ABAM writing about writing

Venture into ‘Dead City’

Sure January’s book “@” only came out last week, but this ridiculous project doesn’t allow for time-wasting, so let’s delve straight into February’s BAM, Dead City.


The book tells the darkly comic story of Jon, the only living man occupying a walled city of the dead in South London.  It’s his job to police the streets, make sure the unliving obey the rules, and his life is much more mundane than that sounds.

His method of dealing with boredom has been to narrate his every move as if he were a noir detective, even a walk to the shops becomes more exciting if you’re pretending to be a private dick in a city that never sleeps.

Meanwhile, a man who can’t remember dying steps out of purgatory and starts haunting a woman in Living London, outside the walls.

When he’s ghostbusted and sent to Dead City, he and Jon find there’s more afoot in the shadows than they ever realised, and seek to break out of London’s Dead City to discover the truth.


Dead City started out as many BAMs will; a TV show.  In 2008 or thereabouts I mentioned it to a producer [name redacted to protect the innocent] who made me develop it to pitch to a network [name redacted because I don’t want to get shouted at], who assured me they loved it. They asked for more development, and then got distracted by a butterfly or their own reflection, and eventually moved on.

So, it sat on a shelf for the best part of five years until Frightfest ran a competition for free money to make a movie, and all I needed to do was make a 3-minute teaser for the film.
I had previously teamed up with photographer/directors Tom Lox and Andrew AB,  and DP Ste Webster, so set about taking whatever notes remained from the Dead City TV development deal (translation: waste of time) and sat down with Lox and AB to turn a season’s worth of plot into 90-120 minutes of movie.

The film was a runner up in the competition, but didn’t win – and in fact the winner made a movie that’s never seen the light of day – so even if we had won, chances are it would have disappeared into the ether and (yet again) the only proof it ever existed would have been as a ghost haunting the IMDB.

That brings us to the recent past, where a five page treatment was mocking me on a shelf, and I decided to take another look at it. With minor amounts of tweaking, I realised it was in pretty good shape and perfect for a very different BAM from our debut outing.

Once more, I find myself providing little insight into the writing process itself, mostly due to a tragically poor memory.  However, I can impart that I was half-way through the manuscript when my train pulled into Crewe station at 23:00, after a long week working on a show in London.
The loudspeaker informed passengers it would not be continuing to Liverpool. It was there that I spent the following six and a half hours waiting for the first train back, accompanied by two homeless men, their dogs, and a half-asleep Australian.
The book was complete by the time the train pulled into Liverpool the next day, and I highly recommend a night stranded in Crewe with two hobos who seem like they might murder you at any moment if you’re ever trying to write a novella.

( I am terrible at writing advice. )

Anyway, here’s the pre-order link to Dead City:

Pre-order Amazon US Pre-order Amazon UK

See you next time!