Scribophile – can it make you a more mature writer?

Writing is an art form.

(That may sound pretentious, but I’m setting up an analogy here, so roll with it.)

Storytelling should be evocative, on some emotional level, whether that emotion be excitement, empathy, poignancy or panic. Its value is in how it makes you feel.

But, like all art forms, storytelling requires two things: creativity and skill. You can be the greatest wordsmith in the world, but without emotional content, you’re just writing a thesis.

In the same breath, you can have the greatest story stewing in your brain, but without the means to convey it, that’s where it should stay.

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Dying for a Living – Kory M Shrum – [Book Review]

Zombies! 

They’re bloody everywhere aren’t they? Western media is awash with the shambling degenerates, mindlessly meandering through malls or ineffectively banging against baffling barriers of glass. Of all the stages of human life, only babies are more hopeless.

The zombie theme has reached saturation point – nay! It reached saturation point over a decade ago when 28 Days Later tried to reanimate the rotting genre with super-fast zombies. Cillian Murphy tried to trick us, but we knew what they were. You can call it “the Rage” all you like – they’re still zombies.

So while The Walking Dead went back to basics to find human drama in a world of brain-chomping corpses, Kory M Shrum sought an entirely different form to explore life after death.

Continue reading Dying for a Living – Kory M Shrum – [Book Review]

The Stone Man – Luke Smitherd – [Book Review]

There are two reviews one can write for Smitherd’s break-out 2012 novel The Stone Man. The first disregards the typos, missing words and other stylistic howlers…

And the other, does not.

I’ll therefore leave the latter for later, so you can stop reading if you think it unfair to criticise the editing of a self-published author. I’m still undecided as to whether it’s acceptable – at the fourth published version, no less – to still contain mistakes of this quantity.

But let’s say polish and quality don’t matter. Let’s say a story should be measured only on its characters, its immersive writing, its pacing and its emotional impact. How well does it do on the story-telling front?

(Note: contains some spoilers.)

Continue reading The Stone Man – Luke Smitherd – [Book Review]

A writer’s wedding

As followers of rightplacerighttim.com, you’ll no doubt be aware I got married recently. However, the old journalism adage of “Know your reader” has me in something of a quandary. My readers are split fifty-fifty between my friends and family, and the wider writing community, so though I’d like to chronicle the entire marriage, it seems only right to retain the interest of my writing readers with some relevancy.

To that end, I’ve identified three elements of my wedding that also directly relate to creative writing, in the hope I’ll satisfy everyone’s wishes.

There therefore will be no mention of Storm Katie, the flooding, the birth of a calf, the bra-for-booze shenanigans in the bar, nor the armed forces saluting each other in the buff on the dancefloor.

I’ll keep those stories for the pub.

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