Why it’s vital to have full control of your writing style

The other day, in fairly quick succession, I found myself writing (a) revisions to a second edition of a non-fiction history book I wrote years ago, (b) a fantasy story I’ve recently been commissioned to write, and (c) a grant application. All of them demanded utterly different writing styles – and I had to jump… More Why it’s vital to have full control of your writing style

Why I said ‘no’ to the old ‘get paid by exposure’ trick

I drew a line in the sand the other day. Or chipped it in granite. Or something. It was the same line Will Wheaton drew with the HuffPo last year – saying ‘no’ to commercial enterprise offering ‘exposure’ in lieu of actual payment to authors. I’m approached reasonably often to contribute to publications or give… More Why I said ‘no’ to the old ‘get paid by exposure’ trick

Why super-powers should be all or nothing in sci-fi

I have never completely understood the latest sci-fi fixation with ‘super powers’, where the main protagonist is just some ordinary person who just happens to be able to go invisible, or read minds, or teleport (but not all three). Inevitably this singular ability then becomes the ‘gimmick’ on which plots are hung. To which I… More Why super-powers should be all or nothing in sci-fi

Getting in ahead of the kick-starter rush

Does anybody remember ‘Swing Out Sister’? Eighties jazz-infused synth-pop trio who by their second album had become a Bacharach-jazz style duo. They got quite big in Japan, for some reason, in the 1990s and they’re still around exploring the full meaning of the word ‘mellow’ in music. Lately, they’re ‘making a thing’ on Pledge Music,… More Getting in ahead of the kick-starter rush