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
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
Literary historians have often had a niggling worry that the plays of William Shakespeare were actually written by somebody else – the Earl of Bedford is one favourite. And there are others. My take is that they weren’t written by William Shakespeare, but by somebody else with the same name who was married to a… More The inner secrets of writing style
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
I have to admit I get irritated every so often with the current war on adverbs. One of the outcomes is that well-meaning but inexperienced editors go through an author’s work slashing out anything that has even the slightest hint of an adverb, as if the author doesn’t know what they are doing (and sometimes… More Why you actually need adverbs – really!
This week’s writing challenge is the last for a while, and revolves around a photo I took of detail in Sir Peter Jackson’s amazing Gallipoli diorama – an exact replica of the Chunuk Bair battle above Anzac Cove, complete with 5000 hand-painted and posed model soldiers, mostly built by local wargamers. Use the photo to inspire… More This week’s short story challenge
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