London, Writing

Taking a risk is the Only way to Grow

Last Wednesday, I read out an excerpt from my first chapter at my writing group. You'd think given I blog, enjoying writing and reading, that something like this would be a walk in the park. You might as well ask me to perform open-heart surgery. If you don't know me, I should explain I am the… Continue reading Taking a risk is the Only way to Grow

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Event, London, Theatre

Review: The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter

Last weekend, I saw 'The Birthday Party' by Harold Pinter. It had some of my favourite actors in it including Toby Jones, Stephen Mangan, Zoe Wanamaker, and, of course, Doctor Who's Pearl Mackie. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was at the Harold Pinter theatre - however, I've been living in London for about eight years now and I've been coming… Continue reading Review: The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter

Event, Reading

Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge

After I posted my Writing Resolutions a couple of weeks ago, Robin sent me a link to her blog where she's hosting the Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge. It looks like an amazing way to commit to more reading, though I'm sceptical... will I really manage the 52 books this year? Hum... I mean,… Continue reading Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge

Fiction, London, Reading, Reviews

It’s the 200th Anniversary of Frankenstein

Monday marked the 200th year anniversary of the book Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, was published anonymously on 1st January 1818. It was famously born from a dream and written for a ‘ghost story challenge’ at the Villa Diodati in the summer of 1816 in the company of Lord Byron, Percy… Continue reading It’s the 200th Anniversary of Frankenstein

Authors, Fiction, Literature, Writing

Rules are fun! Rules help CONTROL the fun.

How many articles or books listing ‘writing rules’ have you read? How many have you read saying that you should break them? Many of you may recognise the title of this post if you’re ever watched, Friends. Rules are fun! Rules help control the fun. The Guardian has an entire page of writing rules from authors like… Continue reading Rules are fun! Rules help CONTROL the fun.

Fiction, Literature, Writing

First draft hangover. What have we learnt?

After four years mulling and a year writing, I have now finished the first draft of my steampunk novel. Whew! I have mixed feelings on it all. It most certainly isn't a masterpiece. There are plot holes, too much telling than showing and a lack of cohesiveness which makes it feel more like a string… Continue reading First draft hangover. What have we learnt?

Fiction, Literature, Movies, Writing

Are your characters victims or dodgers of karmic justice?

Fiction is written by us. And what we like to see, what we cling to, is the sense that the universe will eventually fix everything. Whether that’s a god, fate or narrative causality, bad people get their comeuppance and good people get rewarded. And when we see terrible characters undergo terrible deaths, it’s okay, even… Continue reading Are your characters victims or dodgers of karmic justice?

Literature, Reviews

Review: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

Ever late to the party, this is one of the classics which I haven't read before. The Book Club I go to decided on My Cousin Rachel this month, partly due to the film now being in cinemas. I'm one of those people who hate seeing a movie based on a book without having read the… Continue reading Review: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

Fiction, Literature, Movies, Reading, Television, Writing

STRONG female characters? How about we just write better.

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.

Blogging, Fiction, Writing

Cast off your crutches

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

Fiction, Games, Writing

Harnessing the Completion Principle to enthral and annoy your readers

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

Authors, Fiction, Literature, Reading, Reviews, Writing

Not all Classics are created equal

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

Fiction, Literature, Uncategorized

Give your character some good old fashion vices

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

Fiction, Literature, Writing

The Busy Bee

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

Authors, Fiction, Literature, Movies, Reading, Television, Writing

Is there too much flashing in modern literature?

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?

Fiction, Non-Fiction, Writing

Fake News. Probably the most successful fiction there is

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

Fiction, London, Writing

Where to find your characters

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