James Patterson?

I did once when I was stuck in a tent in the rain for a week.

It was shocking. And he was an account man was he....?

hmmm

Stinky rogerson said...

My English teacher wrote a book. It contained some saucy passages involving sex. He said that in writing these sections he turned himself on so he had to keep stopping to have a wank.

When I met him later and I told him I was a copywriter he demanded a cut of my salary for helping me learn how to write. I was happy to oblige as I had only just been hired and I gave him 50% of my monthly salary. Yes, that's right. I bought him a pint.

Later on he got sacked for getting pissed and calling the headmaster a cunt. Eloquence indeed.

Anonymous said...

Dang, this blogs fookin' boring, who reads books anyway?

Anonymous said...

Where the Suckers Moon is probably the best non-fiction book about adland I've read, the best fictional book - 'Pepper' - about an advertising creative
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pepper-Flamingo-Original-Tristan-Hawkins/dp/0006546269/ref=sr_1_24?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1220549500&sr=1-24

Noam Chomsky said...

I wondered how long time it would take before Ben started blogging again.

cosmoticentity said...

Stinky Rogerson! That's a great tale for your grandkids.

Anonymous said...

james patterson was a copywriter. and eventually CD of JWT New York. dude must be raking it in. good for him.

Jeremy Greenfield said...

I'd like to see an article about novelists going into advertising. Imagine John Updike taking his pen to the problem of selling tampons. Or Kingsley Amis talking about laundry detergent. And I'd love to see what Joan Didion would come up with for the latest Nike Shocks.

jpandtem@googlemail.com said...

I left you a voicemail but I think you were too busy checking your email?

Anonymous said...

Did you read the first chapter of the book, as posted on his blog? Absolute rubbish. I'll eat my hat if that ever gets published.

It starts with "As darkness closed in.... " which is as close to Snoopy's attempts at a novel ("It was a dark and stormy night...") as I've ever seen.

Anonymous said...

Not certain if you've read James Siegel. The movie adapt for Derailed was a bit much, but the book was interesting.

http://www.bookbrowse.com/author_interviews/full/index.cfm?author_number=852

Anonymous said...

Scamp, sorry to go off topic but check this out...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPJtlxW60F0&eurl=http://creativeinlondon.blogspot.com/

Might be worth showing Sir Heag...

Anonymous said...

can someone wake me up when this topic is over?

Anonymous said...

Holly shit, is that the worst bit of creative PR ever? I hope that person never finds a partner and saves our industry from a fate worse than the credit crunch.

Anonymous said...

jeremy greenfield:

you don't have to look too far.

Salman Rushdie is guilty of the 'scream for cream' campaign. And 'the best things begin with B' for Burnley Building Society.

Some might say he hasn't really progressed on from there.

PH said...

Have you ever had a Fatwa put on you? Give the man some respect then.

tonimoroni said...

Nice to see a mention for 'Pepper' by the late Tristan Hawkins. Matt Beaumont's 'e' seemed to be on everyone's desk when it appeared. Wasn't he a writer at McCann's?

Anonymous said...

i'd definitely read a book from ben at lunar. i really liked his writing style.

Anonymous said...

anon 9:57

sounds like you haven't read any of his books.
oh how i love uninformed 'opinion'

Anonymous said...

pardon me ignorance... but is that James Patterson as Alex Cross creator?

I mean, those books are on the level of Da Vinci Code.

Anonymous said...

Do you think that every copywriter wants to be a 'real' writer?

We were chatting about this in the pub and every single copywriter in my agency has started a novel.

And a band.

cosmoticentity said...

Ahoy there fellow ad men and women.

I have finally found a partner and we are working on a camaign.

Would you mind helping us out?

We'd like to collect people's recollections of relationship break-ups, which are funny, scary or plain weird!

Please post any stories on my blog! You can keep it anonymous

Thanks!

neil christie said...

I liked the article but thought that, amongst the omissions, there are a couple of recent notables: 'Then we came to the end' by former adman Joshua Ferris, an odd, satirical, well-written book about hard times at a Chicago ad agency. Worth a read if you enjoy the likes of Douglas Coupland.
'The reluctant fundamentalist' by Moshin Hamid was a Guardian Book of the Year. It's one of the best books I've read recently. According to Amazon, no less an authority than Philip Pullman says,
"I read Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist with increasing admiration. It is beautifully written - what a joy it is to find such intelligent prose, such clarity of thought and exposition - and superbly constructed. The author has managed to tighten the screw of suspense almost without our being aware it is happening, and the result is a tale of enormous tension. This is more exciting than any thriller I've read for a long time, as well as being a subtle and elegant analysis of the state of our world today. I was enormously impressed". Personally, I was enormously impressed to learn that as well as being one of Britain's most hotly tipped literary talents Moshin Hamid is also Managing Director of Wolff Olins London. (Bastard.)
Perhaps Campaign missed this one because they assumed that they'd only find writers in the creative deprtment.

Anonymous said...

And let's not forget lucky limey Andrew Niccol. Once CD of pre-merger BBDO London, circa 1990. Then director/writer of the acclaimed 1997 flick GATTACA. Currently doing blow off a hooker's funbags, i'd imagine.

Anonymous said...

ph:

His intention obviously wasn't to instigate a Fatwa. So I can empathise with his situation and condemn it as well of course, but I don't see where respect comes in.

And it doesn't make him immune to criticism as a writer does it?

That would be a bit 'fundamentalist'.

Anon 12.50:

Oh how I love hypocrisy.

To correct your uninformed 'opinion', I read Midnight's Children (or tried to) many years ago....

Anonymous said...

wasn't rupert thompson a creative?
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Book-Revelation-Rupert-Thomson/dp/0747545693/ref=pd_sim_b_3