Animate Prose and the Sculpture of Language: The Vorrh, a review.

Brian Catling’s The Vorrh (2012, Honest Publishing) has been on my radar for a long time. I’d never heard quite the right things said of it to make me take that last step into actually reading it, that is, until last month, when I found out Catling will be visiting Blackwell’s bookshop in Edinburgh. His visit will coincide with the release of the sequel to The Vorrh, The Erstwhile (in March, details here). Eager for the chance to go to an event for a book I’d actually read, I borrowed a copy from my flatmate and got to work. Continue reading

Painting With Broad Strokes: Grace of Kings, a review.

I picked up Grace of Kings (Ken Liu, Simon & Schuster, 2015) originally because I was enticed by the idea of an epic high-fantasy story not set in a thinly-veiled version of western Europe. The setting of Grace of Kings is a refreshing blend of ancient China and Polynesia, and the un-Europeanness of the story is apparent from the very first page, with an elaborate culture and social hierarchy laid out in clear terms, and sustained throughout the book. Continue reading

Write Efficiently and Don’t Worry About Details: How to NaNo successfully

Hi there. As you can probably tell, I like to set myself up as a casual expert on the craft of writing. That being said, aside from two marginally-related degrees and one published short story I don’t have all that much to recommend me in terms of qualifications. But what I can do fairly well is write a lot, quickly. As of 7th November (I haven’t written anything today yet) I was at 15,414 words in my project for NaNoWriMo, which is well ahead of schedule. So today’s post is about how to write a lot, quickly, without getting sidetracked or second-guessing yourself while you’re doing it.  Continue reading

When detail helps, and when it hinders: Worldbuilding as a Tool, Not a Goal.

As NaNoWriMo looms, and I increasingly suppress the urge to sit down and write the thousands of words that have been floating around my head (is November really still three months away?!), I’ve more and more found myself thinking about worldbuilding, what role it should and shouldn’t play in a story, and how best to integrate it fully with the plot of a project, no matter what length.  Continue reading