What Makes You Put Down a Book?

I wrote to book reviewers and undertook polls on a number of Facebook groups: AmWritingFantasy (693 members), Fantasy Writers Support Group (5,447 members), The Phoenix Quill (846 members), and Writing Bad (8,000 members). The results are pretty interesting and hopefully will be of some use to writers.

Sharing is Caring Thursday #6 Reviewers selling ARCs, world-building, agents, and using ‘and’ & ‘the’

This week I'm sharing a mix of articles courtesy of some of the excellent bloggers I follow. You'll find an interesting research piece on the use of the words 'and' & 'the', insights into querying agents, the importance of world-building, and a very sad development in the world of writing, one all writers should be aware of: reviewers selling ARCs.

Prose: The Controversial Flashback

Why the hostility toward flashbacks? If done well, they work. But done badly, they break the reader’s experience, preventing them from discovering what happens next in the story. To quote editor, Sol Stein, “If we are enthralled, we don’t want to be interrupted.” The trick, therefore, if you feel compelled to use one, is to use the flashback in as little a disruptive way as possible. Here are a few techniques to help you do that.

[Video] World-building chat with Fane of Fantasy

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of recording a chat with Jesper Schmidt over at Fane of Fantasy. We spoke about minimalist world-building, where this approach has come from, and what it means for fantasy moving forwards.

Dialogue: The Ingredients

Dialogue was one of the first aspects of creative writing I looked at on this here blog, and since then much has been learned on this crucial aspect of the craft. In this return article, we'll look at what dialogue in fiction entails and the ingredients necessary for making it the most effective it can be, before finishing up with a few helpful editing tips.

World-Building: A Minimalist Approach

Yesterday I was delighted to join Jesper Schmidt of AmWritingFantasy.com for a chat about world-building. Thank you, Jesper for having me. I had a great time! It remains to be seen if any of you will be able to understand my scouse accent. I thought I’d share my notes about what we discussed, namely a minimalistic approach to showing worlds, the best tips I’ve come across for revealing worlds, and a few tips about building a world.

Stopping the Reader’s Heart: Creating Tension

Can you think of a moment in a novel or story when you lost all awareness of your surroundings? The only thing that mattered was happening on the page, and then at the end, you come up for air and utter a “fuck.”

An exciting year ahead…

So, here we are. 2018. It still feels like 2004 to me so seeing that written down comes as a bit of a shock. I can imagine a few of you have sore heads. I hope the painkillers aren’t too far from the comfort of your bed.

The end of another year…

In June I began this blog with a post on the writing process. I was always a bit apprehensive about starting a blog. What have I got of worth to give to the world? I managed to shake that niggling thought.

Prose: “Tell me, and I’ll forget.” Showing Instead of Telling

In his book, On Writing, Sol Stein provides a very helpful guide on something writers so often hear about: showing the story instead of telling it. Do you remember asking someone, a family member perhaps, to tell you a story? It's almost as if we've been conditioned to tell rather than show.