John Finnemore is one of the best comedy writers currently working. He mostly writes for radio and created Cabin Pressure, John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, and Double Acts. His true talent is one all good writers should aspire to; he invites you to listen to his story, holds your attention for as long as he's asked… Continue reading John Finnemore, the spinner of tales
This is a post I'd been working on for about two weeks before the new Doctor was announced, which I wrote about last week. I bumped up this post today as I think it ties in well about our changing view of female characters. Strong female characters, or the lack thereof, has been a hot… Continue reading STRONG female characters? How about we just write better.
I'd be the first to say I'm a naturally apologetic person. I tend to apologise that I'm so apologetic. I'm the person who apologises when someone steps on my foot on the tube. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but I've come to realise that it's killing my writing. Everything I wrote… Continue reading Cast off your crutches
This has happened to me and I'm sure it's happened to you. Let's say you've been to see a movie and now you're walking home. The movie was okay, maybe even great! But there was some missing piece which is starting to bug you. 'Well, how did the McGuffin work?' or, 'But why did the… Continue reading Harnessing the Completion Principle to enthral and annoy your readers
Does anyone find that they the story, but not necessarily the book? Those occasions where a story transcends its source material to take on a life of its own. Perhaps you like West Side Story, but you’d never read Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Perhaps you love Bridget Jones’s Diary, but would never read Jane Austen's… Continue reading Not all Classics are created equal
Review of National Theatre: Common by DC Moore
My degree was Classical Studies - Ancient Greeks and Romans. And a lot of what I learned shaped my understanding of literature. You’d be amazed at how much influence 5th-century Athenian literature has had on us, from tragedy to comedy. And probably the most famous know-it-alls of all time, Aristotle, still has a lot to teach… Continue reading Give your character some good old fashion vices
The Kingfisher Book of Myths and Legends by Anthony Horowitz You know those treasured books which have been with you forever? This is one of my earliest and most beloved books. Back in Primary school, I was a bit of a mystery to my teachers. My reading age was significantly higher than my spelling age, which made… Continue reading 5 books which have influenced me
The Busy Bee The busy bee, bright brown and yellow, Flits from flower to flower in industrial glee, With not a care in the world. Just like my neighbour, Mrs Cassidy. The busy bee, ungainly and urgent, Buzzes and bounces against glass panes, Knocking and fussing. Just like my neighbour, Mrs Cassidy. I should probably… Continue reading The Busy Bee
Around the beginning of 2016, something awful happened. I stopped reading. I wasn't sure why, but I couldn't pick up a book anymore. I've been an avid reader my whole life and it was pretty startling to realise that three months, four months, six months had gone by without me opening a new book. In retrospect, there were… Continue reading When you forget how to read
In eighty-five days, heroes have emerged in this country. We need to recognise them.
Last Saturday, I went to the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards. And I think I found my mothership. A few weeks ago, I was chatting over email with Sacha Black and she invited me. As well as the author of the brilliant 13 Steps to Evil (which I reviewed here on my blog), she also a blogger and… Continue reading Annual Bloggers Bash Award 2017
Ah, cliché. That old unwanted friend who turns up at your party, but you've known them forever and it's too much effort to get them to leave. Terry Pratchett summarised it best: Clichés are the hammer and screwdriver in the toolbox of communication. Read any 'how to write' guide and they'll tell you that clichés… Continue reading This post was six weeks away from retirement
I'm a Londoner. This is our city and we share it with 10.5 million people. We live, work and play in 607 square miles. And for the most part, we get along, like siblings sharing a room. We are inclusive and welcoming to all, we celebrate difference and uniqueness. We have for hundreds of years,… Continue reading I’m a Londoner
Flashbacks and flashforwards. Why, what did you think I meant? Flashbacks and flashforwards have become a significant part of the language of modern fiction. I hadn't thought too much about until this weekend when I saw the Guardian article Bad memories: Colm Tóibín urges authors to lose the flashbacks. At the Hay Festival last weekend, Colm Tóibín,… Continue reading Is there too much flashing in modern literature?
Pick up any two guides to writing, or check out any number of blogs and you'll see 'the X elements of good story telling'. These range from three to twelve or more. And all of them are different. Hum. It's almost as though storytelling is a subjective art... I spend a lot of time picking… Continue reading Remember these four elements of good storytelling
Did you know that during President Donald Trump’s campaign, he offered to pay for one-way plane tickets of anyone of African or Mexican descent wanting to leave America? Well no, he didn’t. But this article by tmzhiphop.com got 802,000 reactions online. Why does fake news have such a readership? Why did an article in thevalleyreport.com… Continue reading Fake News. Probably the most successful fiction there is
The Guardian published the article How real books have trumped ebooks celebrating the recent and hopefully continued uptick in sales of physical books over ebooks. In this article, James Daunt, the chief executive of Waterstones makes a wonderful point about selling books: A very large part of the way I sell books has been about how you… Continue reading Forget the idiom, we DO judge a book by its cover
Some of you out there may be Dinsey nuts. Some of you may be Dinsey haters. Some may think Disney is for children, some of you may have had Disney themed weddings. But regardless, Disney is important, shaping the minds of children. And since 1937 with 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' it has been… Continue reading Moana: could she be the best Disney princess?
A friend recently got me into Rick and Morty. I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed it as it's not usually my style of comedy. Massive amounts of toilet humour, pointedly politically incorrect and incredibly near the knuckle themes - this is not a cartoon for children. Nothing's held sacred and everything's a target of… Continue reading Mad, bad and dangerous to know
Two weeks into blogging and I'm already talking about giving up? No not really. In early April, the Guardian online published the opinion article What I’m really thinking: the failed novelist. An anonymous writer bemoans the fact that her two novels were rejected by various editors. Since then, she's 'given up', can't bring herself to read any… Continue reading Should we just give up writing?
Recently I was lucky enough to see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead with Joshua McGuire and Daniel Radcliffe at the Old Vic. This is one of my all time favourite plays and has been for a long time. I'm a true Shakespeare nut, to the point where I literally flinch if a line is missed in Much… Continue reading Rosencrantz and Guildenstern… what happens when you give minor characters their own play
I've always been a people watcher. You see or overhear a snippet of a conversation, you see a little slice of that person's life. Those of us with an active imagination will know that it can be enough to spark a story. Or ten. Orson Scott Card, the author of Ender's Game once said: Everybody walks past… Continue reading Where to find your characters
I've been creating stories for as long as I can remember. As a child, I would borrow my father's video camera and tell stories, often with props but always bossing around my younger sister (aka the lead actress and stagehand) and my impressive range of made up words like 'blustery-er'. It wasn't until I was eleven… Continue reading I’m going to start a blog. How hard can it be?