I've spoken before on my peculiar relationship with books. My need to buy and buy books I won't ever have time to read. The only thing that stops me is the fact I have no money. But if I did, I would have a collection the Libary of Congress would be jealous of. Thanks to… Continue reading Are you engaging in Tsundoku?
I have some exciting news for you all! It probably won't be a surprise to learn that I am an avid sci-fi and fantasy lover. Speculative Fiction is something I'm incredibly I'm passionate about, but I've always been aware it's not something many of you are coming to this blog for. I've realised that if… Continue reading New Beginnings!
There is currently a heatwave in England. Every weather channel has various diagrams to explain just how toasty it is and invariably there's a lot of red on the map. Those of you from hotter climates may well laugh, but it's currently 30 degrees Celsius and I'm officially melting. And while my office has air-conditioning, my… Continue reading 5# Things do to when you don’t want to write
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
The eternal question asked by and of writers. Where do you get your ideas from? In response to this frequently asked question, the divine Neil Gaiman has said: 'I make them up,' I tell them. 'Out of my head.' Well, obviously. Whatever we do and say, odds are, it probably originated from out of our heads.… Continue reading Where do you get your ideas from?
Now we are in the fifteen-week of the year, I wanted to do a brief update on where I am on the Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge. Have I read the target of fifteen books? Ha! I'm only four books behind. So far this year, I've read: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde… Continue reading Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge Update!
They are not idiots. They're hacks. I've written on this blog before about my quiet love for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It's a book I studied and one, as a teenager, I felt a lot of kinship with. Because what else is Frankenstein about but a Creature attempting to find its place in a cold and… Continue reading The Monster, The Sun and A Tale of Hack Journalism
Two of the most stressful things you can do is move house and start a new job. In December, I decided to do both. I have a philosophy that if you have several hard things to do, do them at the same time because how bad can it be, really? Hum... Well, I've finally finished… Continue reading Where do you write?
I've never believed in New Year's Resolutions because they simply don't work! There's a good reason why every article out there which talks about New Year's Resolutions also adds some helpful advice on how to stick to them. If there's anyone out there who has made a Resolution and kept to it for longer than… Continue reading Writing Resolutions of 2018
This is technically part two of my Frankenstein post which I published here on Friday in honour of the 200th anniversary of this book. But there was so much to talk about with this particular character, I thought he deserved a Never Underestimate post! Something I’ve always found fascinating about Frankenstein’s many and various adaptations… Continue reading Never Underestimate… the Igor
I recently finished reading The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah. If you don't know, this is Sophie Hannah taking on the continuation novels of Agatha Christie's beloved Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. Approved by the Christie Estate and written by a very talent crime novelist who I had the chance to meet at Swanwick Summer Writing School.… Continue reading Never underestimate… the Watsons
I was sitting at my desk at around ten o’clock at night, knowing that I wouldn’t go to bed until I’d finished the next chapter, so hello two o’clock in the morning and I suddenly realized; writing is a terrible hobby. I could be rock climbing or surfing, but oh no. No sane person would… Continue reading Why do we write? Who can we blame?
Today, I'm going to very carefully try and explain how friends and family can help their tortured writers. I say carefully because I hope not to offend any well-meaning soul who has fallen into one of these traps! No, it really isn't. The writer has just spilled out their soul about their amazing idea. The… Continue reading The worst ways to help a writer
What is past is prologue. The Tempest, William Shakespeare Everyone seems to have a strong opinion on prologues. Do a quick search online and you'll find plenty of articles advising you to ditch the prologue. As I've been frequently told, editors don't like them. They’re seen as the equivalent of clearing your throat before getting… Continue reading Prologues: Love ’em or Hate ’em
I've been part of the writer group London Writers' Cafe for almost two years now and I find it completely invaluable to my writing life. But I know writing groups are often criticised. There’s an infamous Buzzfeed article which always has me in stitches If Jane Austen Got Feedback From Some Guy In A Writing… Continue reading You should be in a Writing Group
What's the most valuable tool you have as a writer? That's right, it's the 'Write your way to Success' app available on iPhone and Android for the reasonable price of £19.99. Get this app and you too could be the next Stephen King in four to six months. That's right, it's the 'Write your way… Continue reading Your most valuable tool: But why?
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.
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 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?
I've got a slightly different kind of review for you all today. Last week, my writing group the London Writers' Cafe arranged for us to all go on The Cloak and Dagger Tour. Now, I've always considered myself a history nut. With my degree in the Classics, my amateur research into the nineteenth century and my general fascination… Continue reading The Cloak and Dagger Tour Review
I'm back! Full of inspiration and raring to write. Last week, I was at the Swanwick Writers' Summer School and I had the most amazing time. As a writer, it will probably stand one of the most important weeks in my writing career. The realizations I came to, the people I met and the courage I gathered… Continue reading My week at Swanwick: The Writers’ Summer School
We've all been there. We see a competition for a short story and we're suddenly inspired by the topic. Clearly, cognitive dissonance has already set in, because on some level we know we're going to hate it by the time we've written it. But at the first rush of feeling, ideas like fireworks are lighting your… Continue reading Without hesitation, repetition or deviation
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
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 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
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
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?
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?