Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Shortlist and Other News!

I don’t usually enter competitions, but in the excitement of publishing my first novel, I decided to have a go. I was sent details of a competition by UK Creative Arts for an unpublished or self-published novel, so I sent it in.

UK Creative Arts logo

I had an email a couple of days ago telling me I was on the shortlist. Wow! Final results will be in September, so I have a long wait.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Jules Verne (History of Science Fiction)

Two weeks ago I wrote about one of the most famous books in the history of science fiction, Mary Sheeley’s Frankenstein. This week we come to one of the most famous authors – Jules Verne.


Wednesday, 22 June 2016

World Building (Adept)

I’m blogging each week about the process of writing the second novel in my Flight of the Kestrel series, Adept.

I put the first chapter in to the Feedback Group of my Writers Circle, and one of my friends pointed out that my mind was already in the world of the Kestrel, and I expected my readers to be there too. There was so much that needed to be explained.

World building is important in any novel, even one set in the present.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

The Mummy!

Jane Wells Webb Loudon (1807-1858) was an English author who wrote before the term ‘science fiction’ was invented. She was classified as Gothic, fantasy or horror. Her father lost his fortune and died penniless when she was only 17, and she decided to raise some money by publishing a novel she had written.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Make Your Writing Real (Adept)

I’m blogging at the moment about working to develop my second novel Adept. One of the things I tend to leave out in a hurried first draft is description.
I went to see the film Allegiant recently, the third film in the Divergent series. I had just finished reading the second book and started the third, and was eager to see how the film would differ from the book (don’t worry, no spoilers!).

Monday, 13 June 2016

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

When looking at the history of science fiction, probably the most famous work is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, published in 1818. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was only 18 when she wrote it, and it was published anonymously when she was 20. Her name only appeared on the second edition.


Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Lazy Writing (Adept)

Map & compass
I don’t know about you, but initially when I’m writing my mind is full of the main points of the story, which I want to get down as quickly as possible. When I wrote Adept, I just had the basic outline, with none of the finer details worked out. Because I wrote it for NaNoWriMo, I just jumped straight in. Quite often, I didn’t stop to work out what happened in between the main events, or how the characters got from one incident to another.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

The Year 2440 (History of Science Fiction)


Louis-Sébastien Mercier (6 June 1740 – 25 April 1814) was a French dramatist and writer. Of humble origins but with a good education, he was prolific. He made detailed observations on life around him and is a key reference for life in Paris just before the French Revolution.


One of his most popular books was L'An 2440, rêve s'il en fut jamais (literally, The Year 2440: A Dream If Ever There Was One). It was published in 1770 and rapidly went through 25 editions. It tells of a man who went to sleep and woke up in the Paris of the future.

The man notes anything in this Paris that takes his fancy, commenting on everything from clothing to hospitals. Mercier details how he thinks a better life would work out, reorganising the public justice system, for example. There are also a lot of things that he decided would not make it to 2440: monks, priests, prostitutes, beggars, dancing masters, pastry chefs, standing armies, slavery, arbitrary arrest, taxes, guilds, foreign trade, coffee, tea or tobacco. He also decided that all useless and immoral previously-written literature has been destroyed.

Robert Darnton, an American historian who specialises in 18th century France, writes that "despite its self-proclaimed character of fantasy...L'An 2440 demanded to be read as a serious guidebook to the future. It offered an astonishing new perspective: the future as a fait accompli and the present as a distant past. Who could resist the temptation to participate in such a thought experiment? And once engaged in it, who could fail to see that it exposed the rottenness of the society before his eyes, the Paris of the eighteenth century?"

Get A Brief History of Science Fiction free here!

Wednesday, 1 June 2016


In the IT world, metadata is information about the data, such as when it was created, updated, deleted, who by, how big the file is, and so on. In writing, especially fiction, meta-documents are documents about the novel, rather than the novel itself.

I talked last week about outlining, and the outline is a meta-document, but unlike most other meta-documents, you produce it before you start writing the novel. The other documents you produce during the writing process, to help you keep track of things.