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”
“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”
Have you ever noticed we use the same words for fear and wonder? Awe is both awesome and awful. Terror is both terrible and terrific. Our ancestors knew something we’ve tried to forget. That the horrors we fear are also the gateways to wonder. Scared of losing your job? Failing your exams? Ending that relationship?Continue reading “Fear is the flip-side of wonder”
Daenerys did not go mad. What she did was totally sane and rational. It’s what America did at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hence the imagery, which deliberately evoke nuclear destruction. Demonstrate the capacity for huge violence, to take complete power. Daenerys did not go mad. What she did was totally sane and rational. It's whatContinue reading “The Targaryen queen did NOT go mad”
It was billed as the “debate of the century”, but on the night Zizek vs Peterson turned into more of a love-in than a street brawl. In this new era of Intellectual MMA, who will be the Ultimate Debating Champion? Join the Rhetoric of Story with course code STORYTEN : https://goo.gl/YDLxoH Or free with aContinue reading “Zizek vs Peterson : why didn’t they fight?”
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”
Expecto petronum! QUESTION : why do wizards wave their hands to make magic? Damien lays out the strange connection between writing and magic, and how the two meet in our wonderful, wonderful hands!
Premiere! Read on for details. After five years teaching creative writing at universities, and a decade leading writing workshops in schools, libraries, prisons, care homes and more, I saw a problem in how we teach writing. The Rhetoric of Story is my answer to that problem. Across seven lectures I layout my best understanding ofContinue reading “The highest art of story?”
From zero experience, to three 10k runs a week, then back down to a regular 5k distance, running has changed my life. And taught me some valuable lessons. It’s coming up for five years since I left the UK and began “digital nomading”. This time has been occupied with two stories, building my writing practice,Continue reading “Five years. 555 runs. Five Lessons.”
Lots of people dream of building a pro career that also feeds their creativity. Online freelance platforms can be a big part of making that happen, IF you know how to profit from them. I was surprised and more than a little honored to look at my Fiverr profile last month and discover I wasContinue reading “The pro-writer’s guide to Upwork and Fiverr”