How I Write, by TM Logan

TM Logan is former Daily Mail science reporter, covering stories on new developments in a wide variety of scientific fields. He is Deputy Director of Communications at the University of Nottingham and lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and two children. His debut thriller, Lies, will be published by Bonnier Zaffre in May 2017. He is currently working on his next stand-alone thriller.

I get distracted easily. Or I’m not good at multitasking, or maybe both. My desk – in the spare bedroom – faces the wall so there’s nothing to distract me, no window, no view, no outside world. No TV, no radio. Nothing to tempt me away from sitting in that chair and putting my hands on the keyboard.

Fewer distractions in my writing space means it’s easier for me to reach that magical place where I’m not sitting in the chair any more but right in the middle of the story with my characters, living and breathing every moment with them, hearing and seeing them. Falling into the page and being there as the story comes alive around me. And then when I take a step back and look at my desk clock again, an hour has gone by as if it was five minutes.

When I start a first draft I get a diary, photocopy the ‘Year at a glance’ page at the back, and stick it on the wall by my desk. I will write every day, without fail, until the first draft is done. It helps me to maintain momentum, to keep on top of the plot and stay in touch with my characters. I use the photocopied page to keep a tally of my word count, although it’s less about the number and more about making links in the chain and keeping that promise to myself. If I’ve written for 30, or 50, or 100 days straight, I’m less likely to take a day off and break the chain (at least that’s the idea).

The walls around my desk are generally covered with notes, chapter plans, lists, reminders and scraps of paper with ideas and quotes for the story I’m working on. When ideas occur to me during the day, at work or doing the dishes or reading in bed, I’ll scribble them on a post-it note and stash them in my wallet. It can be anything from a line of dialogue to a story turn, a particular mannerism, a great location, a sound, a smell, the colour of the sky or anything else that catches my eye.

All those notes go up on the wall – and often end up on the page.

TM Logan, January 2017
Follow him on Twitter @TMLoganAuthor

How We Read Now

The following blog is an adaptation of a talk given by our Founder and Publisher, Anna Jean Hughes, at the 2016 Schilling Conference in Copenhagen.

LOOK, it’s a cat reading:

What do you do while reading a book these days? This may seem like a bit of a facile question. You’re reading, right? But are there other things that you do? Highlight a particularly meaningful line and punctuate it with a “How Apposite” in the margins, or scrawl the words into your notebook for future reflection. Do you Google what in the hell ‘apposite’ means, then tap out the quote into Twitter (!!! #apposite) and underline the word in your marginalia for extra emphasis. OR look up the author, read their Q&A and find out that they, like you, also munch many a peanut butter jelly sandwich. Then check out a video of them reading said meaningful line on Youtube (through a mouthful of PBJ).

Continue reading How We Read Now

How I Write by Chris Brosnahan

Stave VII imageA lot of the time, I don’t. That’s been the truth for a little while and it’s something I’ve finally turned around recently, having tried and failed with a few projects since I finished Deadlines in 2014. In fact, 2015 was a year of frustration with regards to longer projects. The only satisfactory writing project that I did was a story that was published in a True Detective anthology called ‘Walk Hand In Hand Into Extinction’, featuring preachers and child murder in the Deep South. Continue reading How I Write by Chris Brosnahan

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By Niki Barbery Bleyleben

Photo on 08-07-2012 at 11.10 #3 - Version 2Niki Barbery Bleyleben is a Bolivian-American social scientist and artist living in London.

I just returned home.

Flew into London on a Bolivian tailwind in time to witness the extraordinary turn of events that have forever changed the course of history.

For the past year, I have become increasingly preoccupied with the concept of HOME; the way in which we define our borders: our continents, our countries, our communities, our families. It’s hard not to be, given the fact that there are more displaced people living in the world today than ever before in recorded history. The most recent stats coming out of the UN suggest that the number of people forcibly displaced due to war or persecution exceeds 65 million (more that the entire population of Great Britain). Continue reading HOME