Writing Category

Being Ernest

I have commented in the past that I have a penchant for long-windedness. Unfortunately, lengthy or complex sentences can be frustrating to read and easy to misunderstand. That’s a sure way to put your reader right off. That’s where the Hemingway Editor, created by Adam and Ben Long, comes in.

There are, of course, millions of apps out there designed to help writers. There are specialist text editors, plot generators… I even found an app that ‘Rickrolled’ me if I stopped writing! But the Hemingway Editor stands out for me as something quite unique.

Read More

Ideas from the Everyday

Not everything you write needs to be published. Therefore, it’s okay to write rubbish.

For example, a few years ago, on one particularly snowy winter, I got stuck on a bus for fifteen and a half hours on what would have normally been a twenty minute journey. The true story of what happened was pretty boring. I sat there for fifteen and a half hours, trying not to think about toilets and amusing myself by watching people building snowmen on the motorway. When I finally got home (after I had had something to eat and a good night’s sleep) I went about the business of trying to turn it into a work of fiction.

Read More

The Nightmare After Christmas

I really hate dream sequences.

I can count on one thumb the amount of dream sequences I’ve seen or read in any story that I’ve truly enjoyed and felt like they added something to the story. They’re usually only there as a cheap attempt to make a clever point or as a lame excuse to make the protagonist do something he otherwise would never do. At their worst extreme, they are the primordial slime of deus ex machina. Yes, I know I always say that it is a matter of personal taste what we like and if dream sequences are your thing then… well, I suppose I just have to accept that. But I hate them.

That is what ruined this year’s New Year Special of the BBC drama, Sherlock for me.

Read More

The Games It Plays

As technology has developed and computer games have grown more intricate and complex, it is only natural that the capacity of computer games to tell stories has likewise increased but this idea of using games to tell stories is nothing new. While it is true that no one would ever try to suggest that Pong, Pacman or even more recent offerings such as Candy Crush make any kind of serious contribution to the world of fiction, writers have been using the medium of gaming to tell their stories in an interactive way ever since the text based adventures of the ’70s. The real question is, can a game have a good story and still be worth playing?

Read More

Learning From Rejection

The reason I have decided to post just one more of my own stories this year is because it’s nearly Christmas and this story does have a bit of a Christmas theme going on in it. However, rather than just giving you the story to read and expecting you to like it, I’m going use this story as an example of how writers can (and should) use their rejected stories to help them develop as writers, by analysing their own work to see how they might improve upon it.

Read More

6 Six-Word Stories

So this week I’ve challenged myself to write six six-word stories using Thinkamingo’s Story Dice as stimuli. The Story Dice is an app for Android OS which allows you to roll anything between one to ten dice with various pictures on each face. The idea is that you use these pictures to develop a story. Since I’m only writing six-word stories today, I decided to only use one dice per story.

So this week I’ve challenged myself to write six six-word stories using Thinkamingo’s Story Dice to give myself a stimulus. The Story Dice is an app for Android OS which allows you to roll anything between one to ten dice with various pictures on each face. The idea is that you use these pictures to develop a story. Since I’m only writing six-word stories today, I decided to only use one dice per story. Alea iacta est.

Read More

The Martian’s Revenge

Not wanting to waste all the effort and frustration I went to, I’ve decided to post it here instead. I wanted to make it stand out from other stories and given that it had to be set in Scotland I thought perhaps a Scottish sci-fi/murder mystery might be the way to go.

Read More

5 Simple Brain Unblockers

I won’t lie to you; this post is pretty much the result of an afternoon spent swimming in the ocean of writer’s block, clinging on to the driftwood of terrible ideas. There are millions of different websites and books out there offering various suggestions on how to beat writer’s block and I’ve concluded that there is simply no ‘one size fits all’ method of getting back into the groove but here are a few techniques that I find myself employing on a regular basis.

Read More

Auditioning Characters

Characters really matter. No matter what kind of fiction you’re writing, characters really, really matter… so it’s worthwhile spending a bit of time refining your characters. I like to do this by ‘auditioning’ characters…

Read More

The Much Maligned Movie Re-Make

The age we live in now is such that it is difficult to write a book without it being made into a film; it is difficult to produce a film without it being turned into a computer game; worst of all, computer games have a nasty habit of spawning cinematic abominations with all the substance of reality TV show for amoebas.

So, do re-makes ever have any value?

Read More