last updated: 26 January 2019
Walter Mosley's novel Devil in a Blue Dress is a noir masterpiece pulling together threads of race, friendship and betrayal, and political corruption in the context of post-war America. Read the book, then watch the movie—and watch the movie for the electric portrayal of Mouse by Don Cheadle.
...continue reading: Devil in a Blue Dress: the movie
last updated: 24 January 2019
Macbeth is one of William Shakespeare's best known plays. Traditionally, it is viewed as a tragedy, but it could be viewed as a crime story and the interrogated with five questions.
...continue reading: Five Questions: Macbeth
last updated: 22 January 2019
Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley introduces Easy Rawlins, an African American World War II veteran who has just lost his job and needs money to pay his mortgage. By asking five questions we can get to the heart of the story.
...continue reading: Five Questions: Devil in a Blue Dress
last updated: 10 January 2019
I'm an author which means I spend much of my day editing digital files. As I write, in practice what I'm doing is committing my thoughts to digital files. If my files get lost or damaged, then my work is lost, and so over time I've adopted processes to minimize the risk of loss. In developing these processes, my aim has been not simply to be able to recover lost work, but to also ensure I can recover that work without any delay so I can keep working without pause. This is my process.
...continue reading: Back Up Process
last updated: 7 January 2019
The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth was published in 1971. The subsequent movie based on the novel was released in 1973. In the (nearly) fifty years since these releases many have tried to emulate both, but few have bettered the originals. If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, you should rectify that immediately. And if you have read/watched, you'll understand why both are worth revisiting.
...continue reading: The Day of the Jackal
last updated: 5 January 2019
The Day of the Jackal is a story about a failed assassination attempt. Five questions can explain the central premise on which the story is built.
...continue reading: Five Questions: The Day of the Jackal
last updated: 3 December 2018
Behind every book, and woven into every story, is a mix of ideas and influences. If you want to know more about the story behind the story in my books—the ideas, the influences, the characters, the real world events—then start here.
...continue reading: Behind Every Story
last updated: 1 December 2018
Many people have never heard of the singer-songwriter John Martyn. Let me give you a quick introduction.
...continue reading: John Martyn
last updated: 21 November 2018
I outline my stories before I begin writing and as part of that process I outline each scene. I have a simple template to put some structure around my thoughts for each scene and to ensure I hit the key points. This note includes my starting point template for scene outlining.
...continue reading: Scene Outline: Starting Point
last updated: 21 November 2018
As an author, I outline my stories before I begin writing. When I begin to outline, it helps to have a template to put some structure around my thoughts and to work as a framework where I can assess and understand the ideas I'm pushing around. This note includes my starting point template for outlining a book.
...continue reading: Story Outline: Starting Point
last updated: 21 November 2018
There is much to commend the three act structure, but it can also be too unspecific, and for this reason, I like to break the acts down into smaller more manageable chunks when I think about writing stories.
...continue reading: Three Act Structure
last updated: 20 November 2018
Categories and tags are applied to Write Once, Then Link posts to classify the content. Here's an explanation of how categories and tags have been implemented on this site and how they can help you find what you're looking for.
...continue reading: Categories and Tags: an Explanation
last updated: 18 November 2018
For the reader, the first scene is literally the first thing they will read after they have committed to trying a book. For an author, this is the point where they have to start delivering on the promise—they need to deliver on the expectations that led the reader to decide that this book would be the next book they read.
...continue reading: First Scene to Hook the Reader
last updated: 17 November 2018
Many authors use word count as a measure of how much work they have completed. While there are benefits to this approach, focusing at the word count loses sight of the work that is necessary to get the words down. A better approach may be to use the Pomodoro technique and count Pomodoros. Read why this is an approach you should adopt.
...continue reading: Written Work: Improving the Quantity and the Quality
last updated: 8 November 2018
Killing Eve is the best thing I've seen on TV for a while. Let me try and encourage you to watch.
...continue reading: Killing Eve
last updated: 7 November 2018
The maxim never do today what you can put off until tomorrow probably sounds like the ultimate justification for laziness. In truth, it's one of the best ways to focus and improve productivity.
...continue reading: Never Do Today What You Can Put Off Until Tomorrow
last updated: 25 October 2018
A scene is the basic unit of a story. It is a self-contained element of a story that can exist on its own and is the minimum viable self-contained unit of a story. A novel is—in essence—a series of scenes.
...continue reading: Scene Basics
last updated: 24 October 2018
Sir Isaac Newton was an English mathematician, astronomer, and physicist who is reputed to have formulated his theory of gravity while watching the fall of an apple. In 1687 he set out his laws of motion. While these laws may have originated from scientific research, they apply equally to storytelling.
...continue reading: The Physics of Story Telling
last updated: 19 October 2018
There's a notion about multitasking—it's touted as a route to efficiency and greater productivity. In reality, it's one of the most counter-productive approaches to working.
...continue reading: The Myth of Multitasking
last updated: 15 October 2018
When looking at tools to help build websites, while static site generators offers significant advantages, there are still benefits to content management systems that make them attractive. However, for under $100 you can add the functionality to a static site and remove many of the last few reasons to consider a content management system.
...continue reading: Easing the Pain Points with Static Site Generators