Stories need rules as much as they need imagination; as counter-intuitive as it seems, placing restrictions on what can happen in your fictional world will help readers to understand the dramatic tensions, threats and challenges encountered by your characters. This is true regardless of the genre you’re playing in. (more…)
I was asked to give a talk comparing storytelling in games and literature by Access Creative College. This article is based on that talk.
It’s easy to think that interactivity is the key difference between games and literature. Video games are interactive, which makes them unique. It’s an easy statement but misses the point that all forms of storytelling are interactive.
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…)
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…)
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.