Tag Archives: Sci-fi

Built to Last

I was involved recently in a project called 26 for Norwich, in which 26 writers from 26.org.uk teamed up with 26 students and graduates from UEA to research 26 different writers from Norwich. I worked with Jane Chittenden to research Mary Mann, a writer who is criminally under-appreciated.  CRIMINALLY. Someone needs to be arrested. Jane wrote about her, and you can read that here.

I wrote a story inspired by Mary Mann and the time Jane and I spent in the archives in Norwich looking through her old letters, photos and manuscripts. Of course, as Mann wrote stories about rural Norfolk life around 1890-1920, based on the stories of people who lived around her, mainly poverty-stricken farmers, I decided to write a sci-fi story.

You can read it on the website for the project, along with loads of other stuff inspired by writers from Julian of Norwich to Ian McEwan.

It’s called Built to Last, have a look here.


Deity Feedback by Tim Clare

A really cool poet by the name of Tim Clare does a weekly blog post called ‘Death of 1000 Cuts’, and this week he picked the first page of my very unfinished novel Deity to subject to a kind dusting of criticism delivered in warm, cooing tones.

Tim’s a really good performance poet, listen to him here. He also plays ukulele and likes sci-fi, video games and editing fiction, so he’s like me but about thirty levels higher.

Read what he has to say here. Key phrases include: ‘readers enjoy being strangers in strange lands’, ‘this is fundamentally good writing practice’ and ‘this is not of a publishable standard’.

Thanks Tim! I’m feeling motivated now, maybe I will give Camp Nano a go this month…

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Chapter 1

I mentioned in my last posts (I almost wrote ‘recent’ instead of last, but…) that I was going to try writing a choose-your-own-adventure novel. I’ve finished the first chapter as part of Camp Nano (http://campnanowrimo.org), an event I’ve talked about in a previous post but which I will describe anyway. Participants attempt to write 50,000 words in one month. which works out as 1,616 words every day. I’m already falling behind… That is to be expected, though, as no good nanowrimo/camp nano attempt ever goes without a last-minute rush for the word count on the last day. If you’ve been meaning to get round to writing something but never quite managed it then you should definitely try it this month or in November (http://www.nanowrimo.org/). The idea is to write without editing anything, just get it on the page so you have something to work with.

Anyway, here’s chapter 1. The sections are all ordered, unlike other choose-your-own-adventures, but only because it’s easier to write it that way. I’ll jumble them up at the end. Start with section 1 and scroll down or use ctrl+f to find the section appropriate to the decisions you make. It’s not too complicated!

Note that there is a proper end because it’s only the first chapter, but you may find yourself at a section which says [end]. That would be because you’ve died (sorry).

If you find any mistakes then please point them out. Editing this will be tricky and this is just a first draft.



Untitled Adventure

[1] (start)

You wake up with your face underwater and panic. The splashing of your arms echoes around you. No-one ever taught you how to swim and your feet can’t find the floor. You sink into the cool water but as it reaches up to stroke your mouth your hand hits something and you grab onto it. It feels like a metal rail. Opening your eyes is difficult, but you do it.

You’re in one of many pools in a long room. The walls are white and the water you’re in is bright blue. Fluorescent lights flicker on the ceiling. They do a poor job of illuminating the room. The water and the air around you are cool. There is a chemical smell in the air.

These impressions bombard your senses. You feel like you’ve been asleep for a long time, so long that your senses are all brand new.

You shiver. You’re wearing a thin rubber bodysuit that stretches from your ankles to your neck and your wrists, but it isn’t enough to keep you warm.

Do you climb out [2] or investigate the pool [3]? Continue reading

Camp Nanowrimo

So this month there’s an event called Camp Nanowrimo running where participants write 50,000 words of a novel in a month. That’s 1,667 words a day… Quite a lot. I’m giving it a half-hearted attempt since I only remembered it was running a week into it. I’m on just over 6,000 words at the moment, which is a bit pathetic. I’ll do it properly in July and maybe August. Watching your word count move closer to the 50,000 word target is a great incentive. Everyone reading this should give it a go!

This is the first part of the story I’m writing. It’s only a first draft and unedited (there really isn’t time to write AND edit 1,667 words a day), so beware of typos and (gasp) the passive voice.

Also, I’m trying to get some stuff published in magazines at the moment so I’ll be more selective about what I upload here. Most magazines want stories that haven’t been published before, and putting something on a blog counts as publishing, even if it only gets five views.

Final note, why isn’t ‘blog’ in the WordPress dictionary? And neither is ‘WordPress’, I see. MADNESS.



‘Invalid opinion, please try again.’

Monkey kneels on her bunk with her head bowed and her hands clasped together in front of her.

‘Forgive me, Deity,’ she says. She thinks for a moment. Around her the Doolittle hummed as it continued its pilgrimage through space. ‘It’s just that I’m sure I saw something when I went to the bridge two days ago.’

‘My sensors detected nothing. Your opinion is still invalid. Your opinion will be removed by free will or catechism.’

‘Yes, I see.’ Monkey frowns. ‘I suppose I’ve just been uneasy ever since we picked up the Grievous.’

‘I have not provided incentive to be uneasy. This is an irrational opinion.’

‘I know. I am sorry to be wrong, Deity. But… Please remind me of the difference between fact and opinion.’ She had seen something. She was sure. Continue reading