Category Archives: Writing

Photophobic Haemophagy*

“From Dracula to Twilight, stories with vampires in them are always in some way about the middle-class fear and envy of the decadent but mysteriously powerful old rich.” ~ Jenny Turner’s review of Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches ( … Continue reading

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How to Write About the Future

Imagine someone living, say, a thousand years ago visiting our culture. Which aspects would they have the most difficulty with? Our godlessness? Our demonising of violence? The prevalence of a high standard of living, of wealth & longevity? Our ability … Continue reading

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Advice for Boffins

Collecting foreign languages is contingent on multilingual parents, living abroad or an enormous expenditure of time & effort. So what becomes of the amateur collector stranded in a monolingual town? There’s only one thing for it: learn your own language even … Continue reading

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How to Expand your Pool of Recurring Themes

Reading several books by the same author, list the images or themes they use repeatedly in their stories. Pick one you’d not have thought of yourself & base your next piece of writing on it. If nothing else, this’ll help … Continue reading

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The Christians & the Pagans*

If it hadn’t been for the story’s title, I would’ve sworn Lovecraft was describing a fairy procession through an enchanted wood. But then, it’s the duty of every new order to convert the native deities into demons, isn’t it? “All … Continue reading

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How to Devise Characters

1) Pick out disparate aspects of your own personality, or the characteristics that defined you at various points in your life. 2) Add in a couple of people you know well, such as partners, family or close friends. 3) Change … Continue reading

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How to Plot a Novel

Don’t. Who needs external action when you can explore the convolutions of the characters’ psyches? Pick your favourite book & spend a ream mapping out its intricacies. Change the names, setting & narrative point of view, then get writing. Sell … Continue reading

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How to Write a Blog

Give up any pretence of knowing. Renounce your sense of dignity. This is the internet: the entire world’s watching, for all time, & you’re bound to sneeze into the microphone at some point. Nothing’s more boring than narcissism. Down with … Continue reading

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The Forest for the Trees

What’s this title, a rally cry? A spelling trap for the unwary? A hint at personal failings? Or a play on the author’s name?                    

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