I Published a Book!

I published a merry bloody book!

And now that we’ve got Halloween and Bonfire Night out of the way, I’m finally able to flog it. It’s Christmas-themed, y’see. Yes, sensible old me thought it would be a cracking idea to make my first foray into the self-publishing world with a seasonal book that folks will only ever want to buy for around 6 weeks of the year. I mean… you live and learn, right?

Merry Bloody Christmas is a multi-genre short story collection which I originally wrote and posted on this blog last year. I was reasonably chuffed with the stories then, but I knew they weren’t as polished as they could be. Not only that, but they soon got buried as I continued to post new stories and book reviews. So, I pulled them from the site, dusted them off, whipped them into shape, and published them. Continue reading “I Published a Book!”

A Selection of Tiny Tales | Microfiction

I’m up to my neck in editing right now (why did I ever think it would be a good idea to enrol on a novel-editing course at the same time as editing a collection of short stories which I plan to self-publish next month? WHY?!), which explains why I’ve been so utterly awful at replying to lovely comments and keeping up with everyone’s latest posts. Sorry about that. Hopefully I’ll have a little more time to catch up next week.

I’m also struggling to find time to pen all the stories I planned to write this week, both to post here and over on Medium. But I have been writing super short stories on Twitter on Instagram, so in the interests of shamefully plugging my social media pages, I thought I’d share a few of my recent favourites. I hope they might bring someone somewhere some mild entertainment at the very least. Continue reading “A Selection of Tiny Tales | Microfiction”

A Visit from Self Doubt | Blog

Here I am, living my life, maintaining a routine, going about my day to day as best as I can, when the old bastard turns up and ruins everything.

He doesn’t even knock first. He just walks right into my house, marches up the stairs, wanders into my spare bedroom where my little desk is set up, and glares at me until I cry. Continue reading “A Visit from Self Doubt | Blog”

4 Rules for Writing Fiction You Can Ignore

You think you know how to write fiction? You probably don’t. Not unless you follow these four cardinal writing rules.

Remember: some highly successful writers break these rules and still write great stuff. But you are not one of them. It is not possible to break these rules and write great stuff unless you are already a successful writer. Got it? Good.

1. Show, don’t tell

You’re telling me a story, right? Wrong. You need to show me the story. You don’t need a pen and paper or a keyboard — you need a stage. Perform for me, monkey.

You could act out the story, mime it, or come up with a contemporary dance routine. Whatever you do, don’t you dare tell me what happens, because that’s bad writing. It’s boring. What readers really want is a series of ideas which they can interpret in a million and one different ways without fully understanding what your story is all about. Do you understand? Of course you don’t. That’s exactly my point.

Now, there is a very subtle difference between showing and telling when writing fiction, and I’m afraid I can’t share with you what that difference is. Why? Because I have no idea myself. Nobody does. All I know is that “show, don’t tell” is the most repeated mantra known to fiction writers the world over, and we must abide.

2. Never carry dialogue with anything other than “said”

You don’t want your writing to become too pretentious, right? In that case, don’t even think about using anything other than “said” when you’re telling — sorry, showing — us how your characters interact.

Continue reading on Medium >

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Being Inspired, Not Influenced, by Other Writers | Blog

It’s awesome when you read a book or a story and you think, “I wanna write stuff as good as this!” You come away feeling all excited about the possibilities of these little things called words. It reignites that passion to practise, practise, practise in hopes that you’ll one day be even just a fraction as skilled as the author who penned that brilliant piece of fiction.

What’s less awesome is when you read said book or story and find yourself subsequently scribbling a cheap, knock-off version of the same thing. Reading is an important part of learning how to write, but there’s a fine line between being inspired by great fiction and being influenced by it. Continue reading “Being Inspired, Not Influenced, by Other Writers | Blog”

This is Why I Suck at Social Media | Blog

Social media interaction is the first thing to fall by the wayside when I’m depressed. Long story short, it’s because I hate myself so passionately that it’s almost funny.

My self-esteem tends to be pretty low on a regular basis, but when depression takes hold it gets even worse; I find myself hating everything about myself and tearing myself down in every possible way. My appearance, my personality, my ability to write – everything about me sucks. I’m the real life Britta from Community – I’m the worst. Continue reading “This is Why I Suck at Social Media | Blog”

Passion for New Projects | Blog

I started a new story this week. A long one. Well, technically it’s a short story, but considering that the majority of tales I write here are under 500 words, it’s gargantuan in comparison.

And I’m so excited about it!

It’s one that came from a daft little scribble in a notebook; a single line that I felt had potential to be something interesting. And now it’s all planned out and a third of the way written and I feel like it’s my wee baby – something to love and nurture and make wonderful. Continue reading “Passion for New Projects | Blog”

I Don’t Know What My Genre Is (Or If It Matters)

Something that I’ve been struggling with recently is defining my genre. Right now, I pitch my tales as “speculative” because this seems to me to be the most professional way to define “weird shit” which is, apparently, what I tend to write.

People have told me I have a “style,” but when I ask them what that style is, they say, “Um, well, I dunno. It’s just kinda weird.” Helpful. Continue reading “I Don’t Know What My Genre Is (Or If It Matters)”

How to Overcome Writer’s Block | Blog

Last year I wrote a blog post about how to overcome writer’s block, in which I recommended ignoring it and writing anyway. I mentioned that I try to adopt the attitude that writer’s block doesn’t exist, because resigning myself to writer’s block only makes the problem worse.

I do still stand by that to a certain extent, but I wanted to expand on it because overcoming writer’s block isn’t always as simple as completely denying its existence. Even if we don’t call it writer’s block, we can agree that there are always fluctuations in our creativity levels, the number of ideas we have, and the amount we write on a regular basis. We’re not all super inspired and eager to write every single day. We all go through phases in which we struggle to write, and it’s perfectly natural and normal.

But what’s the best way of dealing with it? Is overcoming writer’s block possible? Continue reading “How to Overcome Writer’s Block | Blog”

Is a Degree in Creative Writing Worth It?

In 2012 I graduated from Royal Holloway University of London with a joint honours degree in creative writing and drama. Pretty much ever since, I’ve wondered if it was worth it. Continue reading “Is a Degree in Creative Writing Worth It?”