The Writing Life: Aiming High

For me, aiming high in writing is to simply try to do the best I can, write as well as I can, and try to express my ideas in a way that satisfies both my potential readers and myself. But of course, there is always more to it than that, or this article could start …

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Why I Write Fantasy: Honouring Influences Without Being a Slave to Them.

I think many writers spend some time forging their own writing identity: the what it is they want to write, and how they wish to present it to others. For many a young writer there is a phase of aping the things they love, and it can be a very conscious process. It certainly was …

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Why I Write Fantasy: The Travel Begins at Home Edition

All writing, it seems to me, begins in your own head. Sometimes it will be written as a strong spontaneous reaction to outside stimulus – protest songs, polemical essays, critical feuds, a satirical impulse to start telling a particular story in order to hit a particular target, but for me, the story starts as a …

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The Writing Life: Travel as Inspiration

For a long time I did not travel. My memories of flight were fuzzy – laying my jacket down on the floor and sleeping between the seats on a flight across the Atlantic in 1974. The weird sensation of the ground I walked on not being solid, the vague bounce I had never previously experienced …

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Why I Write Fantasy: The Christmas Presents Edition

In the late 2000s there were two years in a row when my sister sent me fantasy novels for Christmas. These are always welcome, and the choices both years were excellent and made a lasting impression on me, enough for me to consider them contemporary influences: books so good they raised the bar, made me …

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The Writing Life: Letting Go of Your First Love

The first love you wrote, I mean. Of course, many authors successfully publish their first loves, and do astoundingly well. For others there is another story, of a first, or first and second and more novels written and discarded, before a book is released to the reading world. I’m guessing that one of those discarded …

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Why I Write Fantasy: A Suitcase of Treasures, Part 2

Last week, I wrote about the green suitcase in our garage that yielded two world-changing books, the first of which was Nine Princes in Amber. The second book I found in that fateful suitcase (and now that I write about this, it is such a strange happenstance to have so impacted an impressionable child) was …

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The Writing Life: Being True to Your Instincts

As I’ve said in other articles, I’ve known forever that I would be a writer, and that I would write fantasy stories. Apart from one cathartic journey into writing nursing fiction, which still had elements of the fantastical (how many nurses find themselves talking to the devil and questioning their own sanity?), all of my …

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Why I Write Fantasy: A Suitcase of Treasures, Part 1

In the mid 70s I lived for a couple of years in the USA. When we moved back to Scotland, a large green suitcase came with us. This piece of luggage lived in our garage for years, and when I eventually explored it, I discovered that among the many odds and ends it housed were …

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The Writing Life: It Takes a Team

I tried for years to transform my writing from manuscript to novel on my own, and for years it did not work. Eventually, I recognized that I needed a team. Only through accepting this, that I was not equipped to do it alone, did I finally flourish…and I intend to do a whole lot more …

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