Why I’m on Wattpad

If you enjoy my writing then you might want to pop over to Wattpad, where I now have a growing library of short stories. Check out my profile here.

I’ve had my short stories linked to from this blog for years now, in PDF form or similar. So why the move to Wattpad? Primarily it’s to do with finding the right platform for the job. This blog is great for posting occasional thoughts in a journal-like manner. It’s not so great for highlighting finished projects. It also doesn’t provide a great browsing and reading experience on tablets/mobiles.

Wattpad insists that it’s a social network for writers and readers, rather than explicitly a publishing platform. There’s a fair bit of branding spin in there but they have a point – it’s certainly successful at connecting writers and readers, especially in niche genres which have a ton of fans which aren’t always serviced by traditional publishing.

So grab the Wattpad app for your iOS or Android device and enjoy a Kindle-like reading experience. I’d suggest taking a look at The Comedian first, as it’s both recent and efficiently short.

I’m going to be transferring more of my stories over and I’m also working on a new project (based on one of my Future Learn sketches) which is rather more tailor-made for Wattpad. That one I’ll be releasing chapter-by-chapter over the course of a week, most likely.

I’m also tempted to take Evinden – my long gestating fantasy novel – and sling that on chapter-by-chapter. Evinden exists in first draft but needs extensive editing and expanding. The thought of slogging through the entire book before doing anything with it doesn’t excite me much, which is probably why I haven’t got round to doing it yet.

Wattpad offers something more interesting: edit a chapter, publish a chapter. That way I get to build a readership over time, hopefully start to get feedback as I go, and have an impetus to keep on going. Still not quite decided on the wisdom of that approach yet – first up I need to finish editing Millennium Surfing and decide what to do with that.

Lots to do.

My first novelette: Millennium Surfing complete!

According to this page on Wikipedia, most genre awards classify a novelette as being between 7,500 and 17,500 words, while a novella goes from there up to about 40,000 words. Presumably anything below 7,500 is a simple old short story.

Going by this definition, the short story I just finished writing, Millennium Surfing, is actually a novelette. Which sounds pleasantly quirky!

It’s about ego and ambition and stubbornness and technology and hubris. It’s about progress without restraint. It’s about flying around the sun really bastard fast. Essentially: one man decides to experience the future using vaguely scientific methods involving time dilation. There are what I hope are big ideas scattered through the story but it should also be a lot of fun. That’s the plan.

The first draft is finished and I’m currently taking a slight break before diving back in to edit it down. After that I’ll seek some feedback before deciding what to do with it. I may try to fire it off to Interzone et al to see if they’d like to publish it. If that doesn’t work I’ll sling it over to Wattpad, a publishing platform/social network that has been intriguing me for some time now.

TL;DR – finished a new story! Woo.

Future Learn: Start Writing Fiction: Weeks 6, 7 & 8

Well, this is nice:

FLcompleteTonight I completed the 8 week Start Writing Fiction course over at futurelearn.com. It’s been a fun and rewarding course. Though it’s aimed primarily at new writers, even for more experienced writers it offers something valuable: a reason to write regularly. Each week you’re given assignments and this alone has been fantastic – I’ve been more productive since the course began than I have been for a while.

So, time to share the final bits and pieces I created for the course. Continue reading

Future Learn: Start Writing Fiction: Week 5

It was all going so well the first few weeks – but I’m really starting to slip behind. As I write this I’m halfway through week 6, despite week 7 theoretically starting today. But, then, that’s one of the liberating things about FutureLearn – you can go at your own pace. I’ll still get through the course, won’t miss anything, won’t be rushed, and will get the full benefit, but it is flexible enough to fit into a life containing a toddler, a job and a wife’s birthday.

It’s the polar opposite of studying English at university, where I’d rush-read the set texts, often not finishing them, just so I’d hopefully have something to contribute at a seminar – as a result, classic books were utterly ruined. Old education really isn’t the way to do it.

ANYWAY. Onto week 5’s various assignments, kicking off with…


Continue reading

Future Learn: Start Writing Fiction: Week 4

Here’s my work from week 4 of FutureLearn’s Start Writing Fiction course…

The main focus of week 4 was character and plot. I ended up with half of a short story which I may or may not finish at some point. Here’s what exists so far:

Hiding in time

“Ready or not, here I come!”

John scuttled beneath the porch, slipping down onto his belly and commando crawling his way forwards until he was completely concealed. He rolled over and lay still, squinting to see between the dark, wooden slats of the decking above. Sunlight bloomed around their edges.

Breathing as slowly as possible he strained his ears for a sign, listening out for the patter of feet or creak of boards.

“I’m going to find you,” Chloe called from elsewhere in the garden, clearly heading in the wrong direction. John grinned, proud of his hiding place. Continue reading

Future Learn: Start Writing Fiction: Week 3

Week 3 has passed of the online writing course I’m currently doing, which means it’s time to share some more of my assignments.

EDIT: I completely forgotten I’d written a tiny character sketch in week 3, so here it is:

Emma said that the bruising would go down after a week but it had already been three days and her face was still a sweltering mess of reds and purples, occasional arcs of dull blue highlighting the swelling like whitecaps on breaking waves. “It was my fault, really,” she kept saying, over and over, mostly to herself as if even she didn’t really believe it.

And now back to the original blog post: Continue reading

DIY next-gen gaming: part 3

Continuing my slow build of a powerful new PC gaming rig, this month it’s SSD time.

SSDs are still hugely expensive compared to traditional hard drives but they are at least within affordable limits, particularly when you factor in the speed benefits. Most importantly, you can finally get a decent 256GB SSD for under £100, which wasn’t possibly last year.

Given that Titanfall and Wolfenstein are both 50GB installers, a 256GB drive for gaming is really the absolute minimum – and note that I’m using this drive purely for gaming, I’m not installing the OS on it (that’s on a separate, smaller SSD I bought last year).

So, having rummaged about it seemed that the best option by far was to go for the Samsung 840 EVO 256GB SSD, which over at Amazon.co.uk at the time of purchasing was about £93 (it appears to have gone back up to £98 now, so keep an eye on it). This is for the bare bones version, so it doesn’t include a mounting bracket or cables. Handily I already had a spare SATA cable, and I don’t even bother to mount SSDs properly – I just have them sitting loose in the case. One of the benefits of a drive with no moving parts.

One thing to note is that with my current build I can’t get maximum performance from the SSD, as my motherboard has an old version of SATA. Once I get a new mobo later in the year I’ll actually unlock up to twice the data rate, which means this new SSD is nicely future-proofed, and I’m not even seeing its full potential yet.

Thoughts, anybody?