I’ve been experimenting with a useful technique for quickly creating characters, borrowing a few tricks from roleplaying games. I started using this approach with The Mechanical Crown, as the book is crammed full of characters and I needed a way to immediately define their behaviour, speech pattern and attitudes. (more…)
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…)
f you’re looking for advice on how to be an indie author, podcasts are an incredible resource. If you’re not already a podcast addict then you’re seriously missing out, so make sure you head over to iTunes, PocketCast or whatever your preferred podcast app happens to be and check out these suggestions. (more…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
I wasn’t planning on writing this for a while. It was on my Trello list of ‘articles to write at some point’ but it got bumped up this evening after I encountered a frantic writer on Facebook who had just lost three months of work and had no backup. Ouch. I don’t want anybody to suffer the crippling anxiety of losing work, so here we are. (more…)
Most of my discussions about Blade Runner 2049 have been about its gender politics and depiction of women. Specifically, whether it’s deliberately troubling or just troubling. Or a bit of both. That’s not what I want to write about here, primarily because I haven’t yet made up my mind. Instead, I’m going to take a look at the storytelling techniques the film uses to establish its future setting. Spoilers will ensue.