Fail better: Improving creative writing skills

Notes on novel writing, style and story structure

The second person point of view – is it really a person?

What is this mysterious ‘second person’ point of view? Right, you’ve been in a few classes – the usual thing you find when going through a quick review of “person” is to skip quickly over second person – a brief… Continue Reading →

#LIVBAR 7 May 2019 – sport as hero’s journey for Liverpool FC.

Given the final was to be against Ajax or Hotspurs, there was already mythical heroism surrounding this semi-final in the Champions’ League. As ever, the emotions the game pulled out of the faithful were what we seek in the best… Continue Reading →

Storygrid and Shawn Coyne’s motivational words for writers

Shawn Coyne and Tim Grahl of the Storygrid universe have been doing a more useful job than pretty much anyone else in the world for the past three years. The job? Teaching us that story is vital, is a learnable… Continue Reading →

How to get started on a first novel. Five things I wish I’d known earlier.

There’s bags of advice out there, of course. Hopefully whatever you’ve found so far has been fabulously helpful and you’re ready to get going. As someone who’s started more novels than they’ve finished and finished more novels than they’ve published… Continue Reading →

Almost Steven Gerrard – Competition winning short story

Winner of 2012 Creative Writing Olympiad, Sussex  The secrets of the adult world challenge a young boy’s belief in his sporting hero. Almost Steven Gerrard Steven Gerrard started coming to our house the day we were expecting a bloke to… Continue Reading →

Lost Christmas – Writing a Christmas Story

Everyone should have a go at the Christmas genre. Needs to be short – readable on Christmas Eve.  Usually includes a character who doubts the power and potential of Christmas. Some supernatural intervention. Someone who’s loveless or troubled. Babies or… Continue Reading →

How to get a novel published – if that’s what you really want…

Take heart. Take a big slice of heart. It’s actually easy to get published. It’s obviously a lot less easy to publish exactly what you want to write, or exactly what you’ve managed to write, and it’s pretty damned hard… Continue Reading →

Ronnie O’Sullivan is a published novelist. Why do we write fiction, and what of our self (and not-self) remains?

I’m not sure I’ll read Ronnie O’Sullivan’s novel. I might. I didn’t read his autobiography, but I have an interest in snooker and in the plight of those who’ve reached enviable levels of excellence and struggled to cope. I may… Continue Reading →

Western Road Brighton – a city’s lost decade and a council’s public shame

What happened to Western Road? The housing in central Brighton is some of the country’s most expensive outside desirable London; it’s a central thoroughfare between major parts of one of the best-known cities in England; it has architecture to be proud… Continue Reading →

When to use which and that – and not give in to the Microsoft bullying.

Bloody hell, it’s happened again.  I’ve got a perfectly sound use of which in a defining relative clause and someone’s objected to it. A while back I had ten in a draft and a German colleague went through changing them… Continue Reading →

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