Steampunk: Artifical Limbs

Apologies another Steampunk post has been so long in coming! The story I'm currently working on is a sci-fi so, frankly, my head has been filled with space rather than steam. But here's the next Steampunk installment. If you want to learn about the origins of Steampunk, or the where and when, click on the … Continue reading Steampunk: Artifical Limbs

Review: Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie

Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie is currently playing at the London County Hall near Waterloo station. I managed to get a seat high in the gallery and thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Leonard Vole, a young, good-looking and mild-mannered man is arrested for the murder of Emily French, a wealthy older woman. Already, you … Continue reading Review: Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie

How to balance Science and Fiction?

To every math or science teacher whoever caught me trying stories when I was supposed to be learning; please rest assured, I’m regretting it now. Every time I ever muttered the well-worn phrase I’m never going to need to know this, I’m kicking myself. The fact is, I need a big book which tells you … Continue reading How to balance Science and Fiction?

Top 10# Female Heroes of Television

Spoilers ahead for several series so beware! River Song in Doctor Who (played by Alex Kingston) There are so many amazing female characters in Doctor Who that it was a difficult choice, but River Song is a force of nature. As well as being a foil for the Doctor, an almost impossible feat as the man … Continue reading Top 10# Female Heroes of Television

Never underestimate… the Watsons

I recently finished reading The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah. If you don't know, this is Sophie Hannah taking on the continuation novels of Agatha Christie's beloved Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. Approved by the Christe Estate and by a very talent crime novelist who I had the chance to meet at Swanwick Summer Writing School, it … Continue reading Never underestimate… the Watsons

Review: Terry Pratchett Hisworld at the Salisbury Museum

A few weekends ago, I went to the Terry Pratchett Hisworld exhibition at the Salisbury Museum. I've been trying to write this post for a while since then, but it's been a difficult one. You might have seen it pop up in your feed before, with nothing written! ] The Salisbury Museum is, I imagine, usually a rather … Continue reading Review: Terry Pratchett Hisworld at the Salisbury Museum

Why do we write? Who can we blame?

I was sitting at my desk at around ten o’clock at night, knowing that I wouldn’t go to bed until I’d finished the next chapter, so hello two o’clock in the morning and I suddenly realized; writing is a terrible hobby. I could be rock climbing or surfing, but oh no. No sane person would … Continue reading Why do we write? Who can we blame?

A Spectral Revue

A Spectral Revue There is nothing more tragic than the sight of a long-abandoned theatre. The old Acheron Theatre in the centre of the thriving city was due to be pulled down at the end of the month due to its extensive structural damage and health risks. But as David set the tripod legs down … Continue reading A Spectral Revue

The worst ways to help a writer

Today, I'm going to very carefully try and explain how friends and family can help their tortured writers. I say carefully because I hope not to offend any well-meaning soul who has fallen into one of these traps! No, it really isn't. The writer has just spilled out their soul about their amazing idea. The … Continue reading The worst ways to help a writer

Review: The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia MacGregor

As I am ever behind the times, this is a book I've wanted to read since it came out in 2016. Finally! The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells written by Virginia MacGregor revolves around a family and the turmoil that is kicked up when the titular character, mother Norah, returns after six years of absence. Father … Continue reading Review: The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia MacGregor

Prologues: Love ’em or Hate ’em

What is past is prologue. The Tempest, William Shakespeare Everyone seems to have a strong opinion on prologues. Do a quick search online and you'll find plenty of articles advising you to ditch the prologue. As I've been frequently told, editors don't like them. They’re seen as the equivalent of clearing your throat before getting … Continue reading Prologues: Love ’em or Hate ’em

Top 10# Female Heroes of Movies

Spoilers ahead for several movies so beware! Ellen Ripley from the Alien movies (by Sigourney Weaver) Ellen Ripley is probably one of my favourite characters of all times and is one of the first true kickass heroines. It's perhaps unfortunate that the reason for this is Ripley was originally written as a man. But I think … Continue reading Top 10# Female Heroes of Movies

You should be in a Writing Group

I've been part of the writer group London Writers' Cafe for almost two years now and I find it completely invaluable to my writing life. But I know writing groups are often criticised. There’s an infamous Buzzfeed article which always has me in stitches If Jane Austen Got Feedback From Some Guy In A Writing … Continue reading You should be in a Writing Group

Your most valuable tool: But why?

What's the most valuable tool you have as a writer? That's right, it's the 'Write your way to Success' app available on iPhone and Android for the reasonable price of £19.99. Get this app and you too could be the next Stephen King in four to six months. That's right, it's the 'Write your way … Continue reading Your most valuable tool: But why?

Rules are fun! Rules help CONTROL the fun.

