How to revive blog content and keep it fresh

Seven techniques you can use to revive great content in your archive. And an early announcement about Pressmonkey – our new Wordpress plugin for integrating blog posts with Twitter […]

Lunchtimes at the library

The recent #rememberingmylibrary hashtag has stuck with me, much in the same way that library memories themselves do. Libraries have a church-like aspect – with their own rituals of giving and reciprocation, their own incense. They demand tokenistic sacrifices. They offer sanctuary. As a lonely schoolboy, I retreated to the library. I found my corner and read – often science fiction – though one of my haunts happened to be the psychology section. […]

Ancient sports day: the mystifying sports gene

Somehow the sports gene passed me by. It’s not that I don’t like exercise — I have to run at least every other day or I feel even more crabby and irritable than usual. It’s just that, for some reason due either to nature or nurture, I’ve never been able to understand the pleasures that […]

Three kinds of short story (repost)

Despite having written a few and studied many more, I don’t think I’ve ever really come to grips with the grammar of the short story. It may be partly due to the fact that the game-changing moment in a story is often to be found or intuited off-stage, in the gaps between what is shown […]

Three Good Things: despair and consolation

I’m starting an occasional series this week I’m calling Three Good Things. This is by no means an idea I’ve borrowed from a cookery writer. Absolutely not. The idea is this: grab three recent writing or publishing links that resonate with one another either directly or through me – and lay them out here with […]

Auditioning my next novel

I have been working on my novel ROSALIND for more years than I care to admit. There have been shaky times – several complete rewrites come to mind. And some amazing highs – winning the Curtis Brown award for my work in progress, for example. I’m now approaching the end of the penultimate edit (or […]

Origin Story

One of the straplines I’ve been using for this site is: what’s your tech story? That implies a story about you. And that’s deliberate. But a piece of tech writing, something that teaches and illustrates, is also a story about the reader. When we write about how to do something. We imagine a reader who […]

Signs you might be a story geek

I noticed that Go Into The Story reposted an index of the excellent series of posts on Aristotle’s Poetics from 2013, and it occurred to me that I should definitely write something about that here. And then it struck me. I know! What about my favourite Poetics principle? It could even be a meme, right? […]

A little failure. A little doubt. Not too much. Just enough.

Two articles this week got me thinking about the balancing act we need to perform between confidence and self-criticism. Over at Electric Literature’s Blunt Instrument advice blog Lisa Derrick (@lisajderrick) asked how you can tell if your writing is any good. It’s an important question – because the commitment required for most people to produce […]

Joanne Harris incites Twitter face-off

Joanne Harris, who tweets the state of her writing shed daily and entertainingly rebuffs trolls nearly as often, attempted a new meme this week. #PostYourAuthorFace did not set Twitter on fire — which is a shame because I could have done with spending a day of procrastination looking at Atwood and Amis selfies. Still there […]