A documentary that influenced my fantasy writing - Slumming it

‘Slumming It’ is a documentary by Kevin McCloud whereby McCloud visits the slum of Dharavi in Mumbai, India. Here he finds a world that is so different to that which Westerners (like myself) experience. The children play among filth near toxic drains, Pollution is everywhere. Poverty is everywhere. Surely this must be soul crushing for the inhabitants. And yet there is a richness of spirit that is fascinating to watch.

What I want in a Villain & The Curse of the Bad Chapter

  This is two blog posts for the price of one as I have been dwelling on both of these things. The first is finding the villain that I find perfect for the novel. Yes sure, I’ve already named and described him in the first draft. But I really need to tease him out more. So I have been watching films and documentaries of actors who are known for characterisations

Writing my own gestalt-sentient beings

In the mid-1990s I read a book with an idea that captured my imagination. In Verner Vinge’s “A Fire Upon the Deep” I read of a canine gestalt-sentient species called the Tine. A gestalt-sentient species, as portrayed in that novel, was one that had a sort of group mind or group consciousness. So an “individual” might be made up of five or six beings who shared a consciousness. What really

Quantum entanglement & Sympathetic magic

Well, as any of my dear friends out there know, I am trying to create a world in which magic is merely science that is forgotten. I know, not a new idea. But I am trying to express it in a way that is true to most reader’s expectations of fantasy while providing a rationale that satisfies my own need for logic and consistency. Anyway, I’ll write more about that

First step in seeing people

I love the way that some authors can catch the essence of a person in a few sentences.  But how can I do that as a writer? I set myself the task of really trying to observe the people around me. By that I mean not just seeing what I expect to see, but really deconstructing their behaviour into a suite of movements and expressions and so on. But this

Two's company. Three is more interesting.

The other day I found myself wondering why a certain scene of mine was so dull. It had conflict. It had heightened emotions. Yet it was still dull. Essentially the scene was an argument between two characters regarding a course of action. The principal risks were to do nothing and definitely kill 300 people or do something and let an unknown (possibly extremely dangerous) entity loose upon their world. Both