Given that National Novel Writing Month is looming up I figured it was worth re-posting this from my archives – how to plot a story. Cue the evil laughter… How to get a credible story plot and avoid the dumb ones One of the challenges of NaNoWriMo – or, indeed, of writing any novel – … More Novel plotting 101 – how to get it right
It’s National Novel Writing Month in November – a US contest, but it draw authors from all around the world. Which means a lot of writers are going to be sitting down right now, all around the world, and figuring out what to do. I’ve been supporting the event with advice and tips for years … More Getting started for National Novel Writing Month 2017
It’s a century since a transport company was founded in my home town of Napier with the epithet Aard. A word that founder R. R. Woodcock coined so he’d be at the very front of the phone book. He knew what was doing. It’s a lesson driven home to me whenever I walk into bookshops … More Being a writer with a name at the end of the alphabet
It seems to me that mythology and fairy stories go together pretty much hand in hand. One of the twentieth century masters of the art of writing them was J R R Tolkien, whose Middle Earth imaginarium spanned the whole lot. The Silmarillion, the foundation of his mythos, was deliberate mythology. He drew inspiration from … More What is a myth – and what is a fairy story?
The second Endless Worlds compilation – which includes my novella ‘The Last Citadel of the Innocent’ – is described by the publisher as eight stories of dark faerie. That’s ‘faerie’ – not ‘fairy’. The first spelling is way darker – and that’s appropriate. Fairy stories – the modern term for what were traditionally folk tales … More Faerie tales, magic and symbolism
Something struck me the other day about the nature of academic ethics in New Zealand and some of the people who flourish by exploiting the conceits of that subculture. Check out these two stories – both are true. 1. A few months ago a gang member arrived in a Blenheim KFC where he saw a … More How academics get away with bullying
I am a great fan of science fiction that’s plausible enough to be ‘scientific’, but which doesn’t take the ‘science’ so far as to be boring. In the miniseries that launched the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica a decade or so ago, Galactica took a direct hit from a nuke and survived with near-undiminished fighting capacity. Is … More Sci-fi writing tricks: balancing drama with plausibility