The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards | Book Review

During the middle of an unprecedented snowstorm in 1964, Dr David Henry delivers his wife’s baby with the help of a nurse in his empty clinic. It turns out to be twins. The first baby is a perfect little boy. The second is a girl with Down’s Syndrome. Believing that he is doing the right thing for all involved, David hands the child off to the nurse and asks her to take it to an institution out of town. He tells his wife, Norah, that the baby girl died. The nurse, Caroline, can’t bear to leave the little girl in the cold, clinical institution for the rest of her life. Instead, she goes on the run, starts a new life and raises the child as her own. Continue reading “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards | Book Review”

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!”

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng | Book Review

Anyone remember a few weeks ago when I wrote a blog post about how I hate not finishing books, even if I’m not enjoying them? Well, here comes a real-world example of why I am the way I am. Continue reading “Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng | Book Review”

Missed Targets | Flash Fiction

‘One hundred words to go, that’s all, bobblehead! One hundred little words to write until I meet my target and I can rest easy. And it’s only 4 a.m.! I’ve done well, haven’t I?’

The writer’s bobblehead mascot nods frantically in agreement as she taps out a manic rhythm on the desk with her fingers. Continue reading “Missed Targets | Flash Fiction”

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi | Book Review

Children of Blood and Bone is probably the best YA fantasy novel I’ve ever read. Big statement, but it’s true. I loved it. Continue reading “Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi | Book Review”

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.

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Some Lie and Some Die, Ruth Rendell | Book Review

Warning: I have a bit of a ramble here. If you want to get straight to the review, click here.

I acquired Some Lie and Some Die late last year when I helped my Mum do a mega clear-out in readiness for her to move house. She was saying goodbye to the family home she’d lived in for almost 20 years, so you can imagine there was a fair bit of clutter that had been accumulated, and a great deal of that clutter was books. Glorious books. Continue reading “Some Lie and Some Die, Ruth Rendell | Book Review”

Deadeye Dick, Kurt Vonnegut | Book Review

I love a bit of Vonnegut, but I started reading Deadeye Dick back in 2012 and barely got a quarter of the way through it. I got bored, despite enjoying his trademark one-liners and deliciously scathing tone.

This time around I finished the whole thing in just a couple of days, but those first few chapters were still a bit of a slog. Continue reading “Deadeye Dick, Kurt Vonnegut | Book Review”

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”