Writing

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
Writing

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
Writing

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
Movies

How Blade Runner 2049’s world building has its roots in 1982

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. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Games

How to steal from a giant spaceship

Heat Signature is fantastic at telling unauthored, emergent stories. Here's a cool video all about its procedural generation of characters: https://youtu.be/y-3xJ86zNaQ And here's a personal anecdote, generated entirely by a combination of the game, my actions and circumstance: (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Professional

Online serialisation – free webinar!

Last weekend I was part of the Publishing Day School at Writers' Centre Norwich, speaking about online serialisation alongside an excitingly broad mix of traditional, digital and self publishers. Here's a webinar version of the talk: https://youtu.be/HrhmqBDzdtU About eight years ago I went to Eastercon, my first science fiction convention. It was a great weekend full of fascinating panels, including the likes of Neil Gaiman, Cory Doctorow and China Mieville. As engrossing as the discussions were, there was a narcissistic room in the back of my brain which wanted to be up on the panel, rather than sitting in the audience. Being part of the Publishing Day School, sitting on a panel alongside other writers, I achieved that goal. It was another critical step along the road of becoming a writer. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Writing

On finishing The Witcher 3

In a gaming era defined by the need to be on-going and forever, whether that be through multiplayer, procedural generation, MMO persistence, an endless parade of hats or drip-feed DLC, it's a relief to be given an out. The Witcher 3's second major expansion Blood & Wine is the developers saying "it's ok. Go now. Our time here is over." Spoilers ensue. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Writing

I have fan art

Something pretty amazing happened last week. I was contacted by an artist through Wattpad, who happened to be a fan of A Day of Faces and had drawn their interpretation of the lead character, Kay. Would I like to see it? Why, yes, please! Check it out: (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago