How Many Different Ways Are There to Write About the Same Thing?

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As the end of the year approached, I sat down to write another Christmas-themed blog post. I’ve had this blog for nearly four years now and this would be my fifth Christmas-themed blog post (because I did two in 2015 when everything to do with writing this blog was all so new and I had so much to say). I sat down and tried to write… but nothing happened. I decided I just needed to give it a little more thinking time.

I sat down a few weeks later and tried again. Still nothing. Because apart from the fact that I wanted it to be about Christmas and writing, I had no idea what I was going to write about. Continue reading

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When Writers Become the News

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What’s so hard about writing? All you need is a working knowledge of the language you want to write in, a computer (or a typewriter if you’re nostalgic or a pen and paper if you’re old-fashioned) and a little bit of time. Or maybe a lot of time. However long it takes, eventually the words will come. And you’ll be left with a piece of writing. You’ll be proud (and you should be).

Okay, yes, it can get harder after that. Editing, publishing, marketing, readers – there will always be someone who doesn’t react quite the way you had hoped they would to what you’ve written. Of course, that’s nothing to those who think the appropriate reaction to words on a page that they don’t agree with or don’t like is to pick up a gun and track down their author. Continue reading

A Little Too Close to Home: When Fantasy Becomes Reality

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“Spare us all word of the weapons, their force and range,
The long numbers that rocket the mind.”
From “Advice to a Prophet” by Richard Wilbur

I mostly follow other writers on Twitter, people I’ve never met or generally even heard of but who are the most supportive community you could ever hope to be a part of. There are also a few people I follow that I do actually know.

One of them, a friend and former non-writing colleague who is obsessed with things like renewable energy, electric cars and advances in technology, recently tweeted a link to a Gizmodo article with the headline “China claims to have a real-deal laser gun that inflicts ‘instant carbonisation’ of human skin”. His accompanying comment was, “Sounds too good to be true. The ability to put such an effective laser in such a small form and to be able to fire it, at least multiple times, have to be questioned until we see it.” A picture of the laser assault rifle, which looks a lot like those brick mobile phones from the 1980s except with a scope attached, was also included.

I’d seen a less descriptive headline and the same image on another website and scrolled past it earlier that same week. But the additional information in my friend’s tweet piqued my interest. I responded to him, “This sounds a lot like the storyline of a certain debut novel of mine…” He replied, “Ha ha yes.” Continue reading

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