Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Why I’m Not Looking For a Publisher

Why I'm not looking for a publisherWhen you start out, it’s every writer’s dream to have your novel accepted by a publisher.

Then you learn that some publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts, so instead you dream of getting an agent. But really, the dream is the same – you want somebody to say your writing is good enough to publish.

For years, struggling writers have shopped their manuscripts around from one place to another, collecting rejection slips and despair. Then came ebooks.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Frank Herbert's Dune Saga

Frank Patrick Herbert, Jr. (October 8, 1920 – February 11, 1986) was an American science fiction writer best known for the novel Dune and its five sequels. Though he became famous for science fiction, he was also a newspaper journalist, photographer, short story writer, book reviewer, ecological consultant and lecturer.

Dune is one of my favourite science fiction books, and though I have read most of the later books, the one that started it all is still the best in my opinion.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

11 Things I Learned in Malta About Writing–Roundup

A few years ago my husband Michael and I went on holiday to Malta. Thanks to British rule before they became independent, much is like home. The main language is English and they drive on the left. But, in more than distance travelled, it's a whole different world.

I saw many things that could help me with my writing. As I wrote them out I realised I could say a lot more, so I expanded each point into a post of its own, which I have been posting over recent weeks. Here is a summary, and you will find the full blog post linked to each point.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

The New Wave of Science Fiction

We’ve spent time looking at the Golden Age of science fiction, but it couldn’t last. Many young writers entering the field came to feel, either instantly, like Thomas M Disch, or after some years' slogging away at conventional commercial science fiction, like Harlan Ellison and Robert Silverberg, that genre science fiction had become a straitjacket; though widely supposed to emphasize change and newness, science fiction had somehow become conservative.
As the 1960s arrived, in the minds of many, it was time for science fiction to 'grow up.' A New Wave of authors began to experiment with literary and artistic form, and to break away from the earlier 'pulp' science fiction as adolescent and poorly written. The magazine New Worlds, under Michael Moorcock, who became editor in 1964, was prominent in this new movement.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

11 Things I Learned in Malta about Writing-a Warning ‘It’ll Do’ isn’t Good Enough

On a 2014 holiday in Malta I saw many things that could help me with my writing. I have been sharing one each week. This is the last one, and it’s a warning:

‘It’ll do’ isn’t good enough

2014-09-18 17.32.56

When something needs fixing, the Maltese seem to have a very casual attitude to standards. The overhead electric cables strung from house to house gave an electrician friend a fit when he saw the mess, and we saw blocks of stone wedged into buildings as repairs.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Early Science Fiction Comic Strips and TV

In my history of science fiction series, we have reached the Golden Age. We’ve looked at books and films, but this is when science fiction arrived on television. Last week was all about Quatermass. This week I’m looking at scifi serials, many based on comic strips.

Buck Rogers

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

11 Things I Learned in Malta about Writing - 10 Relax!

On a 2014 holiday in Malta I saw many things that could help me with my writing. I will be sharing one each week. Here is point 10 I learned:

Write for you image

When you thank them or apologise, the Maltese say, “No problem!” Your writing shouldn’t be a problem. Remember – you write because you love it. Don’t lose sight of that, ever.

Saturday, 6 May 2017


In this history of science fiction series, we are still looking at the Golden Age – the 1940s and 50s. So much happened then, that it’s worth looking at from several angles. This week and next is about television. Science fiction began to appear on TV in Britain and America.

The Quatermass Experiment was shown on British TV in 1953 in a live broadcast, with Quatermass II in 1955 and Quatermass and the Pit following in 1958.They were all made into films by Hammer. They played on the fear of the unknown, but with a twist – the Martians came to Earth in the distant past and engineered mankind.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

11 Things I Learned in Malta about Writing-9 When Life Give you Cactus, Make Prickly Pear Jam

On a recent holiday in Malta I saw many things that could help me with my writing. I will be sharing one each week. Here is point 9 I learned:

When life gives you cactus, make prickly pear jam

2014-09-18 16.08.31There is an old saying, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’ This is the Maltese equivalent. Prickly pear cactus grows wild everywhere. The Maltese make jam and liqueur, as well as eating it. What can you do with your problems?

In your novel, there have to be problems for your hero to face. That’s what makes a story exciting. I wrote about this a few months ago, in Boost Your Creativity With Restrictions.

I wrote about the problem of finding time to write, in point 7 There’s Always A Way Up The Hill. I mentioned in there using non-writing time to mull over your next scene. If you’ve hit a problem with your plot, give it some time. Write something else, or don’t write at all for a few days and leave your brain to do what it does best – get creative.