How many articles or books listing ‘writing rules’ have you read? How many have you read saying that you should break them? Many of you may recognise the title of this post if you’re ever watched, Friends. Rules are fun! Rules help control the fun. The Guardian has an entire page of writing rules from authors like … Continue reading Rules are fun! Rules help CONTROL the fun.

First draft hangover. What have we learnt?

After four years mulling and a year writing, I have now finished the first draft of my steampunk novel. Whew! I have mixed feelings on it all. It most certainly isn't a masterpiece. There are plot holes, too much telling than showing and a lack of cohesiveness which makes it feel more like a string … Continue reading First draft hangover. What have we learnt?

Are your characters victims or dodgers of karmic justice?

Fiction is written by us. And what we like to see, what we cling to, is the sense that the universe will eventually fix everything. Whether that’s a god, fate or narrative causality, bad people get their comeuppance and good people get rewarded. And when we see terrible characters undergo terrible deaths, it’s okay, even … Continue reading Are your characters victims or dodgers of karmic justice?

The Cloak and Dagger Tour Review

I've got a slightly different kind of review for you all today. Last week, my writing group the London Writers' Cafe arranged for us to all go on The Cloak and Dagger Tour. Now, I've always considered myself a history nut. With my degree in the Classics, my amateur research into the nineteenth century and my general fascination … Continue reading The Cloak and Dagger Tour Review

My week at Swanwick: The Writers’ Summer School

I'm back! Full of inspiration and raring to write. Last week, I was at the Swanwick Writers' Summer School and I had the most amazing time. As a writer, it will probably stand one of the most important weeks in my writing career. The realizations I came to, the people I met and the courage I gathered … Continue reading My week at Swanwick: The Writers’ Summer School

Top 10# Female Heroes of Literature

Elizabeth Bennet by Jane Austen (as depicted here by Jennifer Ehle) One of my favourite heroines. Elizabeth Bennet is a character who has echoed down the ages purely because of how human she is. She's not at all perfect, laden with pride (and prejudice, surprisingly...), refuses to be stereotyped or dedicated to, but remains a woman … Continue reading Top 10# Female Heroes of Literature

I can’t stop buying books. Is there a book for that?

Let me explain to you my relationship with books. I want books. All the books. I haven't got time to read them, but I want them. I'm going to buy them and worry about reading them later. They're wonderful, they make me smile. I want to be surrounded by books I don't have time to … Continue reading I can’t stop buying books. Is there a book for that?

Review: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (Novel)

Ever late to the party, this is one of the classics which I haven't read before. The Book Club I go to decided on My Cousin Rachel this month, partly due to the film now being in cinemas. I'm one of those people who hate seeing a movie based on a book without having read the … Continue reading Review: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (Novel)

The Bechdel–Wallace test and how it can help us

I briefly spoke about the Bechdel–Wallace test in my post about complex and powerful female characters, which you can read here. But as it's such an interesting idea, I wanted to talk about it in depth. The Bechdel–Wallace test was created by the American cartoonist Alison Bechdel. It first appeared in 1985 in her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For.  Basically … Continue reading The Bechdel–Wallace test and how it can help us

Without hesitation, repetition or deviation

We've all been there. We see a competition for a short story and we're suddenly inspired by the topic. Clearly, cognitive dissonance has already set in, because on some level we know we're going to hate it by the time we've written it. But at the first rush of feeling, ideas like fireworks are lighting your … Continue reading Without hesitation, repetition or deviation

Thanks, Isaac Asimov, but what robots need is Shakespeare

I don't often find something which speaks to my two loves, sci-fi and Shakespeare, but last week the Guardian kindly obliged with their article We need robots to have morals. Could Shakespeare and Austen help? written by John Mullan. It's a great article, you should give it a read. Briefly, scientists are starting to think about how artificial … Continue reading Thanks, Isaac Asimov, but what robots need is Shakespeare

John Finnemore, the spinner of tales

John Finnemore is one of the best comedy writers currently working. He mostly writes for radio and created Cabin Pressure, John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, and Double Acts. His true talent is one all good writers should aspire to; he invites you to listen to his story, holds your attention for as long as he's asked … Continue reading John Finnemore, the spinner of tales

STRONG female characters? How about we just write better.

This is a post I'd been working on for about two weeks before the new Doctor was announced, which I wrote about last week. I bumped up this post today as I think it ties in well about our changing view of female characters. Strong female characters, or the lack thereof, has been a hot … Continue reading STRONG female characters? How about we just write better.

Cast off your crutches

I'd be the first to say I'm a naturally apologetic person. I tend to apologise that I'm so apologetic. I'm the person who apologises when someone steps on my foot on the tube. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but I've come to realise that it's killing my writing. Everything I wrote … Continue reading Cast off your crutches