B*tches in Bookshops


Read so hard / I memorise

The Iliad / I know lines

Watch me spit / classic lit

Epic poems / that don’t rhyme

If you’re a Kanye/Jay-Z fan who’s also a writer, this is pretty much the best thing ever. Well played, ladies.


‘Our Human’ by Adam-Troy Castro

There’s a wonderful short story on Tor.com – Our Human, by Adam-Troy Castro.

I’d not heard of Castro before now, but I definitely want to read more of his work; apparently there are a couple of novels set in the same universe.

This novella is slightly reminiscent of the dark side of Banks’ Culture novels: ugly, flawed, populated by creatures and races with very different moral codes to our own, but all of the same worst characteristics.

Great sci-fi.

Social Media Holy Trinity Unlocked!

Yup – not satisfied with just my blog and Twitter account, I’ve created a Facebook page. You can check it out at www.facebook.com/dan.harris.writer, or click the link next to the smiling face on the right.

As I write this, Facebook is telling me, quite bluntly, that no-one likes me. Would you like to be the first to like me? In the future you can say you knew me before I was cool! (To which people will reply “before who was cool?”)

I’m unsure if I’m about to unleash a death-spiral of cross posting – the blog posts go to the Facebook page, and also to the Twitter account. But the tweets also go to the Facebook page, so this will probably end up there twice! Now I just need to work out a way of sending Facebook updates automatically to this blog, and the infinite loop will bring down the infrastructure of the entire internet.

And yes. The cart is now so far in front of the horse that it’s circumnavigated the globe, and is about to catch up. I will actually publish a book soon, I promise.

The Joy of a New Project

With my completed WIP currently with my beta readers for feedback, I’ve started on my second book – tentatively titled ROGUE. I’ve spent my writing time in the last week or so working on the outline, and now have chapter summaries for the whole book, which is very satisfying.

It’s one of the most exciting parts of writing, starting a new project. Read more…

Memorable Characters in Sci-Fi and Fantasy

One of the reasons I love sci-fi and fantasy is the scope to create larger-than-life characters who really strike a chord with the reader (or viewer, depending on the medium). The success of The Avengers proves the public’s love affair with these super, heroic characters is still going strong.

But I also think the movie representations of such characters are always going to be shallow compared to what can be done in literature. It’s just a consequence of the shorter form – there’s only so much characterisation you can do in 120 minutes. Here are a couple of examples of some of my favourite, iconic SF/F characters, who could never be done justice on the big screen.

Read more…

‘Listen To Constructive Criticism’

Here is another marvellous post from Nicola Morgan’s ‘Help! I Need a Publisher’ blog, this time on how to respond to criticism.

“[The writer] continued by explaining that the person giving her feedback had said lots of positive things but had suggested that x and y should be changed, but that she’d actually got a publishing deal and x and y were retained. Therefore, the person giving the feedback was wrong.

Oh goshy goshy gosh. And feckity gosh all over again.”

It’s talking about writers, of course, but the advice actually applies to anyone who ever gets feedback about anything – everyone in other words! You should read the whole thing, because as always Nicola whacks the nail firmly on the head.

It’s quite pertinent to me at the moment. Read more…

That’s a Lot of Paper

I just printed off a copy of my MS so my fiancée can get her red pen out and give me some notes. It’s… bigger than expected:

Save the trees!

328 pages – or 164 A4 sheets of double-sided, 1.5 line-spaced size 12. Emptied my brand new printer cartridge!

Satisfying, though.

Writing While-U-Wait

What to do when you can’t write, or edit, your WIP? Like now, when I’m waiting for feedback from my beta readers. (Or rather I will be when a new printer cartridge arrives in the mail, so I can print a copy, so my fiancée can read it. I bet Stephen King never has this problem. Anyway.)

You write the next thing, of course! I’ve had the high-level premise for the next book knocking around for a while now, and today I started putting some bones on it. I’ve now got a chapter-summary outline for the first half, and biographies for the four protagonists, which I think is a pretty good day’s work.

The second book is set in the same universe as the first, a few months later, with a slight overlap in characters – I’m not sure if this will be confusing when I start switching between projects. I hope not.

Another pitfall I’ll need to avoid is due to the setting – the story is primarily based on a harsh, desert world, with an advanced but still fiercely tribal culture. I’ve already had to throw a few possible plot points away because I realised I’d unconsciously ripped them wholesale from Dune.

Damn you, Frank Herbert. Using up all the good desert-based material. Oh well. I’ll manage!