How to Invent a Religion: Part 1

Edifying Ætiologies An ætiology is a beginning of something expressed in historical or mythological terms, and therefore a highly appropriate concept with which to begin this short series. Last week I spotted a tweet which drove home to me the inherent problems with discussing religion in fiction. In the West, our experience of life is…

Scheduling Shenanigans

Over the last few weeks I have been taking on various projects which have eaten into my time and energy more than I had anticipated. As a result, I am not happy with the quality of some recent posts: I try to be informative and funny, but I am not convinced I am meeting either…

Write Like You Mean It 1

An erratic guide to consistent writing. Good writing is easy to describe but almost impossible to define. A significant part of this dichotomy is to be found in what some writers call 'the window': is the point of writing to show a beautiful world beyond the window ('clear glass') or is it to display the…

Writing a Hitchhiker’s Guide

Spoilers for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (radio and book series). That said, if you are worried about spoilers, it came out in the '70s! Get your act together! A very short time ago, a very short way from here - in astronomical terms - an author from an unfashionable clump of islands at…

Tinkering Time

Technology and I do not interface well. In fact, it is fair to say that material existence and I need to be supervised so that I do not accidentally come to harm. Much as I grouse about contemporary life, I would not have survived in the wild, or even a century ago, so no-one is…

Writing Strangely Familiar Things

Spoilers for Stranger Things (television series) seasons 1 - 2. On 15th July 2016, Netflix released the Duffer Brothers' Stranger Things (ST), a nostalgic love-letter to the '80s filled with concentrated fun and then ground down into an addictive substance and unleashed on the world, ensnaring an entire generation of unsuspecting viewers. Many fans resorted…

Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe

We live at a time in which not only is language changing around us, but we can look back over the centuries of linguistic change that have informed the present. Despite all our recent achievements, to find the paragons of the written word we must look to the past. Unfortunately, what we find there can…

Passive Activism

Thanks to Thematically Meandering for featuring my article about the passive voice. Follow this link for the original article and TM's own journey of discovery in the wacky world of words, as well as his reflections on the hard life of doctoral study. If, like me, you learnt to type in the 1990s or early…

Writing 40,000 Hammers

Spoilers for Warhammer 40,000, Warhammer Fantasy Battle, and derived media. The biggest fantasy here is that a sword will be of any use against... wait a minute...(Artist: Dan Scott - info for the artist's page greatly appreciated) In the last of the current series of fictional worlds we shall be examining the fantastic oddball that…