With millions of us stuck at home in lockdown, self-isolation or quarantine as covid19 / coronavirus sweeps around the world, lots of us are asking, how can I best use this time? If your answer is “I can finally write that book” then this open writing class is for you. I’ll be recording a newContinue reading “Open Writing Class : Day One”
“Learn the form, master the form, break the form.” Study a martial art of any kind and you’ll likely learn this lesson. First you learn a form – a kick, block or grapple. Then you master the form form – you practice it thousands of times, in different variations, and put it into practice againstContinue reading “Learn the form, master the form, break the form.”
Calling sci-fi a genre in 2016 is about as accurate as calling the United States one nation. In principle it’s true, but in practice things don’t work that way. While crime, romance and thrillers all remain as coherent genres of fiction, it’s been decades since sci-fi could be comfortably understood by any shared generic criteria.Continue reading “The 8 Tribes of SciFi”
The iconic 90s novelist interviewed in 2004 talks about the challenges of teaching creative writing.
I read a LOT of SF/F this decade for The Guardian, SFX, BBC etc. These were the books that made the decade for me. 2010 – The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang. This is how AI will really happen, and it’s terribly sad https://amzn.to/2QfmOgC 2011 – Embassytown by China Mieville. Like all ofContinue reading “My best Scifi & Fantasy novels of 2010 to 2019”
I’m journalling my 30 day Attention Recovery program. You can follow my progress here. This week my Facebook account was hacked. I can’t re-activate it without a code sent to a mobile phone number I haven’t owned for a decade. Two days ago I de-activated my Twitter account. I’m using this as an opportunity toContinue reading “Day One”
The mental shift that separates young writers from old writers. “I wish I had more time for my writing.” “I quit my job to work on my writing.” “My writing is very important to me.” What do all these sentences have in common? It’s that little word, MY. MY words. MY stories. MY WRITING. ButContinue reading “It’s not your writing”
We put a lot of effort into getting things done. Could we be more creative by simply doing less? In my 20s I was a To-Do list fiend. I had to-do lists for my to-do lists, a fact my girlfriend at the time was happy to mock me for. To get back to being creative,Continue reading “How to make your Kill List (and ditch your ToDo list)”
We’ve made up meditation out of thin air and desperate need. But that only makes it more important.
I’ve gone from writing a regular column of scifi books for The Guardian, to a year without reading novels. What happened?
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”
A stack of 4 core skills are key to success as a freelance writer. Mastering them unlocks huge opportunities. I landed my first paid writing gig when I was 14. I had a paper route, and one day the local Indian restaurant invited me in, made me a chai tea, and asked how to getContinue reading “The 4 skills of the full stack writer”