As Useful as a Chocolate Teapot in a Tropical Leper Colony

I often consider why in draft writing we try to cling to everything as writers. Backstory goes in, exposition goes in, the kitchen sink goes in. I consider the exposition in John Carpenter’s The Fog, hence the reference to the leper colony. The lepers in that story become first the monsters and then the avenging…

Write or Become a Ghost

The most beautiful thing in the world is, of course, the world itself. – Wallace Stevens. What if that changes? Where then do we find the beauty? In a world where we out consume what should be consumed and in which we reproduce in a way that is unsustainable maybe James Lovelock is right. Maybe…

The Ghost of Fascism

There is the argument that we shouldn’t talk about right wing politics, but scum always rises and there are always awful things hidden under rocks. The danger with forcing fascism out is the danger of forcing it underground onto another layer of the web, hidden deep, running malevolent, waiting to rise. We saw that in…

Appreciating Scribbling

The problem with writing a novel or even short fiction is the ego we carry with us. Some of us just like to watch the world rather than imprison it on the page. The art of scribbling is often forgot in the craft of writing. Awhile back during house renovations I placed several of my…

A Mad Dog in a Coffee House

What type of writer are you? There are two distinct variations on the writer (this includes the poet too), the planner and the doer. A simple way to test this is to do the task, a mad dog in a coffee house. Ask a group of writers to imagine this scenario and write about it, that is all. You do not…

Crucible of Time (1983)

You can follow me here each Wednesday through the #clifimadness project which chronicles my research into climate change and how addressing it in fiction, the novel form, may be the answer to reaching a wider audience. I will chronicle my everyday ramblings on twitter and Facebook, please sign up for info there. Published in 1983,…

After The Dust Has Settled

So, let’s do a few checks: #100daysofwriting, done, #ayearofwriting, done, sanity, gone long ago, work produced, more than I have produced in several years of procrastination. I have written nine short stories and there’s one yet to complete, I average around 21,000 words a story when writing. Now, here’s for the Rachel Riley moment, 21,…

A Year of Writing: Days 351-360

We’re on the final homestretch, you can see it unfold day by day at my Facebook page. Day 351 of #ayearofwriting and my scribbling over the last few days has started to hone down to a single idea. There is something about the outsider that appeals to me. I consider myself to be an outsider, looking in,…

A Year of Writing: Days 271-280

Day 271 of #ayearofwriting and this is still my world. So much miasma. So little words. Day 272 of #ayearofwriting and I scribble and dribble. Day 273 of #ayearofwriting and my last week has revolved around a bed and a bathroom. Today, I felt I had the energy to pick up a book. Decided to revisit something that caught my imagination…

A Year of Writing: Days 161-170

Day 161 of #ayearofwriting and I come across the killings after Katrina and one gentleman called Roland J. Bourgeois Jr. and the murders he committed, the bodies left on the streets which had bullet holes in them and did not die from the floods. The people sent in to help them, killing them because they were desperate….

Living With Saul for Nearly 100 days

The good thing about keeping a record of what I have done at each writing session is to realise how some stories come easier than others. Where Late the Cicada Sings, which to some extent I wrote in memory of the late Kate Wilhelm, has taken a long time. Katie corresponded with me on and off for…

A Year of Writing: Days 141-150

Day 141 of #ayearofwriting an I am under 10,000 words and have the Bridport firmly in my sight. I am cutting and stripping away everything that brings nothing to the story. The myth like quality of Saul’s past is therefore magnified in this process and Alphin and Alder stomp through his dreams. Day 142 of #ayearofwriting and the work…