How to bend the masses to your will with words alone

The internet, being composed of 50% text and 50% raw naked ambition, is full of how-tos and guidelines on ways to manipulate the written word to achieve your raw naked ambitions. They are called things like How to Write Compelling Content for the Web or 73 Ways to Manipulate the Weak Willed With the PowerContinue reading “How to bend the masses to your will with words alone”

All hail the New Pulp

Imagine a scale of literary productivity. At one end, place current darling of the American literary scene Jeffrey Eugenides, bating a steady average of one book per decade. At the other, put Jack Vance – at 95, perhaps the last of the great pulp fictioneers – who has produced 60 novels across the SF, fantasyContinue reading “All hail the New Pulp”

Who profits in the creative economy?

A Bookseller article today reports that ‘less than 10% of self published authors make a living‘, based on a survey of around 1000 self-published authors. But the remarkable thing about this story is the intensely negative spin it gives to the data it presents. It could easily read “Holy Fuck! A percentage of self-published authorsContinue reading “Who profits in the creative economy?”

First person in The Great Gatsby

If you’ve picked up some corrupted ideas about 1st person narration from bad urban fantasy writing, The Great Gatsby is a good restorative. @damiengwalter Reading The Great Gatsby today, I’ve been struck by how well F. Scott Fitzgerald writes, and in particular how well he writes first person narrative. The Great Gatsby was first publishedContinue reading “First person in The Great Gatsby”

Why the same arguments repeat endlessly online

The internet opens up all forms of discourse to all kinds of people. Just a few decades ago, the dialogues of literary criticism were held between only a small handful of ‘qualified’ experts. Now, for better or worse, tens of thousands of people debate literature online. When a discourse is conducted within a limited community,Continue reading “Why the same arguments repeat endlessly online”

Fantasy must be a struggle with life

The more experienced I become as a writer, the more I realise I was closer to the soul of the art when I started out than after a decade and some lose change years studying its craft. Jonathan Franzen is a writer I discovered through The Corrections some time in the last year or so.Continue reading “Fantasy must be a struggle with life”

Inspirational words for artists from Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman did not graduate from university. He did not even go to university. Instead he pursued his creative ambitions, and became one of the worlds greatest writers. Here he shares some words of wisdom with graduating students from The University of the Arts. One or two of my favourite Gaiman quotes from this talk:Continue reading “Inspirational words for artists from Neil Gaiman”

The Unspecified Reader

[pullquote]I felt that the indispensable relationship I should build in my life was not with a specific person, but with an unspecified number of readers. Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I talk About Running [/pullquote] So a captain is married to her ship, and a novelist is married to her readers. Earlier thisContinue reading “The Unspecified Reader”

Fandom Matters

Original published @ Guardian Books One of the notable features of science fiction and fantasy fandom is that it exists around five to 10 years ahead of the curve when it comes to information technology. The 50% of the early world wide web that wasn’t porn was made up of Star Trek: The Next Generation fansites; with everyContinue reading “Fandom Matters”

Who is the wisest Sci-Fi & Fantasy author?

Over on Twitter and Facebook I asked folk to tell me which SF author they would turn to for life advice, for words of wisdom and guidance through the labyrinth of life. And I got quite a response! [View the story “Wisest of the wise in SF & Fantasy” on Storify] Popular choices include NeilContinue reading “Who is the wisest Sci-Fi & Fantasy author?”