Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Book Finished!

I talked about NaNoWriMo at the beginning of the month and what my plans were. National Novel Writing Month is an online challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.

In the past I have written a new novel, but this time I added to a novel I had already started. Well, it's the end of November and I've finished, but not won the challenge. Not won, because I only wrote 37,398 words. Finished, because I finished the story.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Brian Aldiss (History of Science Fiction)

Brian Wilson Aldiss, (born 18 August 1925 and still living) is an English writer and anthologies editor, best known for science fiction novels and short stories. Greatly influenced by science fiction pioneer H G Wells, Aldiss is a vice-president of the international H G Wells Society. He is also (with the late Harry Harrison) co-president of the Birmingham Science Fiction Group.

Brian Aldiss

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Strategic Planning for Writers

C S Lakin is a novelist, copywriter and writing coach with a website called Live, Write, Thrive full of brilliant advice. If you follow the link to her website a popup will invite you to join her mailing list, and offer you an ebook, Strategic Planning for Writers, as a reward for joining. Or you can find it in the sidebar. I recommend the site, and it’s worth joining, not just to get the book, but I want to tell you about the book.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Lester del Ray (History of Science Fiction)

Lester del Rey (June 2, 1915 – May 10, 1993) was an American science fiction author and editor. He was the author of many books in the juvenile Winston Science Fiction series, and the editor at Del Rey Books, the fantasy and science fiction imprint of Ballantine Books, along with his fourth wife Judy-Lynn del Rey.
Judy-Lynn & Lester del Rey

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

How to Write Your Non Fiction Book

Here’s some good advice from Writing Magazine December 2009, with some comments from me for self publishers:

Identify a topic and audience
‘If you know your subject well and you are passionate about it, this will shine through your work and proposal.’
‘Each book needs a clear target audience and it’s important to be able to quantify the size of that audience to your target publisher.’

[You also need to be clear about this for yourself, even if you’re going to self publish]

Saturday, 12 November 2016

The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Lost World is a novel released in 1912 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (who I wrote about last week) concerning an expedition to a plateau in the Amazon basin of South America where prehistoric animals still survive. It was serialised in the popular Strand Magazine April–November 1912. The character of Professor Challenger was introduced in this book. The novel also describes a war between indigenous people and a vicious tribe of ape-like creatures.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Edward Malone, a reporter for the Daily Gazette, asks his news editor, McArdle, for a dangerous and adventurous mission in order to impress the woman he loves, Gladys Hungerton. He is sent to interview the cantankerous Professor Challenger, who has become notorious for claims made about his recent expedition to South America.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Instantly Improve Your Novel

I don’t know where I got this from, but it’s extremely useful, so I thought it would be good to share.

Replace words that tell with words that show.
Remove interpretation, let action speak for itself.
Replace passive verb constructions with active.
Identify, then remove or translate clich├ęs.
Get specific. Replace general, informational language with rich narrative summary full of specific and meaningful images.

Character Introductions
Show them in action
Show them in conflict
Show them using key skills, attitudes, hobbies etc
Use vivid imagery
Show other characters’ reactions
Make use of setting
Drop some hints about backstory

To sum up: Craft your character introductions to tell us what’s most important about that person.

Ann Marie Thomas is the author of three medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Follow her at

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Arthur Conan Doyle, Science Fiction Writer

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was an Irish-Scottish writer and physician, famous for creating the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes and revolutionising the field of crime fiction. But he is also known for writing the fictional adventures of a second character he invented, Professor Challenger, who journeyed to the famous Lost World.
Arthur Conan Doyle
He was a prolific writer whose other works include fantasy and science fiction stories, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction and historical novels.

Conan was in fact only his middle name, and most official references call him Arthur Doyle. He added the Conan as a kind of compound surname shortly after he left high school.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

NaNoWriMo Scheming

November is NaNoWriMo month: National Novel Writing Month. A story needs to be at least 50,000 words long to be called a novel. Most novels are over 70,000 words. NaNoWriMo is a challenge to write 50,000 words in one month.

I have entered NaNoWriMo several times in the past, but only made the 50,000 words once. Not because I couldn’t write an average of 1,667 words a day, but because I ran out of plot! This has taught me that my plots are not complex enough, my characters not deep enough and my descriptions not detailed enough.