Tag Archives: writing

Getting Things Done – a guest post by Gail Z. Martin

I’ll admit it. I have a reputation for getting a lot done. People ask me if I sleep, or take vacations, or have down time. And the truth is that I generally log about seven hours sleep a night, take … Continue reading

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How Long is a Piece of String?

Chopping and Changing – Revisions, Cuts and Additions. How long should your story or novel be? A piece (story, novel or poem) should be as long as it needs to be – but that’s not always as long as you, … Continue reading

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A Moment of Stuckness

Anyone who knows me will testify that I’m not usually stuck for words. It’s not that I don’t believe in writer’s block (obviously it is a thing) it’s that I’ve rarely experienced it. However, recently I had a period where … Continue reading

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How I Got Here From There

First published on Gillian Polack’s blog in March 2020 for Women’s History Month It took me a long time to get here, possibly too long. If I’d known then, what I know now, it might not have taken so long… … Continue reading

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Fiction Must Make More Sense Than Real Life

Fiction must make more sense than real life. I think we all know that real life isn’t making much sense at the moment. If we wrote about a global pandemic in which presidential staff held hands and prayed that it … Continue reading

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House Arrest

Due to Covid 19 we’ve pulled up the drawbridge and dug a shark infested moat around Bedford Towers. No, we’re not sick, but I’m diabetic and my other half has suddenly become classified as elderly. How scary is that? Our … Continue reading

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Reading Writing and Rewriting

I was a voracious reader as a child, working my way steadily through the stock of my local public library children’s department. My literature of choice was anything with horses or ponies in it. Some of the books in my … Continue reading

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Creativity and the laugh-track of my life

I signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) at the beginning of November, a commitment to write 50,000 words in a month. It’s fewer than 2000 words a day, so it should be—if not easy—not all that difficult. I’ve … Continue reading

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Process

I’ve been thinking about process over the last few weeks. I’m writing a new, story which I hope will turn into the next novel project. It’s as yet untitled, and if I had to describe it at all it would … Continue reading

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It’s not too late to join up – NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo – National NovelWriting Month-takes place each November. You sign up Her: https://nanowrimo.org and commit to writing 50,000 in November, which means writing just a little under 2,000 words a day. It’s only 3rd November, you still have time to … Continue reading

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Retro-Blog of a Pre-published Writer from Autumn 2008

With hindsight this is really interesting. This (edited) collection of blog posts is from the early days of writing The Amber Crown, which then had the working title of Spider on the Web. (Sometimes the working title became That Bloody … Continue reading

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Writers Injuring Characters

I went to visit my dentist for a particularly difficult tooth extraction today, so as I write this I’m sitting nursing a sore jaw as the anaesthetic is wearing off. I can’t deny that I felt a bit wobbly after … Continue reading

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Generating Ideas – a guest post by Joshua Palmatier

The three new themes for Zombies Need Brains’ Kickstarter have been revealed (apocalypses, food, old tech finding new life) and I thought I’d offer up a suggestion here for how to generate an idea that fits a theme AND make … Continue reading

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My Other Journal in a Galaxy Far far Away

In 2008 I started a blog on LiveJornal (and later moved everything over to Dreamwidth, but that’s another story). These days I mostly keep Dreamwidth for book and movie reviews, but in those early days my blogs were much more … Continue reading

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Science for Fiction 2019

Science For Fiction is an annual event organised by Dr. David Clements at Imperial College, London. It’s a series of lectures by scientists at the cutting edge of their field, specifically aimed at writers. (Unsurprisingly a load of Science Fiction … Continue reading

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For the Love of Prequels – A guest post by Gail Z. Martin

One of the tricky parts of telling a story is knowing where to start. The beginning of the interesting part isn’t always the place to start the main tale. That’s especially true when the main story is truly epic in … Continue reading

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Submission, Rejection, and my Coping Strategies

I’ve always written. I started my first novel when I was fifteen. (It was dire, and I never finished, but I loved writing it.) It took me years to actually tell anyone I wrote, and even more years before I … Continue reading

