Earlier this week I posed a question: are books getting shorter? It’s a question that should be occupying us now because the rules are changing. In the old days – ‘as recently as five years ago’ – scale was mainly driven by cost. Make a book too big and the cover price would be driven up –… More And the ideal length for a book is…
I’ve long lost count of the number of books I have in my personal library. I think it’s about 2000, but I’m not sure. That’s because large chunks of the collection are sitting in tubs in the shed, waiting for shelf space. And the rest of it is rammed, in virtually any order, into available… More My bookshelves are a mess and I can’t be bothered fixing them…
This week’s writing challenge revolves around a photo I took of the Wairau river mouth, Marlborough, New Zealand, late one winter’s afternoon. Use the photo to inspire a 150-200 word super-short story – a proper one, with beginning, middle, end and punchline (all super-short stories gotta have a punchline) – and post it on your blog, with… More This week’s mega short-story challenge
I’ve heard it said that in this post-print day and age of dwindling attention spans, books should be kept short. Why slug away writing an 80,000 word tome when it’ll sell online for the exact same price as a book half that length? In a way, none of this is really new. Even in the… More Are we returning to the age of short books?
I got to see the movie Battleship (2012) on TV the other week. I’d eschewed it on first release because it looked dumb on so many levels. And I wasn’t disappointed. The dumbness was monolithic. I suppose any story that’s been squeezed out of a game is going to have problems. Add the inevitable studio requirements… More Stories of aliens versus us are really commenting on our own dark side
One of the many pitfalls novice novellists fall into is the up-front info dump. That’s where the character arc gets interrupted by a blast of back-story, world-description, character biographies and so forth. It brings the story to a screeching halt, and it was death to pace even in the old days of print. These days,… More Avoiding the writers’ up-front info dump
My new phone’s censoring my favourite Anglo Saxon. And I think that’s ducking stupid. I mean, it’s literally ducking stupid – not the thing you thought I was euphemising. Let me explain. I have quite a vocabulary of Anglo Saxon, which I use a lot in the real world. I like some of those words so much I… More My ducking phone censors me, damon it