Twenty Years of Harry Potter

20 years. Wow. Time has flown. It was 20 years ago that, while driving across to Ireland (via ferry) for a summer holiday (in very un-summery weather), I sat in the back of the car with my younger brother while our mum read aloud a strange new book from the school library about a boy called Harry who discovered he was a wizard. At this point the book was barely known about among my friends and classmates, but I felt like each page brought with it a cauldron full of fascination. I had no idea just how big it was all about to get. In the following years, Harry Potter books would become both my reason for and my first experience of pre-ordering from Amazon, and cause an excitement around waiting for the post to arrive on release day morning similar to that of waiting for Christmas. And the delivery always arrived with a smiling postie, like they knew exactly what...
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8 Tips For a Successful NaNoWriMo

8 Tips For a Successful NaNoWriMo

As NaNoWriMo is now less than a month away (!), I have been thinking back to how I approached the challenge last year. I hope that by doing so I can replicate my routine and the resulting success that it brought. Last time out, I made a few blog posts along the way about what I did, detailing writing routines and the mindset that I followed, but this article will group everything and more into one place. I do not claim to be an expert at NaNo, but these things helped for me last year, and 1/1 is a 100% record, however small it may be. My 8 tips for a successful NaNoWriMo  1.   Decide on your idea early. I think I settled on the idea that I would write a Christmas book around the end of August last year. A very basic plot outline came to my mind, and I knew what I wanted the feel of the book to be. This...
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Star Wars Story Analysis: Is Kylo Ren a Double Agent?

Star Wars Story Analysis: Is Kylo Ren a Double Agent?

With the blu-ray of The Force Awakens now sitting on my shelf, I've been able to revisit a couple of questions, theories and pieces of speculation that have arisen since I saw it in the cinema. The one that has particularly piqued my curiosity lately is a theory that I initially had no interest in following at all. It just seemed completely unrealistic and unlikely. But having re-watched the film, and having considered it some more, I think I may be starting to talk myself into thinking something of it. So, could Kylo Ren - yes, the villain of the film - actually be working for the Resistance?  Is Kylo Ren a double agent? This is a theory that has already been widely discussed, but this is my take on it.  (Spoiler warning) (more…)...
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A new chapter in the Star Wars Story: Rogue One

A new chapter in the Star Wars Story: Rogue One

Waking up on Thursday morning I was greeted by my iPad with the news that there was (finally!) a teaser trailer for the next Star Wars film. Still slightly groggy and sleepy, I loaded up YouTube to find... no teaser. Well, it was a teaser. It was a teaser for a teaser. A couple of seconds to promote a proper teaser trailer that would be released later that day. It is like they wanted me to have no chance of concentrating on anything for the entire morning. (more…)...
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The Art of Writing: Re… Planning?

They say the art of writing is rewriting. It may well be. However, I think much can be said for re-planning. I've posted before about my experience with Exile. I planned too much. I spent months on it. When I started writing, I suddenly felt like all my creativity was constrained by one plan. A detailed, unforgiving plan. I felt that if I strayed from it at all, then things would fall apart around me, and so I had no freedom as I wrote. It didn't work. The plan collapsed. But from the ruin emerged a huge amount of hope. Above, I did not write 'I wasted months on it'. Those months I spent on planning had provided me with a rich universe of ideas including characters, planets and lore waiting for the right story to bring them all to life. I stood back. Refocused. Last week, as my mind churned over a million work-related thoughts, a new plot formulated in the shadowy...
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