Writing Advice From Gene Wolfe

22 Apr

Find a very short story by a writer you admire.

Read it over and over until you understand everything in it. Then read it over a lot more.

Here’s the key part. You must do this. Put it away where you cannot get at it. You will have to find a way to do it that works for you. Mail the story to a friend and ask him to keep it for you, or whatever.

I left the story I had studied in my desk on Friday. Having no weekend access to the building in which I worked, I could not get to it until Monday morning.

When you cannot see it again, write it yourself. You know who the characters are. You know what happens.

You write it. Make it as good as you can.

Compare your story to the original, when you have access to the original again.

Is your version longer? Shorter? Why?

Read both versions out loud. There will be places where you had trouble.

Now you can see how the author handled those problems.

If you want to learn to write fiction, and are among those rare people willing to work at it, you might want to use the little story you have just finished as one of your models. It’s about the right length.

Pitching stories by email

16 Apr

It’s not every day that a throw away comment on a story submission page gets a response.
Especially not a response from the publisher, wanting to hear more about said comment.

I’d seen a sub open for Sherlock Holmes stories. I remarked how it was too bad my best Holmes stuff was already out there and it was a crying shame no-one was asking for Jane Austen stories because I had a killer.

Then the publisher said, we’ve got something like that coming up, pitch it to me.
Wanting to stay safe I said sent me this request from an official email and I will.

Which I have done today.

Let me tell you, trying to condense 2100 words (or thereabouts) into a half dozen lines or so isn’t easy.

I’ll let you know how it works out though.

I’m in a freaking BOOK!

14 Apr

Well folks, my story print debut is finally here!
With all profits going to Alzheimers UK, Crimson Cloak Publishing have released the anthology Steps In Time.

I am proud to be supporting a charity championed by Sir Terry, the book is available both real & electronic at a reasonable price too. I’ll deffo be getting one for my Kindle, just over 2 quid, super cheap!

If you or anyone you know has been effected by this condition, please consider offering your support by buying a copy. Plus there’s some killer stories in there!

Locating Springfield, A Simpsons Theory.

6 Apr

Can we use science to locate Springfield? Simple answer? YES.
Triangulation, the method of using 3 known points to find a location.

In the episode “Boy-Scoutz ‘n the Hood” Bart points to New York, a fixed geographical location.


Point 1 established.
We then have the street where Bart & Milhouse are standing. Point 2.


This point however is difficult, if not impossible to identify within the town.
Point 3. If we can define the relative location of Mr Burn’s house (in West Springfield) to Bart’s location, you have your 3 points.

Sadly this theory is killed for several reasons.

1) It’s impossible to tell where Bart is when he points.
2) Bart’s knowledge of geography is unreliable.
3) Bart is a known prankster, he could be pointing anywhere.

So while actual science MAY allow us to locate Springfield, the lack of data prevents it.

Happy Monday.

Falls Count Anywhere

4 Apr

Falls Count Anywhere, A Poem by Ray Daley.

I will throw you in the air, I will slam you on a chair,
I will fight you in my socks, I will shut you in a box.
I will do a frogstar splash, I will do a forearm smash,
I will do a figure four, I’ll call you a crashing bore.
I will see you in the ring, I’ll hit you with everything,
About our match; I will tell, We will take it bell to bell.


I thank you.

That’s Why (A Flash fiction story by Ray Daley)

31 Mar

That’s Why (A Flash fiction story by Ray Daley)

Gold. Because it’s always fucking gold.
They found gold, when they were drilling for oil.
So the Americans sent their troops in, just to “keep order”.
Obviously the Russians decided to send their troops in too. “On manouevers”
Then everyone followed suit. NATO. UNESCO. TESCO.
Hell, even the fucking Free Eskimo State sent a dogteam in.
“Strictly for hunting!”, according to their statement.

No-one knows who fired the first shot. The eskimo said he was just trying to scare off a Polar bear.
I guess we’ll really find out in 12,000 years when the radiation dies down a little.

Suffice to say the world has a whole lot less troops these days.

Black Ops pay well.
Dad didn’t get half as much on overwatch in Honduras.
But it was the gold. That’s why Mum went to Iceland.

It’s always the fucking gold, right?


A Muppet Kind Of Poem

28 Mar

Once upon a time lived a little piggy, sitting on a log.
Little piggy said to herself, “I think I love a frog!
Little Piggy looked at herself, she was quite a Miss.
Froggy saw her once and he said this:
“Stuff that for a game of soldiers, I’m off home!
Little Miss Piggy ended up living alone



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