How to write short stories/novellas

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short storiesShort stories seem to be making a comeback both from existing writers (see Hilary Mantel’s The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher) as well as the unexpected (like the actor Jesse Eisenberg). They are obviously very different to novels, as explained wonderfully by Jane Gardem here:

“A novel is a trek home from the desert, sometimes a journey you wish you had never started. Exhausting and humbling, just occasionally wonderful. But a short story can come from a deeper part of the cave. In a novel you make preparations. You lay in for a siege, carrying a flickering lantern. For a short story you need to carry a blow-lamp for a building site.”

If you want to write short stories and don’t know where to start, here’s a quick guide:Continue Reading

How to practice your writing

blog3I’m not a huge fan of blog posts that offer suggestions for writing exercises (“Imagine you have just one wish” or “Pretend you’ve found some treasure”). And I don’t like books that offer writing prompts (“You’ve just woken up in a place where you can’t speak the language, write for 5 minutes on what you would do next”). I just don’t see the point. 50% of the attraction of writing is because you think you have something to say that comes from your head. Why waste precious writing time on an unoriginal thought?Continue Reading

How should writers get paid by streaming services?

home 8I find it bizarre that people still buy DVDs when you can stream most of the movies you want for the same price per month as you’d pay for one film in a shop. And I look at people as if they’re dinosaurs when they show me CDs they’ve bought from actual record shops (do these even still exist?) when I listen to all my music online from spotify. Legally. For free. So it would seem logical that I would run towards a streaming service for books – makes sense, right? – and I’ve been trialling Scribd for a while (8.99 for unlimited reading each month) but it’s obviously more tricky when I’m wearing my author hat and I wonder if this sort of service is as appropriate for authors as it is for other creative genres.

Turns out, it’s a bit of a thorny issue.Continue Reading