Book Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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This is one of those books that was always destined to succeed. The publishing company wouldn’t have allowed anything else. Most writers hide themselves, plugging away solitarily, swallowing the loneliness until finally a book is produced. And then a select few people assist in polishing the manuscript before it is finally accepted or rejected. There are over one hundred people listed in the acknowledgements at the end of the book. Ergo, this is one of those books that was always destined to succeed. Whether the readers liked it or not. Thankfully, it does have some merits. But maybe not as many as we would have preferred. Continue reading

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Naming Your Evil Fictional Corporation

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If there’s anything that capitalism has taught us, it’s that all companies are evil. They don’t start out that way, they don’t intend to be evil but somewhere along the corporate path they take, they all seem to end up not very nice. They pollute, they steal (from their workers, from their customers, from their competitors, from taxpayers and many, many others), they manipulate, they plan obsolescence, they cover up management misconduct, they are just generally bad.

Regardless of all that, there comes a time in every writer’s career when one of these evil corporations is exactly what a story needs. You can use the Jennifer Government (brilliant, brilliant book) method in which Max Barry uses actual big name corporations to skewer the path of consumerism that we’re on but his publisher was required to include a long-winded disclaimer that the references to real companies were “used simply to illustrate the increasingly important role played by large corporations in the future and not to denigrate them in any way. However, some people (whom we shall call ‘lawyers’) get very uptight when you describe large corporations masterminding murders. So let’s be clear: this is a work of fiction set in the future.” So maybe the way forward is to come up with a fictional corporation of your own. Continue reading

The Things Editors Look for That Writers Have Never Heard of

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I love to edit. I love knowing the parts of speech. Nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, clauses, phrases, conjunctions, prepositions, gerunds, subjunctives, infinitives, participles… Have I lost you yet? I wouldn’t be surprised. You have to be a particular kind of person to appreciate these things.

Editors are these particular kinds of people. While some of them are instinctive editors and know from experience how words should appear sequentially and the order that gives them their intended meaning, others are trained editors who also know the names of all the mistakes. Here are a few things editors look for that most writers will never have heard of before. Continue reading

The Completely Different Viewpoints of Men and Women on Domestic Violence

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At the end of October 2018, I went to the monthly meeting of my local branch of the political party I’m a member of. I’m not hugely political, mostly because talking about politics is a good way to lose all your friends when you realise they think in a fundamentally different way to you. If you think joining a political party and making friends with the other members resolves this problem, then you’re wrong. I’ve yet to meet a single person who thinks exactly the way I do. Continue reading

Project October 2018: Week Four

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Day 22: 2,174
Day 23: 0
Day 24: 0
Day 25: 0
Day 26: 0
Day 27: 0
Day 28: 0
Day 29: 0
Day 30: 254
Day 31: 0
Total: 17,021

Day 22, another Sunday, another of those one day of the week days that I have to myself. It took a little while to get into the writing. I started one blog post but it hadn’t had enough time rolling around in my brain. I wrote two other blog posts instead. I went online, added and scheduled all the blog posts I’d been writing onto my blog and then wiped clean my whiteboard, which was full of all the blog posts that would be appearing in the second half of 2018, the things I’ve been writing during this Project October. I find it very motivating to have a whiteboard full of dates showing when blog posts still need to be written for. So now it shows the first half of 2019 just waiting to be scheduled. I didn’t write as much as I would have liked to but sometimes you just can’t avoid having to do other stuff. Continue reading

Project October 2018: Week Three

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Day 15: 0
Day 16: 1,412
Day 17: 0
Day 18: 0
Day 19: 184
Day 20: 0
Day 21: 0
Total: 14,593

Day 15 was a Sunday, traditionally a good writing day, except it was also football day, so I headed to my grandfather’s and watched the game with him. I had good intentions of coming home early and writing into the night but it just didn’t happen. I’ve never done a Project October of blog posts before and I usually have longer to come up with ideas and let them roll around in my mind. Because I’ve written thirteen pieces, I’ve steamrollered through the ideas I’ve had and I feel like I’m down to the dregs. I need some more ideas. Continue reading