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Milford Writers’ Retreat

So here I am, in the wilds of Welsh Wales on a writing retreat organised by Milford SF Writers (of which I am the secretary – so yes, theoretically I organised it myself). The venue is Trigonos, the village is … Continue reading

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The Long Haul

Now, here’s the thing… when you write a trilogy you are in it for the long haul. To all those people who write a single book, I salute you. It’s not easy. It takes dedication and effort. Now imagine you … Continue reading

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What I Like to Read, and Why

Though I have a large collection of paper books, some of them from my childhood, I mostly read fiction on Kindle these days. It’s not that I prefer electronic to dead tree books, but books are books and it’s the … Continue reading

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Updated Blog Archive: 2013 to 2018

2013 Bated Breath Seven Short Men and a Waif Preparing for Milford Jumping in at the Shallow End Serendipitous Book Browsing Four days to go Three Book Deal Milford Writers Publishers Marketplace Announcement Editor Talk New Book Log on LJ: Karen Traviss: Star … Continue reading

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It’s never too late to talk about a book

Unless you are lucky enough to live in a city which has good bookshops, or even better, specialist science fiction and fantasy bookshops, your browsing of new SFF titles may be limited. My little local bookshop sadly closed last year, … Continue reading

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Writing Tip: Using Wordle to highlight overused words

Wordle used to be a web-based utility, a web toy that allowed you to paste in a piece of writing to make a word cloud. The more frequently a word appeared in your text, the bigger it appeared in the … Continue reading

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Looking Back and Looking Forward: 2018 and 2019

It just so happens that my alternate Tuesday blog falls on 1st January 2019, so it’s a good time to assess 2018 and see if I can peep into the future to 2019. I’m not sure where 2018 went to. … Continue reading

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My Week at Milford

Many thanks to last week’s guest blogger Joshua Palmatier for doing a post for me while I was away at Milford SF Writers’ week in Snowdonia at the lovely Trigonos, Though they do have wi-fi there now, it tends to … Continue reading

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Finish What You Start – Or Don’t

Unless you stop faffing about re-writing the beginning of your story/novel, you’ll never finish it. Believe me, I know this. I am an expert in faffing around. I’ve spent untold hours/days/weeks/months getting the start of my novels just right. Sometimes … Continue reading

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Character self-determination

There’s one of those little graphics floating around Facebook that says: Main Characters: You do everything you can to raise them right, and as soon as they hit the page they do any damn thing they please. Yes, fellow writers, … Continue reading

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Writing New Series Vs. Sequels – A guest blog by Gail Z. Martin

Readers ask, “What do you like better, starting a new series or writing another book in an existing series?” That’s like asking, “What do you like more, going to visit old friends or taking a trip somewhere you’ve never been … Continue reading

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Make me Immortal with a Kiss

Zombies Need Brains press ran a Kickstarter in 2017, to fund a set of three themed anthologies. Each anthology has New York Times bestselling authors alongside authors who’ve just made their first professional sale. One of the anthologies in this … Continue reading

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What times we’ve lived through.

My grandma’s house was a miner’s cottage in Mapplewell, probably built in the mid to late Victorian period. It was red brick, two up, two down with a toilet in the yard. There was a cellar with a freshwater spring … Continue reading

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The Reading Conundrum

When I got my first publishing deal back in 2013 I found that when I was writing to a deadline it was difficult to keep up with my reading. This reading conundrum is something many writers suffer from… When I’m … Continue reading

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The Gift That Keeps on Giving

My first book, Empire of Dust, launched on 4th November 2014 from DAW and, boy, was I excited. I’d waited a long time for that moment. When I got the first review , from Publishers’ Weekly, no less, I read … Continue reading

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My Eastercon Schedule

Very much looking forward to Follycon, the 2018 Eastercon in Harrogate. I’m arriving Thursday and leaving Monday afternoon. I’ll have a Milford Writers’ Conference display (with leaflets and information). It will be lovely to meet up with friends and see … Continue reading

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How to get a literary agent

I’m writing madly to a deadline, so I don’t have time to write a new blog post this week, so this is an updated reprint from my own blog, previously published in two parts and now condensed to one. I … Continue reading

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Discovering what I didn’t know I didn’t know.

