What it means to be a writer

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:

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.
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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. Continue reading

5 things Wattpad needs to do if it wants to be taken more seriously

I love Wattpad, because Wattpad turned me into a writer. I’d always claimed to want to be a writer, and had always been writing bits and pieces here and there, but I’d never published anything or even really finished a project. Writing had become something I did at work in my capacity as a copywriter, while my dreams of being a novelist flapped about in the winds of nostalgia.

A couple of years after publishing on Wattpad I had a novel called A Day of Faces, 116,000 reads, a Watty 2016 award and a lot more confidence. In April I’m talking about my experience as part of the Publishing Day School at Writers’ Centre Norwich. Wattpad even ended up on the International Literature Showcase last year.

But it ain’t perfect. In fact, there are gaping holes. It aspires to be YouTube for words, yet is failing to even replicate that platform’s basic features.I love Wattpad, so hopefully this insight will prove useful to the engineers over there… Continue reading

On converting Wattpad readers into patrons (or not)

I started a Patreon last year, coinciding with starting work on the A Day of Faces audiobook, The Mechanical Crown and the How To Write Serialised Fiction guide. Given the success I’d had with A Day of Faces on Wattpad, I’d hoped it would have a steady start.

As of right now, I have one patron. He’s the best kind of patron: always has interesting feedback, frequently sends over suggestions for improvement, and is generally supportive. But he’s my lone Patreon supporter, which makes for a slightly awkward situation. Continue reading

A Murder in Four Dimensions – my next short story

17 Winter Sticker (1).pngThere’s another Wattpad Block Party approaching, which means I’ve penned a new chapter to contribute to the month-long celebration of online literature.

Previously I’ve written behind-the-scenes articles, partly because I was right in the middle of working on A Day of Faces and also because I didn’t feel confident about exposing my fiction writing quite that widely.

These days I’m in a rather different position, with over 100k reads and a Watty Award. A Day of Faces turned into a bigger thing than I ever expected.

So this time round I’ve written a brand new short story, set in the A Day of Faces universe, and taking place after the end of the main story. It acts both as a tease for the main book and as a semi-sequel for fans. It suggests what happened next while introducing entirely new characters and going to previously unseen locations.

It’s also a bit noirish. If ADoF was an action adventure, then ‘A Murder in Four Dimensions’ is a noir thriller. It takes a very different tone, is presented in third person and explores what being a detective would mean in a multiverse. It’s hopefully a lot of fun.

I have no idea how it’ll read for people who haven’t already read the main book. I suspect it’ll be utterly confusing, but that’s OK. Maybe it’ll intrigue them enough to go check out the book.