Telling Stories

There is a misrepresentation of writers and poets, that we sit down at our laptops, crack them open, click on a blank document and the stories just pour onto the page. Anyone who approaches the blank page with a blank mind will end up with a blank page. Sure, it will have some weird little…

Can You Tell Me A Story?

There is a problem, I can teach you the nuts and bolts of creative writing, I can teach you the importance of voice, creating characters, conflict and tension but I don’t think I can teach you how to tell a story. If you can’t lie convincingly or day dream, the likely chance of you making…

How New Wave Came to Me Via Tripods

They invaded my world when I was nine. I’d seen the 1953 version of The War of the Worlds back to back with It Came for Beneath the Sea. I was, and still am, a big Ray Harryhausen fan. I grew up on Sinbad and Ray introduced me to Raquel Welsh and dinosaurs, though at the age…

Technology vs The Word

I am sat here listening to early Billy Bragg EPs (yes, that’s vinyl) and pondering over my practice as a writer. I have had some growing concerns over technology during the last twelve months. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have been at the forefront of a technological revolution as a writer, I embraced the…

The Burning House

Each generation blames the last. It’s part of the scorched suburbia plan. It has nothing to do with hipsters or emos, goths, grunge kids, new romantics, punks, hippies, teddy boys and beatniks. That is only one part of its delivery into your home, in your psyche, into the way you walk, talk and think. In…

The Death of the eBook

Today I have had to call time on Goggle. The book publisher which grew out of the ashes of Incwriters started initially in 2010 as online poetry readings before graduating into eBooks. Back then we were full of hope but a insidious thing has occurred with eBooks, something that was meant to be a revolution…

Being asked the obvious….

A few weeks before Hunter S. Thompson died, I interviewed him. A long distance overseas call is often difficult, you can’t see them, they can’t gauge your body language, this was even more so with Hunter as he hated every question my editor wanted me to ask him. They were the usual questions, all in…

Getting Feedback: Do NOT Underestimate It

I recently had to write about feedback for some writing students. It is something that we seem afraid of, but I have never met a poet or writer who does it for a living without an opinion. I have seen adults come to violence over Byron. Once I saw two female poets literally wrestling over…

Losing The Plot

I have forgiven Dr Who over the years. I met Tom Baker as a child and between jelly babies and mind numbing fear thrown in with one half dressed companion, I stuck with him and the Doctors who followed. I stayed with him to his television end, I wept after McCoy bowed out and wept…

The Dis-interesting Art of Criticism

Social media has given us great things, it has brought a wide world of poets, writers, editors and publishers together but for some poets, some writers and few editors and publishers it has released the inner troll. We often forget, neglect or just plain ignore the fact that there is someone alive behind your directed…

What it means to be…

…a hollow cross – definition: (1) A martyr to the cause of literature, (2) An imbecile, and; (3) Someone who is incapable of living in the moment and seeks to create false art.  We all have baggage, that is life but to create baggage in the name of literature only seeks to make the writer…

In Defence of Festivals

For those of you who use social media and read the press you will have seen a rise of criticism against some of the bigger festivals, including Hay. Accusations of commercialism, poor pay or no pay for middle rung writers – those authors readers may know but who have yet to make a massive media…