Today I am delighted to welcome author Benet Brandreth to my blog. His new book, The Spy Of Venice is already available for the Kindle and as of today also in hard back, both are available to purchase from Amazon. Benet has very kindly put a post together telling us 5 things he can’t write without.
Five things I can’t write without:
Writing The Spy of Venice was the fourth thing on my list of responsibilities after being a father, a husband and a barrister. The only way to get it done at all was to steal time from those other responsibilities. To do that I needed to flee from house and office and go to a café to write. Fortunately, London is full of welcoming little coffee spots where for the price of a flat white one is allowed to spend two hours hammering away at a laptop without interruption. Buy a cake to go with it and you can stay for three!
2) My headphones
The trouble with cafés is that they are full of noise: the jibber-jabber of other patrons, the smacking of espresso machines, the blaring of music. I need to be able to remove these distractions and for that purpose you can’t beat headphones – ideally the ones that push into your ears and seal out the world. I don’t always bother to play music through them – it’s the sense of distance that is induced as the sound is muted that I need.
If you’re in a café you have to drink something and these days its rare that there isn’t some form of artisanal, single-origin brew made with osmotically purified water on offer. Only at the point that my fingers are shaking almost too much to type do I feel sufficiently alert and focused to put words down on the page. Besides which the ritual of making the coffee is what forces me to get up, walk to the counter and thus obtain nearly my only exercise for the day.
4) The Internet
My novel is set in 16th century Venice. As and when the need for it strikes, without moving from my laptop, the Internet opens up vast resources of knowledge. It allows me to pin down historical fact or discover new colour to add to the story. An article on the papacy in the sixteenth century will lead me off on a merry chase of references and names and details, all of which are spurs to the imagination. Of course the Internet is also a source of perpetual distraction. So probably, on balance, I lost as much time as I gained. Still – woe betide the café that didn’t offer free wifi – they shall not have my custom.
5) Regent’s Park
London has endless walks to offer. Between where I live and where I work lies Regent’s Park. The hour it takes me to walk through the park is what give me the thinking time that unpicked endless plot problems and inspired dialogue, locations and characters. No doubt I scared more than a few passers by working through a particular fight and sub-consciously miming the action as I walked. I have found that most of my writing is done while I am walking. The sitting down in a café with my headphones on and a coffee to hand is just the reduction to the page of words I have already written in my head on the way there.
Benet Brandreth is an expert on Shakespeare and his language as well as a highly-regarded Intellectual Property barrister and rhetoric coach. Benet works regularly with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Donmar and others on Shakespeare’s use of language. He has also written and performed for radio and the stage. His one-man show, “The Brandreth Papers”, was a five-star reviewed sell-out at the Edinburgh Festival and on its London transfer. He is qualified as an instructor in the Filipino Martial Arts and as a stage combat choreographer. He lives in London with his wife and two sons and is exhausted from all his efforts at becoming a Renaissance Man.