Misc.

Newsletter #1

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Here’s the contents of the first newsletter I sent out to my first couple of subscribers :) If you’d like some of this in your inbox occasionally, you can sign up via the link above! The future is quieter.

Writing and publishing

Hiding the ventriloquist*

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“My name’s Gant and I’m sorry for my poor writing.” So begins chapter one of Snakewood. As I planned out the book I fretted a great deal over how to immerse readers in the lands, cities and lives of the world of Sarun, in which the story is set. I recalled how vividly I daydreamed […]

Writing and publishing

I used to stand in bookshops pt 2

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I was gearing up for March 17th, when I’d finally see my book sit quietly on a shelf alongside hundreds of others, as though it was the most ordinary thing; just a book, on a shelf. I was preparing myself to be, well, a bit underwhelmed? The anticipation couldn’t possibly deliver a satisfying payoff, so […]

Writing and publishing

They followed their mercenary calling…*

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leadinglightdesign.com

The poem ‘Epitaph On An Army Of Mercenaries’ by AE Housman** is one of my favourites, and graces Snakewood as its foreword. It was an influence on the novel not so much because it happened to be about mercenaries, but because I had challenged myself to tell a story about them such that a reader […]

Writing and publishing

How Sláine and a handful of mushrooms defined the magic of Snakewood*

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Slaine has a warp spasm

My debut fantasy novel Snakewood, due out in March, is the realization of a world I first dreamed up as a teenage boy. I’d like to introduce you to the way magic works in that world – no lightshows and fireworks, just thick bad-tasting gloop known as ‘fightbrew’ that makes you superhuman!

Writing and publishing

I used to stand in bookshops…

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Snakewood

…as a teenager, then a man in my twenties and thirties and I used to look at the science fiction and fantasy novels and believe I, also, was a writer, when I wasn’t.

Writing and publishing

The Reader’s Gift

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reading books

As someone learning the craft of writing, and leaving it rather late to do so, I need to read widely, and read writing of good quality so that I may learn from it.  It was inevitable I would become a neurotic reader. Anyone with a passion for books has or will come to the realisation […]

Writing and publishing

In the land of the blind, could the literary agent be king?

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literary agent self publishing

Writers have a problem.  It’s harder than it ever was to get published.  It’s also easier than it ever was to get published.

Writing and publishing

Making my own words work

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Snakewood

I talked in my last blog-post about the pleasure I get from hard-working prose.  Good writing comes from the choices you make with the words you commit to the page.  In this blog-post I’m going to look at two scenes from my book Snakewood and explain what I was trying to achieve with them.  I […]

Reading

The deliciousness of hard-working prose

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kathleen jamie sightlines

What would you say constitutes great writing?  For a practising writer like me, good writing isn’t just about what is enjoyable to read, but also about the choices a writer makes when they select words to convey their message. I thought I’d try to articulate what great writing looks like to me, using an author […]

Writing and publishing

Show don’t tell

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chuck palahniuk

I spend some time on an internet writing forum.  There have been a few forum threads that have exploded over the titular writing maxim.  One post in particular is based on some advice Chuck Palahniuk had written somewhere: ‘you may not use “thought” verbs.  These include:  Thinks, Knows, Understands, Realizes, Believes, Wants, Remembers, Imagines, Desires’ […]

Writing and publishing

Worldbuilding part 2: It’s a kind of magic

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worldbuilding

This blog post gives an overview of my very physical take on ‘magic’ in the world of Snakewood. Now, inevitably, with a fantasy novel, you’re likely to have some sort of ‘magic’, something to make it fantastic in the purest sense. For Snakewood, perhaps because of my conceptual struggle, as a materialist, for magic, I […]

Writing and publishing

Worldbuilding part 1 – how prevailing winds shape history’s winners and losers

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worldbuilding

How to create a convincing fantasy world. That’s the question I’m sure all writers in the genre wrestle with at the outset.  You can get lost in it.  All such writers I’ve read on the forums I frequent vary in how deeply they imagine the setting for their story, prior to banging out the chapters. […]

Writing and publishing

Do readers care about grammar?

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grammar

“Surely if incredibly high sales of authors who don’t close edit their books teaches us one thing, it’s that in some parts of some genres editing is less important to readers than other factors…..the point about self-publishing is that every type of reader can find books that are for them so long as we stop […]

Writing and publishing

The final full stop.

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Snakewood fantasy

The final sentence of Snakewood approached, already in my head, and I’m looking at the words unfold like I’m on a train thundering off the rails and over the cliff.