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October 29, 2018

NaNoWriMo is on us again. Some people are approaching it with excitement, others with trepidation. But all with the intention of creating something new – the first draft, or the first 50,000 words of a first draft, of a novel. It’s no easy feat. It requires focus, dete...

August 25, 2017

NaNoWriMo

September is drawing near. That means it’s only two months away from beginning the latest challenge for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, or NaNo for short). If you’re new to the concept, NaNo is about setting aside a couple of hours each day to challen...

July 28, 2017


Some years ago, I undertook some training to supervise PhDs, and this was the first opportunity that I felt able to talk about the harrowing experience that was the PhD viva because they had all been through it. “Unpleasant” doesn’t come close to describing the day, b...

June 30, 2017

The current series of Doctor Who is coming to its conclusion, taking the Twelfth Doctor with it. Just as when Russell T Davies left the series with an overlong and over-sentimental episode The End of Time where he could wrap up the story threads of his tenure as produc...

June 15, 2017

I think I have a new book coming out soon. It’s been a long time in the pipeline: I submitted the finished typescript in 2014 and then wrote to the publishers once a year to ask if there was any progress, and the reply was always “soon” (end of next year, end of this y...

March 24, 2017

A decade ago was one of those times when my depression was really severe. Much of the time, I was cocooned in my bed, sometimes I ventured further, but I was mostly trapped by the walls of my house. That was my world. The worst part of it is that I wanted to READ. I ha...

December 15, 2016

There’s a new Star Wars film coming out this week.  I’m looking forward to it, but I’m not as excited as I was this time last year when Episode 7 came out. I think this has something to do with the place that it’s positioned in the Star Wars canon. When the opening tit...

December 6, 2016

I had forgotten that writing a novel is an endurance sport mixed in with monastic solitude. But, here we are at the end of National Novel Writing month, and I have, sitting on my hard drive (and backed up on a virtual drive) a document that contains 50,000 words of ori...

October 25, 2016

We’re approaching November which is National Novel Writing Month. The idea of writing a novel in those 30 days is upon us. The concept is that you may start at a minute past midnight on Tuesday 1st November, and complete 50,000 words (around 200 pages) by 23.59 on 30 N...

September 7, 2016

I wish there was a way to wave a magic wand and the beginning of a novel would suddenly appear. It doesn’t work like that, as any author who has spent months, sometimes years (or even decades) waiting for that first line to come will tell you. This discussion considers...

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