Do, or do not

Yoda quote - Do, or do not

The first and really only thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a writer. I loved books—loved the language that swept across the page, the worlds authors took me to and the revelations they unfurled. If I *had to dedicate my life to a single vocation, then this was it. I was …

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In the Long Grass – flash fiction

In the Long Grass. SIlhouette of long grass and reeds in a pinkish dusky light. Behind, through the haze, an arachnoid centaur horror.

This was supposed to be a piece of flash fiction but it kind of grew in the telling. I went with it. As ever, I began with an inspirational image (this one courtesy of Eygló Daða Karlsdóttir) and three Key Words: Leavings, Hustle, Chuck As the story progressed and the antagonist insinuated herself into my …

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Line edit love

Line edit love image by Tim Marshall at Unsplash

The art of writing is telepathic, communication in absentia. We can’t see the author’s facial expressions, we can’t hear their inflections as they tell their tale, feel their trembling excitement, smell their fear, nor taste their triumph. The mute shape of words are all that remain, modified by punctuation then stamped onto the page for …

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The Witches – boardgame review

The Witches - cover art

Fantasy fans will be more than familiar with the Witches from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, but on the off chance you’re not a big reader – or simply haven’t gotten around to them yet – let me fill you in on the relevant bits. Pratchett’s witches may look like your stereotypical black-clad hags, but Granny …

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For the many – flash fiction

A medieval warrior on horseback looks across a desolate landscape at a mountainous thing: a space shuttle on its launchpad, overgrown and forgotten.

We’re back in Flash fiction territory once more, stretching our creative muscles for a bit of fun. The inspirational image is called Cyberpunk, by artist Yuri Shwedoff, and the Key words we have to utisilise are Mercian, Rain God, and Laughter – brought to us this month by Peter Coleborn from a mysterious bit of …

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(Net)working hard

You can be a smashing writer, smoothly running your business from the comforts of your home, but if you lack connections it’s damned hard to make a success of it. Fear not! Opportunities to meet people in the industry abound if you have the courage and the will to push yourself forward. We’re coming into …

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Nunkie’s M.R. James

Robert Lloyd Parry in full flow as M.R. James

ChillerCon is just around the corner, and my favourite storyteller will be there, so I thought it apt to reshare, expand and update my thoughts on Robert Lloyd Parry’s performed readings of M.R. James’ classic ghost stories. We’ll kick off with a primer for those who don’t know about M.R. James, so if you’re familiar …

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Facing fears

Facing fears

Fear leers at us through the cracked lens of time; a thousand different forms threaten to reach through, clawing at our stomachs, crushing our throats, spearing our hearts with electric jolts. The present is not the problem, you understand. In the here-and-now we need only face what is and respond accordingly, but our minds… our …

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Shush – flash fiction

Shush - flash fiction

As previously discussed, writing is hard, but I feel a responsibility as an editor to keep myself at the sharp end of it, my own skills to better empathise with and advise my clients. I picked out an evocative image to inspire me (those big bullies up there), and three key words I’d have to …

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Losing the plot

Losing the plot

Some people have a very clear path in mind when it comes to writing. They’re super-organised: plotting it all in advance, figuring out the twists and turns of action and emotion. It sounds great in principle, but my brain doesn’t work that way. I’m more of a surfer, catching the wave of inspiration as it …

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Mansions of Madness – game review

Mansions of Madness - game review

I’ve played stacks of table top games over the past few years, ranging from the simplest piss-around to the most mind-bendingly complex time-sinks. I’ve enjoyed a hell of a lot of them, but the experience is almost always intellectual rather than visceral. Like video games, most table-tops employ a narrative structure of some kind, but …

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Just… so

Just... so

It started out with colouring, back when I was little – vast areas of white waiting to be brought to life with wax crayons, coloured pencils or felt-tip pens. The materials were always low quality, of course. We were poor. Crayons snapped under eager hands, pencils tore gashes in cheap paper, which had a habit …

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Rotten Heart – flash fiction

Rotten Heart - flash fiction

As there’s a spare week this month, I thought I’d have another crack at some flash fiction. I was pleased with how last week’s came out, though appalled at my timing in retrospect. I mean, come on, Dion – a visceral piece about a miscarriage that close to Mother’s Day? Oof. My apologies. For this …

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Stilled Life – flash fiction

Stilled Life - flash fiction

Now that I’ve started to charge for my audio work, I’m flipping my Hobby weeks back to writing flash fiction. As previously discussed, writing is hard, but I feel a responsibility as an editor to keep myself at the sharp end of it, honing my own skills to better empathise with and advise my clients. …

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Perspective matters

Perspective matters

Perspective is critical to story. It provides the narrative voice your readers follow, gives us crucial insights and privileged information about characters and events; it even dictates (to a certain degree) how the plot unfolds. Fundamentally, it is the mechanism by which we understand and engage with the narrative. Get it right and you have …

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Blood Bowl 2 – game review

Blood Bowl 2 - game review

Last year I set up a Blood Bowl competition with seven pals via Steam. This weekend saw the final round of The Smash ’n’ Grab Classic, and it has been a glorious success—so much so, we want to expand our group and start a brand new tournament. (More on that later.) If you are already …

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The end, and after

Li'l Pete and Lucy-pie

It’s been a difficult time. Those of you who follow me on social media will know that our beloved puss has been ill for a long while. On Wednesday 23rd Feb, my wife gently suggested that I spend a bit of quiet time with Lucy while I still could. We snuggled up together on a …

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Killing Hitler is Easy – a performed reading

Killing Hilter is Easy - a performed reading

‘Kareem’s heart burned at being outplayed, at so many people being turned against him so easily. He reached the road on which the temple stood, and stopped. “Let me guess, they revived nationalist Odinism,” he said.’ With the advent of time-travel, history itself can be reshaped to fit our highest ideals. There are endless worlds …

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Walking the tightrope

Walking the tightrope

There is a certain precarious feeling that will be familiar to any of you out there who are part of the gig economy. It doesn’t matter whether you’re building up your own freelance business (like yours truly) or if you’re chained to a corporation on a zero-hours contract—you have no surety of income, and that’s …

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Splashes of Darkness – November edition

Splashes of Darkness - Nevember edition

Comic-books are a medium, not a genre; they can tell any story and suit any palate. You want horror? I’ve got bottles of the stuff. Welcome to ‘Splashes of Darkness.’  I’m archiving my Splashes of Darkness posts for Ginger Nuts of Horror here at The Fine-toothed Comb as well, for easy access in case you …

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