Love to write about…magic

I thought it would make sense to talk about the things that I have a passion for and perhaps explore why I write about them.

Magic! Whether, like me, you grew up reading Magician and dreaming of faraway worlds, or you came to magic more recently with a certain young wizard, there’s something undeniably ace about magic. The child in me just loves the possibilities.

There’s a real sense of wish fulfilment with magic. Fire from the hands, making yourself invisible, arguing constantly with your teenage mates, it‘s just so cool. I challenge anyone to deny the sense of yearning they get when reading about magic.

Writing about magic is equally great. The freedom that it gives; the chance it gives your characters to do all manner of things, unconstrained  by a certain power or ability is wonderfully freeing. It also gives you the chance to explore things that you just can’t without it.

In The Assembly, I wanted to explore and perhaps bring more logic to magic. I was however very conscious of the danger of explaining too much and, umm, taking the magic out of it. I think I hit quite a nice balance between keeping the mystery and grounding it in some kind of reality and I must admit I’m really pleased with it.

You’ll have to wait until book two to know what I’m talking about, but once you do, please let me know what think.


Love to write…Action scenes

Good action scenes. I hadn’t realised how exciting a written action scene could be until I started working my way through the Matthew Riley books. The man is a genius. For me, a well-composed action scene means one where you can see what’s happening as it’s happening. The ideal scene will carry you along with it, unable to break free or think about anything else. You are visualising, imagining in real time.

David Gemmell also did this wonderfully well, creating vivid fight scenes one frame at a time. I often get caught up in a book, forgetting where I am and what the time is, but it’s rarer for me to experience real excitement and a real physiological response. A great action scene does exactly that, setting my pulse racing and my hands clenching.

As a writer this challenge is ever-present. To take my reader to the edge of their seat, following the action with those nervous twitches you hope no one on the tube notices. I’m still figuring out what works and what doesn’t, but for me the visualising is key. I need to be able to see what’s happening easily and every step of the way. Break the logic, or skip a beat and you’re lost. As soon as you have to stop or look back a few lines to figure out what exactly is going on, the momentum stops and the spell is broken.

Are there any authors whose actions scenes you especially love?


Love to write about…Superheroes

I thought it would make sense to talk about the things that I have a passion for and perhaps explore why I write about them.

The first one can’t be avoided, try as I might and it’s superheroes. I’ve spent many hours brainstorming an alternative name (sorry, it’s true) without success. However you frame it, the name just works and everything else sounds shockingly cheesy.

I’ve read comics since I was a wee lad and there’s still something about superheroes that I just love. The powers, the cool suits, the hot chicks with alliterative names, it just works. What I love about the world of superheroes as well is the complete lack of limitation. They come from all sorts of places, from distant planets, to next door via some sort of disaster. I guess I feel that once you’ve bought into the myth of the superhero, why worry about logic? This feels wonderfully freeing, both as a reader and a writer.

In my own writing I wanted to explore the concept of superhero origins a little more deeply and try and create some kind of reasonable explanation. This has been done quite recently and I’ve really enjoyed the new perspectives on it. The concept that I explore in The Assembly was one of the driving forces behind me creating this particular series.

I also really wanted to explore the personal conflicts superheroes may have if their powers weren’t necessarily good, or had caused pain to themselves or others. I felt that there was room for exploring it in a really serious way and metaphorically exploring the impact that uniqueness and difference can have on people and their families. Or something like that.