Work in progress – The Frozen King

Time for a quick update. I've recently passed the halfway mark on the MS for a new novel. Working title is The Frozen King. The first half has already found its way on to the desk of a rather splendid editor, so I'm in the unusual position of ploughing through the second half while anxiously … Continue reading Work in progress – The Frozen King

Is creativity a black art?

'Where do you get your ideas?' It's the question every writer dreads. The truthful answer is usually, 'I don't know.' I prefer to take it one step further. You see, I don't want to know. I've often wondered if it's possible to teach creativity. The longer I live, the more convinced I am that it … Continue reading Is creativity a black art?

Ssh, it’s a plot!

Many writers sneer at plot. Others embrace it. Just as many don’t know the difference between plot and story and, when challenged, take themselves into a corner and mumble. The way I see it is this: Story is a sequence of events Plot is the structure behind that sequence of events It’s perfectly possible to … Continue reading Ssh, it’s a plot!

Magical patterns in stories

I write and read in pictures. For me, all books are illustrated. It’s the words – God love ‘em – that do the hard work but, in the end, what counts is what they help me to see. You might think I’m talking about visualisation. Reading a scene in a book and having it play … Continue reading Magical patterns in stories

Movie music on my mind

I blogged a while ago about how some writers have started publishing playlists: the music they listen to while they’re working on a particular project. You’re unlikely to see me do that, since I prefer to write in silence. Any noise other than the click of the keys or the scratch of the pen just … Continue reading Movie music on my mind

Using words like flints

Writing’s all about the words, right? Doesn’t matter if they’re printed, pixellated, spoken or whatever – it’s the words that tell the story. They’re the bricks in the wall, the notes on the stave, the beans in the coffee. But I think they’re more than just the component parts of a sentence. Words are like … Continue reading Using words like flints

>Sweaty writing

>Over on Aliette de Bodard's blog, Nancy Fulda's posted a nice article comparing writing to sculpture. She takes as her starting point Michelangelo's famous line: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” She goes on to talk about how, through writing and editing, it's the writer's job to … Continue reading >Sweaty writing

>Don’t trust the blurb

>Funny how the blurb doesn't always match the book, isn't it. A couple of posts back I mentioned my recent novel Close Enemies, which is all about diplomatic action in the fictional African country of Rezengiland. Except it isn't. Well it is, but ...Okay, when I wrote the book, the place really was called Rezengiland. … Continue reading >Don’t trust the blurb

>Ghostly puppeteer

>Quick status report on the current novel-in-progress. I'm currently at a smidge over 33,000 words, which means I'm running a little behind schedule again.The thing is, even though I'm working from a detailed outline (this is a ghost-writing project, so I'm putting the flesh on the bones of a plot created by others) I occasionally … Continue reading >Ghostly puppeteer

>I’ll name that suit in one

>Hop over to the Guardian Books Blog for Imogen Russell Williams's thoughts on character names in SF and fantasy fiction. Seems like Imogen agrees with my thoughts here ie if you're going to invent names, don't get silly. And avoid apostrophes at all costs.Particularly refreshing then to pick up Joe Haldeman's The Forever War (one … Continue reading >I’ll name that suit in one