Tag: Writing

  • A Writer in the Family

    Years ago, in my early twenties, I was convinced I’d be a successful author someday. One by one, my more literary friends got pieces published—short stories, poems—while I didn’t. Of course, it didn’t help that I wasn’t a good writer, and more importantly didn’t actually try getting anything published. But it became a minor running joke that all my friends would “get published” before I did.

  • The Bookmark

    The second book is nearly finished now, the one that not so long ago I thought I had lost the knack of reading. For all my worries, I had not lost the knack of reading, or of filling my mind and body and soul with all that I read.

  • Enforced Reading Time

    Whilst faffing around with my blog the other day—in a regular incidence of “it ain’t broke but I’m going to fix it anyway”—I discovered some old half-written short stories that never made it to the web. (These two, if you’re interested.) Scrolling through the list of files that comprise my past attempts at fiction, it was immediately obvious that I’d not written even a scrap of a story since 2013. Worse, it’s been four years since I wrote anything complete—a paltry 342-word story called “Silence”, which my wife pestered me into writing. The last time I wrote something complete for myself was 2011.

  • Cyberpunk

    The early years of the twenty-first century.

  • NaNoGenMo: A 50,000 Word Target I can Meet

    One of the ways in which a number of my friends spend November is participating in National Novel Writing Month, or “NaNoWriMo”. This is its 15th year, in which some 300,000 amateur novelists signed up to write their hearts out over the course of 30 days.

  • Nine Princes and Three Walls

    I think I recall reading Roger Zelazny’s book Nine Princes in Amber as a kid, and enjoying it. Now the rest of the series sit atop my metaphorical reading list – not a real pile of books, but a prioritised list of regrets at all the renowned works of fiction that I have not yet read. I am making my way through them, but with the critical eyes of an adult, I am sure that I am not enjoying them as much as I once would have.

  • "Dreaming Awake": Time to Stop Pretending

    A little over ten years ago, my friends and I began a collaborative fiction project that we named “The Fanfic”, though it bore little resemblance to fanfiction as it is commonly known. Rather, it was something like a ‘fanfic’ of our own invented characters, thrown together in a neutral setting.

  • a thousand words: Finishing Touches

    The vast majority of user-reported bugs and requested features on “a thousand words” have now been sorted out. As requested by my co-conspirator Eric, we now have an ‘adult content’ filter based on a date of birth field in users’ profiles, and a ‘report’ button to bring problematic stories and pictures to the attention of the moderators. There’s also a DeviantArt-style “request critique” option to let users know what kind of comments you’re looking for.

  • a thousand words: Alpha, Beta

    “a thousand words” has now reached a stage where every feature that I give a damn about is implemented. Thus, we’re opening it up to a limited beta test to iron out the wrinkles and get a list of any features potential users would like to see us launch with. If you’re bored or simply have a love of breaking other people’s shit, head along to http://athousandwords.org.uk and see what hell you can raise. As the Big Red Box Text warns you, really don’t submit any work of fiction you care about, just in case some kind soul finds an SQL injection vulnerability and trashes the database.

  • a thousand words: Hot Profilin’ Action

    A few days’ laziness (by which I mean a few days’ Starcraft) have passed with not much work being done on “a thousand words”. That came to an end tonight, with a productive evening resulting in a working profile system so that users can now add and display personal information, change their registered e-mail address and password, etc.

  • a thousand words: GETting and POSTing

    Another day, another bunch of functionality added to a thousand words. With the main public-facing interfaces largely complete, I have moved on to the guts of the site’s user interaction. The site now has working, but ugly, implementations of:

  • a thousand words: First Sketches

    With the main browsing UI for a thousand words up and running, it’s time to bore the world with more pointless trivia before moving on. Today: design sketches!

  • a thousand words: A New Timesink has Arrived!

    Somehow unable to cope with actually having free time of an evening, I have taken on yet another project which will doubtless push me deeper into the dark, untamed wilds of the internet, the land stalked only by the mysterious beast known as the “web developer”.

  • The Cautionary Tale of Sultan Hamnvik

    That the car park was eerily futuristic, with automated sensors telling you how many spaces remained in each lane, should have been your first warning. No, yet earlier than that. You should have realised when it took you four attempts to leave the dual carriageway at the right junction. No amount of poor navigation skill could have led you to fail that many times. You should have realised, then, that the place distorted reality around it. Whether it was just unusually massive, or unusually evil, you couldn’t tell from the outside. All you could tell was that it twisted your perceptions, made your mind and your car run in circles. But these circles were concentric, spiralling ever inwards, towards the core. Once you saw the sign and the inviting arrow beside that junction, all hope was already lost. You were caught in its net.

  • Dating the Techno-Thriller

    There’s little greater testament to the incredible pace of technological progress than the rate at which books set in the present day become dated.

  • Book Review: The Book of Mormon (!?)

    Last night, in an attempt to rectify my broken sleep patterns, I sought out the most dull work of fiction in the house so that I could bore myself to sleep. My choice, understandably one might think, was the Book of Mormon, which we got from a couple of missionaries for the price of two cups of coffee and half an hour of pretending to care.

  • November

    Once again, the world has whirled its way around its orbit and arrived back at what us mammals call “November”. Perhaps it’s the shortening days, the wind and rain, or maybe just the after-effects of Hallowe’en, but November has had a strange effect on me in recent years. At University, certainly, after a Summer away and an October of re-settling in, November was when the drama started rearing its ugly head.

  • From Lovecraft to Slash Fic

    So, as Joseph’s tastes in kids’ TV shows changes, so does the range of programmes I have to complain about, comment on, and generally be weirded out by. Thus I have probably posted the last of my “Night Garden = Ry’leh” brainfarts on this blog. On we go to the next thing he’s exposing me to non-stop.

  • Forgotten Children is Getting Written

    “Forgotten Children” is an idea that’s been kicking around my head for a long while, and it’s always felt like it ought to be novel-length, albeit possibly a short novel. For several years I’ve laboured under the misapprehension that it might be publishable, and that if it was, I should keep it to myself until it’s done.

  • In Which I Disparage Great Works of Literature

    To follow up blog posts on gun control and police brutality, back to my normal standard of blogging: In The Night Garden.