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
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
Productivity

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
Writing

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... (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago