The Controversial Flashback

Why the hostility toward flashbacks? If done well, they work. But done badly, they break the reader’s experience, preventing them from discovering what happens next in the story. To quote editor, Sol Stein, “If we are enthralled, we don’t want to be interrupted.” The trick, therefore, if you feel compelled to use one, is to use the flashback in as little a disruptive way as possible. Here are a few techniques to help you do that.


The General & The Visitor Review

An honest and very detailed review of The General and The Visitor courtesy of the fantastic Books4Jessica! If you haven’t already checked out this blog you need to immediately!

A million thanks, Jessica!

CoverI have not read a book of short stories in a long time, so when I was given the chance to review this book I did not know what to expect as this was not a novel I would usually have much knowledge about.However, I am very glad that I did decide to read these stories as they were both thought provoking and emotional.

The General (by: Richard Billing) & The Visitor (by: Mark Brooks) are the names of the two stories featured in this small 64 some page book. The General tells the story of a army and chief of that army who believes he is doing right by his country when ordered by the king to attack a land and people who did not know really much about. The chief soon learns though that what he may have believed prior to their attack, may have not been true.

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[Video] World-building chat with Fane of Fantasy

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of recording a chat with Jesper Schmidt over at Fane of Fantasy. We spoke about minimalist world-building, where this approach has come from, and what it means for fantasy moving forwards.

The Pesky Peasantry of the Middle Ages

Welcome to another instalment of Fantasy Fridays. Today we're looking at the lives of the medieval peasantry, a class of people somewhat shrouded in mystery—peasants weren't good note-takers. In exploring the lives of the peasantry we'll uncover what it was like to be one of them, the kinds of houses and towns they lived in, and what their day to day lives involved. There's plenty of nuggets of information for you to pick up along the way which you can use to enrich your fantasy stories.

SharingIsCaringThursday: the best articles from the past week

It’s Sharing is Caring Thursday and I’m back with a few interesting finds from the world of blogging, and this week, vlogging.

The Ingredients of Effective Dialogue

Dialogue was one of the first aspects of creative writing I looked at on this here blog, and since then much has been learned on this crucial aspect of the craft. In this return article, we'll look at what dialogue in fiction entails and the ingredients necessary for making it the most effective it can be, before finishing up with a few helpful editing tips.

A Minimalistic Approach to World-Building

Yesterday I was delighted to join Jesper Schmidt of for a chat about world-building. Thank you, Jesper for having me. I had a great time! It remains to be seen if any of you will be able to understand my scouse accent. I thought I’d share my notes about what we discussed, namely a minimalistic approach to showing worlds, the best tips I’ve come across for revealing worlds, and a few tips about building a world.

Sharing is Caring Thursdays

I spend a lot of time reading the blogs of others, lapping up the helpful tips, experiences, and stories they have to share. It’s important to support these excellent writers, and just as important to share their work for the benefit of others. So, here are some of my favourite articles from the past week or so, covering everything from writing tips and marketing, to calls for submissions and new books to read:

Stopping the Reader’s Heart: Creating Tension

It's funny that in reality, we don't like a life full of tension. We complain about feeling wound up—all the time it seems here in Britain—and do all manner of things to relax. In fiction, however, the opposite is true. Readers love stress and tension; they seek it out. And we, as writers, must give it to them. Below, you’ll learn a few ways to create tension, how to use it, and a few plotlines which help create it.

An exciting year ahead…

So, here we are. 2018. It still feels like 2004 to me so seeing that written down comes as a bit of a shock. I can imagine a few of you have sore heads. I hope the painkillers aren’t too far from the comfort of your bed.