All posts in Writing Blog

  • The Male Gaze: Editing out sexism


    I’ve procrastinated with this blog post for months now. Recently, I’ve perfected a new skill where I don’t write anything at all and just think and think about a story or blog idea until I’ve found the reason why I shouldn’t write it. And then I don’t write it. There are lots of reasons why I was a little wary of writing about gender; I think men need to be very thoughtful when weighing in on this, just as white people ought to be careful when they talk about race. But I suspect I have something useful to say about the male gaze in writing. I think the male gaze is a fast track to bad writing and that we should all avoid it.

    Read more

  • From Glasgow to Saturn


    This week, I attended From Glasgow to Saturn’s Issue 39 launch at Dram! It was great to see the finished book and to listen to the readings by the other contributors. I also gave a reading, because it still scares me to read aloud to groups of people, because I want to get other these nerves eventually. This is the the third FGtS anthology that features a piece of my writing and I’m chuffed to bits that the editors liked my submission. This edition will hopefully be available to buy from Amazon shortly and you can buy the previous edition (which contains one of my essays) here.

    Read more

  • Don’t Write Duran Duran!

    As far as writers go, I’m still relatively young and inexperienced, but I’m not going to let that stop me offering advice to other writers and creative people! In fact, I feel like I’ve levelled up in the last year, both in terms of my writing abilities and my insight into living as a creative person. So, with my hard-won insight, I’m trying to get some of my ideas onto this blog. I wouldn’t take a break from writing fiction if I didn’t think I had something to say. This blog post is about writing or making something you believe in, as opposed to something you think people want. And it’s about loving what you make.

    Read more

  • How to Come Up with Story Ideas

    Some light bulbs

    People regularly ask me where I get my story ideas from. I think some people are just showing polite interest, but some people genuinely want to know. Most writers I talk to have no idea where they get their ideas from and there’s a good chance that they each get different ideas from different places. But I’ve been giving this subject a lot of thought over the last few years, and I think I have something to say.  I will be talking about story ideas, but I also think that this blog post could be relevant to anyone trying to make things.

    Read more

  • Writing Good Sentences

    When I edit other people’s work I often find that a lot of their problems could be solved if they thought about their sentences a little more carefully. Usually, they have too many short sentences in a row. The effect is jarring. Staccato. Robotic. Intentionally dramatic. Unintentionally pretentious. Devoid of the natural rhythm of speech. I think this happens because all writers are encouraged to trim and streamline their writing, and it’s in this effort that writers lose their sense of rhythm. They see economic writing as the only goal and give up clarity and personality in an attempt to sound like their favourite economic writer.

    Read more

  • Beating Writer’s Block: Writing a load of shite again

    I haven’t written much over the last eight months. I’ve been depressed and anxious and my creative mojo has been at an all-time low. During my Masters course last year, I often fantasised about all the writing I’d do once the course was over and my free time was free again.
    Instead, I’ve written perhaps one short story that isn’t bad, and a few others that definitely are bad. And my stagnating output has made my mood worse – it’s made me feel guilty and directionless. Don’t worry, I don’t want to write a blog post about my most recent season of depression and anxiety. That would be terribly boring to read. Instead, I’d like to talk about something I’ve realised that just might get me out of this slump: taking myself less seriously and writing a load of shite again. Bear with me and maybe this blog post will help you get over your creative slump too.

    Read more

  • The Bradbury Challenge

     “Writing is not a serious business. It’s a joy and a celebration.”

    – Ray Bradbury


    Around 18 months ago, my writing buddy Joma and I were in a bit of a writing slump and we decided to do something to reinvigorate ourselves. We wanted to challenge our writing in a way we never had before based on something Ray Bradbury, one of our favourite authors, once said about writing one short story each week for a year.

    Read more

  • I’m Back!

    I’m back. This is just a quick blog post to say that I plan to get back into the blogging habit over the next few months. However, I might try to make my blog posts smaller, as I used to write posts that were 1,200–3,000 words – which is a helluva big chunk of writing (that takes time away from my creative writing) and it’s also a lot for you guys read.

    Read more

  • Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novels — A defence of genre

    Farenheit 451 cover image

    When colleagues and acquaintances first hear that I write fiction, they’re usually pretty interested. Just as I’m usually interested when I find out that someone else is an artist or a musician, I guess. I suppose we hear that someone has a creative hobby and we begin to suspect that they aren’t going to be as boring as we originally thought…

    Read more

  • Writing – Knowing when to run, walk or jog

    I want to look at writing as a way to achieve contentment (happiness is fleeting, but contentment is solid) and at how the writing process changes over time. I hope this post makes you want to write a little and that it helps you work out how to pace your writing process so that it works for you.

    Read more