6 signs your novel may be pretty damn good

Why do readers love some novels, but not others? Often we do hand wavy gestures at this kind of question, while intoning the magic word “subjective subjective subjective”. Yes, different people like different things. But there are a few qualities which many, many popular stories have in common. There are six core qualities for aContinue reading “6 signs your novel may be pretty damn good”

Why am I worried that Cyberpunk 2077 will suck?

It looks like the slickest open world AAA video game ever made, but have CD Projekt Red found new meaning for old cyberpunk metaphors? Damien Walter writes on culture, politics and sci-fi for The Guardian, WIRED, BBC, Independent, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. The girl in the black vinyl minidress, shit-kicker boots and neon hair braidsContinue reading “Why am I worried that Cyberpunk 2077 will suck?”

You can be creative, or productive, but not both

We love the idea of productivity, but most productivity systems are killing our creativity Here’s a familiar event many artists will have encountered. You hit some creative milestone. Your new book is finished maybe, and a well-meaning friend responds, “I wish I had time to write / paint / sing / INSERT CREATIVE DREAM.” Yes,Continue reading “You can be creative, or productive, but not both”

No, the Handmaid’s Tale is NOT science fiction

Sci-fi sells us fantasies. Margaret Atwood’s classic novel is all about the danger of fantasy. Why should they be pigeon holed together? Damien writes on scifi, culture and politics for The Guardian, Independent, Wired, BBC and Aeon magazine, and also right here. Follow on Twitter @damiengwalter Women understand, I think much better than men, howContinue reading “No, the Handmaid’s Tale is NOT science fiction”

What they won’t tell you about creativity

“I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at 9am every morning.” We live in a time when creativity is sold as a cure-all alongside diverse other forms of self help. There are creativity coaches, handbooks of creative recovery, and creativity retreats. Being creative has superstars. But there’s something they aren’t telling you. ThinkContinue reading “What they won’t tell you about creativity”

Game of Thrones was not a fantasy show (and that made some fantasy fans angry)

Damien Walter writes on scifi & fantasy for The Guardian, BBC, Wired, Oxford University Press, IO9, Tor.com and elsewhere. He’s a graduate of the Clarion scifi writers workshop, and teaches the Rhetoric of Story. There’s a kind of fantasy novel that fantasy fans tend to like. It features either a young orphan / bastard boy destinedContinue reading “Game of Thrones was not a fantasy show (and that made some fantasy fans angry)”

Mindfulness will fuck you up

Mindfulness is part of a demanding meditative path that suits only a few people. There are better ways to be happier. I don’t recommend getting an arm cast for a bad tooth, taking ibuprofen for stomach ache, or treating a broken leg with herbal remedies. To each illness, the correct treatment. In today’s age ofContinue reading “Mindfulness will fuck you up”