The Fault in Our Stars

Reading Time: 5 minutes Buy at Amazon John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars was recommended by a sixth form student, who said reading it had changed her life. Any book that can be that influential is worth reading, so I downloaded it to my kindle as soon as I got home. It coincided with a Times article about how this ‘nerd’ had become a teen-lit favourite, and I’d watched his ted-talk about Paper Towns (the title of one of his books) and how online education has the potential to change the world (he is apparently also a prolific vlogger, having tutored his brother …

Jack Maggs: A problem of expectations

Reading Time: 3 minutes The problem with Jack Maggs (Kindle) isn’t really a problem with the novel – it’s the expectations it’s sold with. The description suggests it’s a “variation on Great¬†Expectations, in which Dickens’s tale is told from the viewpoint of Australian convict Abel Magwitch which isn’t really what I got. What I expected was a close relation. What I got was more like a third cousin twice removed. There are similarities; Maggs is a convict, transported for life, and has made good in Australia. He’s given a young man, Henry Phipps, a good education and a home to live in (which Maggs …

12 into 13: headspinning review

Reading Time: 5 minutes I hope that, when I look back over my writing career, I recognise 2012 as an important year. I think quite a bit¬†has changed in the way I approach writing, and it’s starting, in small ways, to pay off. If you’d asked me, I’d have always said I wanted to write – but anyone can say that they want to write a book. In fact, I’ve got four half-novels and a dozen quarter-short stories on my hard drive, but very little actual finished work. During 2012, though, I have finished three short stories, self-published, on kindle, one previously written, and …

How to get started on a story

Reading Time: 4 minutes At work this week, following a busy summer that’s left me feeling like I didn’t really have a holiday at all, we’ve been looking at their creative writing. Their task is to build towards a short story using a poem as a springboard for ideas. Towards the end of the week, we came across an interesting stumbling block that made me think a bit more about stories in particular, and what they are intending to write. We were writing the opening of a story using techniques gathered from other writers, having looked at examples and what we liked in an …