You never stop learning (even as a writer). Here are some well-written and insightful books about the writing craft. If you have the time and energy, you may want to consider reading them. Who knows, the knowledge these ‘books for writers’ contain may actually turn you into a better writer (or a better person altogether). Also, if you have an aspiring writer friend, these will serve as wonderful gifts for special occasions.
Transcript Have you ever tried to picture an ideal world? One without war, poverty, or crime? If so, you’re not alone. Plato imagined an enlightened republic ruled by philosopher kings, many religions promise bliss in the afterlife and throughout history, various groups have tried to build paradise on Earth. Thomas More’s 1516 book “Utopia” gave this concept a name, Greek for “no place.” Though the name suggested impossibility, modern scientific and political progress raised hopes of these dreams finally becoming reality. But time and time again, they instead turned into nightmares of war, famine, and oppression. And as artists began to question utopian thinking, the genre of dystopia, the not good place, was born. One of the earliest dystopian works is Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels.” Throughout his journey, Gulliver encounters fictional societies, some of which at first seem impressive, but turn out to be seriously flawed. On the flying island of Laputa, scientists and social planners pursue extravagant and useless schemes while neglecting the practical needs of the people below. And the Houyhnhnm who live in perfectly logical harmony have no tolerance for the imperfections of actual human beings. With his novel, Swift established a blueprint for dystopia, imagining a world where certain trends in contemporary society are taken to extremes, exposing their underlying flaws. And the next few centuries would provide plenty of material. Industrial technology that promised to free laborers imprisoned them in slums and factories, instead, while tycoons grew richer than kings. By the late 1800’s, many feared where such conditions might lead. H. G. Wells’s “The Time Machine” imagined upper classes and workers evolving into separate species, while Jack London’s “The Iron Heel” portrayed a tyrannical oligarchy ruling over impoverished masses. The new century brought more exciting and terrifying changes. Medical advances made it possible to… read more →
Everyone knows to “use” social trying to cover all the bases. So where do you begin as an author or small publisher looking to make your mark in a clustered book world? Know what they’re good for. Each platform serves a useful and largely individual purpose in terms of promotion and engaging people with what you do. Here’s a brief, basic run through of some: Twitter: Bitesize updates, good for socialising and interacting directly with people. Facebook: Good for slightly longer statuses and more concentrated discussion. Instagram: Visual. Got a book? Post it in well-crafted pictures. Got a dog? Definitely post pictures of them. Youtube: For videos. Regularity can work well here: weekly, fornightly, monthly updates. With vloggers, you need to make sure these are of a fairly high quality to compete. Blog: WordPress, Blogspot or your website are all great places to write longform pieces about topics that are relevant to or interest you, if you’re going for straight up blogging. Or… Tumblr: Can be used for blogging but also a GIF-kingdom. Full of fandoms, and offers a little more freedom than other blogging platforms, and a readymade community. Pinterest: Where you ‘pin’ images, links and more that you like in collections for people to view and pin again. Perfect for moodboards. Linkedin: CV. It’s good for professional networking and snooping people who work for companies that you’re looking to perhaps get in touch with. Snapchat: Temporary photos and videos sent to followers’ phones. Create stories. Periscope: Live streaming, can be integrated into other platforms like Twitter easily. Reddit: A massive community that covers anything and everything. You share things and comment, upvote and downvote. You need to get to grips with subreddits, though we’d assume you’re looking for /r/write. Emails: It’s often forgotten, but setting up a mailing… read more →
There’s a lot of things that can stop you writing. Sometimes it’s real life, which can’t usually be helped; if the cat decides to spill a glass of water on your laptop, that does put a crimp in your ability to type. But sometimes the show-stoppers are either in your head, or in your writing. Here’s five things that your head might be telling you, and some suggestions to overcome them. I’m not good enough. That brilliant writer that you want to be like? The one with best-selling novels? Or even just the last piece you read on Tumblr, the snippet of something on Facebook? You’re thinking that you’re not as good as them, you can’t do it, what’s the point of trying… Stop for a moment, and consider how long they’ve likely been writing. How long have they had to practise, and to hone their craft? Writing is a skill like any other; it can be learned and it can be improved. How many drafts and tears and moments of doubt has that best-selling novel gone through? How many edits and revisions? You aren’t that good. Not yet. But you won’t ever be that good unless you start practising. Try. Experiment. Play. And practise, practise, practise. Everyone’s going to hate it Ugh, the invisible audience. I think this is possibly the voice that I hate most; the feeling that whatever you do, someone is going to criticise – and it’s usually yourself! I’ve got a couple of ways round this. Write for yourself. Yell back at the voices; pretend no-one else will ever see it, that it’s only for you. Or, if you’re the most critical, write for a friend who’ll forgive the errors and just wants to read your story. Things like #2BitTues and #1LineWed on Twitter; they’re… read more →
We are delighted to announce the winning stories of the Broken Worlds short story competition, and a very creative competition it has been. This year’s winning story is by Thomas Brown. Thomas has not gone unnoticed in our previous competitions, but his entry this time around, The Sad Man, is a story that truly captivated our imagination, a brilliant and darkly escalating creation. Let us offer our sincere congratulations! We were looking for stories which made us see things a little differently, for writing that enabled us to transcend the ordinary and be transported elsewhere, and for characters who would remain in our mAinds afterwards. The 25 writers chosen for the shortlist have crafted works that offer a great deal of reading pleasure to the dystopian mind. We look forward to sharing their work with you. We would like to thank all who entered and commiserate with those who were not placed. Please keep writing, and we look forward to reading your stories in the future. Here are the shortlisted stories for ‘Broken Worlds’. We would also like to share with you the cover art for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy. Broken Worlds Winner: The Sad Man – by Thomas Brown Vision of Paradise – by Clare Banks The Deepening Well – by Sam Hurcom The Paperboy – by Gemma L Thompson The Farm – by George Vernon Dreg Town – by Steph Minns It Was the Best of Times – by Konstantine Paradias Urbanova – by Christian Cook Carved in Ice – by Doxa J. Zannou Watch – by Miles Gatrell Water Rats – by Terry Holland Pioneer – by Joe Saxon Leadership Gene – by Francis Beckett Equity Lamp – Adam “Bucho” Rodenberger Graduate Scheme – by Holly Seddon Silva’s Plague – by Ian Green Meat is Murder –… read more →