About the author

Conrad Williams is the author of the novels Head Injuries, London Revenant, The Unblemished, One, Decay Inevitable and Blonde on a Stick; the novellas Nearly People, Game, The Scalding Rooms and Rain and a collection of short fiction, Use Once then Destroy. He lives in Manchester, UK.

All content on this site is © Conrad Williams.

Monday 4 October 2010


1018 words.

I found a piece of paper recently. It was something my son, Ripley (6) wrote, or is in the process of writing. I don't think it's finished. Or it might be. You can't really tell with kids. Anyway, I won't tell you what was on it because I want to use it in the novel I'm planning for next year.

What I will mention is the spelling. Children are taught to spell using phonics these days, whereas I grew up using the ITA system (another phonetically based system, albeit with additional symbols to represent certain sounds). The modern method helps children to blend sounds without worrying too much about the correct letters. Which means that the spelling is diabolical, but cute at the same time. Ripley, for a while, thought his brother's name was Efun, because that's how it sounded to his ears. And he used to go through a phase of writing and illustrating booklets starring Marvel superheroes, or Indiana Jones, or Star Wars characters, in which the protagonists went around 'fartin bad gaz' (fighting bad guys).

An early idea for the title of next year's novel was Nice House, but I wanted to feed it through Ripley's internal spelling machine first. Which turned it into Nys Hows. I kind of like that, but it isn't immediately obvious what it means. So I'll be using that as a part title instead, if only to placate Rippers, who now expects to see his words somewhere in the finished manuscript...

Listened to: Sex, by The Necks

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