I wrote my first two (unpublished) books on my trusty Amstrad PCW using Locoscript. I was fairly late to the computer party in general and email in particular (1996) but the internet was still young. Google didn’t exist. Wikipedia wasn’t … Continue reading

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It’s Official!

With the Psi-Tech Trilogy completed, and Nimbus now in the shops, I’ve signed a contract for the third Rowankind book, called simply: Rowankind, and due for publication in late 2018 from DAW in the USA. It follows on from Winterwood … Continue reading

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Happy Book Day To Me!

My new book, NIMBUS, is out today. Let me say that again because it never gets old. My new book, NIMBUS, is out today! It’s my fifth published book, and the third in my Psi-Tech universe. It represents a milestone … Continue reading

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IAm/Am Not a Word Machine

A reprint from a blog I did for Emerald Musings back in February 2017 – with updates. Douglas Adams famously said: ‘I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.’ That may have worked for … Continue reading

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What I learned about Tallin that I couldn’t have found out from a guidebook.

Following my trip to the World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki, I took a side trip to Tallinn to do some research for my novel-in-progress ‘The Amber Crown’ set in an analogue of the Baltic States in a time period … Continue reading

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Bladdered or Shitfaced? The gentle art of word choice and the bogglement of page-proofing.

No, I’m neither bladdered not shitfaced – that’s one of my characters. I’m sober as the proverbial judge, and doing page proofs. Five hundred and thirty four pages of closely printed text – almost one hundred and seventy thousand words. … Continue reading

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Corwen Silverwolf Speaks

Denby Hall, September 1801 I don’t usually get the opportunity to say much. It’s not that I’m henpecked, you understand, but—well—my author is female and she lets my beloved, Rossalinde, tell the story. So it’s nice, for once, to be … Continue reading

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Life, Death and the Writer’s Pen

Last Tuesday, 6th June, I awoke to a world without Vin Garbutt in it – a world less bright, a world less funny. For those of you not in the folk music world, Vin was a unique performer, A Teessider … Continue reading

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Due Process

My publishing process goes like this: The publisher offers a contract (negotiated by my agent) which may be for one, two or three books, and on signing I get half the advance. My agent takes the agreed cut and I … Continue reading

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Committing Trilogy

As I write this blog post I’m editing and polishing my third Psi-Tech book, Nimbus, the last in my trilogy of space operas (though there may be more ahead set in the same universe—it’s too early to tell, yet.) It’s … Continue reading

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Cover Reveal: Nimbus

Nimbus isn’t due until October 2017, but I just got the cover and permission to let you all see it. So here it is: Nimbus, the third in the Psi-Tech trilogy. Cover by the fabulously talented Stephan Martiniere. In a … Continue reading

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Stories Far and Near

I love scandals in the family – preferably in past generations, of course. My dad’s cousin, always known to me as Auntie Bessie, was supposed to have traced the family back to Cornwall in the 1600s whereupon the two distinct … Continue reading

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Bloggage or not…

Guys, I’m just finishing off the last little bit of the first draft of Nimbus , the third psi-tech novel. (Due October 2017.) I’m up to my ears in words, living on coffee and chocolate and writing until three in … Continue reading

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Agent Update

Way back in February and March 2016 I posted parts one and two ‘About Literary Agents and How to Get One’. You can read part one here and part two here. Yes, go and read them if you like, I’ll … Continue reading

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Style Sheets

There’s a lot of information to keep in your head if you’re writing a book. There’s even more if you’re writing a trilogy or a series. I happily wrote seven books without having a single style sheet… and then I … Continue reading

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Ten Quick Tips for Writers

Here are ten quick tips for writers (not necessarily in order of usefulness and not necessarily complete). Feel free to ignore what doesn’t work for you. Remember: ‘Follow no rule off a cliff.’ – C.J. Cherryh. Besides these are not … Continue reading

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