About me...


When I was a child, my family moved quite often around villages in Buckinghamshire. Changing schools frequently and living surrounded by fields to play in meant that I lived a lot in my imagination. By the time we moved to Northampton I'd already written several plays and 'novels', largely inspired by Dr Who and The Man from Uncle. On leaving school, I got a 'proper' job, but continued to write.

I've always loved Science Fiction and Fantasy, so when Cassandra SF Workshop was formed in the 1980s it combined my love of the genre with my love of writing.  Cassandra attracted established authors, including Ian Watson, Garry Kilworth and Bob Shaw, as well as those who've gone on to great things, such as Charles Stross and Simon Ings.

Redundancy gave me a push into a new direction–two new directions in fact. I went to university to get a BA (Hons), followed by an MA in Linguistics and Literature, and I supported myself by freelancing for businesses and the local press. That was a long while ago now. I still write for businesses, organisations and periodicals, but I have a growing list of publishing credits too. Among the highlights in recent years has been my stint as Writer in Residence at The Grid artists' studios, which gave me the opportunity to experiment with new forms and create what a generous friend called 'word art'.

There are several interviews and profiles scattered around the web, so if you'd like to know more, here are some of the places to visit–Alfie Dog Fiction, Goodreads, Smashwords and Writing Short Fiction.


Tips


There are endless websites and books offering writers advice. Much of it is the same, such as 'show don't tell', and there's little point in me repeating it. Instead, here are some of the things I've found out the hard way.

* If you're struggling to find the right way to end a feature, try moving your opening sentence there. You'll be surprised how often it fits, and it can make the beginning snappier.

* Things will always take longer than you think.

* You might be really pleased that your work has been accepted by a magazine, but the first question your nearest and dearest are likely to ask is how much you'll be paid for it.

* Once, I was introduced to someone as having had 'a couple' of stories published, whereupon they asked: "In anything I've heard of?" I shall always regret not giving the right answer, which should (of course) have been: "That depends on how well-read you are!"

* Any subject can be interesting. It's up to you to find the right angle.

* Writing is often a struggle, but it should also be satisfying. Few writers don't get rejected, so if you don't enjoy putting words on paper, what's the point?

* Whenever you re-read your work, you'll want to change it.

* If you can't find the word you want, don't struggle too long over it because you'll lose your flow. Keep going and come back to it. Rewriting the whole sentence will probably solve the problem.

* Beware of vampires who think that you can write at any time without having to think about it first. They'll involve you in their projects–worthy as they may be–and you'll never get anything done. Defend your time. If you don't treat writing as a priority, no one else will.

* Take a look at the previous tips here.

 

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