Writing

Finding a title for your novel

Titles are massively important and often irritatingly elusive. If you publish in a serialised, weekly format like me you need to figure out titles right up front, before you've written the whole story. You get more breathing space if you're publishing traditionally, or self-publishing a completed, edited ebook, but at some point you still need to commit. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Productivity

Serialised storytelling is perfect for busy writers

This is the story of how serialised writing has helped me write two books, one of which won an award and has been read by over 27,000 people, while having a busy day job and not annoying my family. When I grew up, I was going to be a writer. As a kid, I was always writing short stories, poems, screenplays and anything else that came to mind. Then I got distracted, went to university, studied film and English and stumbled down a visual effects rabbit hole for 14 years. I got married, had a kid. These were all great things in their own ways, but I never quite found time to realise that childhood writing dream. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Writing

It’s OK if you don’t write every day

If you want to be a writer you need to write every day. That's the advice you'll hear again and again from authors in all genres and at all stages of their careers. While I'm not about to disagree with far more experienced and successful writers than myself, I do want to address what it means if you simply can't do it. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Tutorial

How to sync Scrivener with a Chromebook

Scrivener is the essential tool for novelists, becoming increasingly useful as your project grows in length and complexity. It's available on Mac and PC, though awkwardly in slightly different versions, but there's no ChromeOS version or equivalent. This is hardly a surprise, of course - it is ChromeOS, after all - but as I flit between a Windows desktop PC and a super lightweight Chromebook I needed a way to maintain my Scrivener workflow when out and about. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Productivity

If you find it hard to concentrate on writing, try a pomodoro

Writing requires concentration, yet we live in a world with more distractions than ever. Writers need self-discipline but if you're just starting out it can be incredibly difficult to break unhelpful habits such as checking social media, reading the news, going to grab a biscuit, making a cup of tea, playing a game... That's why, at least to start with, it makes more sense to find a way to manage those habits alongside your writing, rather than trying to quash them entirely, so that they can co-exist happily. The best approach I've found for this is called the pomodoro technique. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Tutorial

Creating quick book covers with Canva

Before I go any further, this isn't about creating professional covers for your novels. If you're putting together a book to self-publish then you'll want to do this thing properly, which most likely involves hiring an artist and/or designer. However, you probably won't want to commission covers for one-off short stories and smaller projects - they don't quite justify the expenditure. That's where using more off-the-shelf components can be useful and still yield visually pleasing results. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago