Creativity and Inspiration

I’ve been a creative person for much of my life, but it’s only recently that I’ve begun to think about what exactly that means. First of all, what is creativity? If you ask a hundred people, you’ll very probably get a hundred different answers, each of which is in complete contrast to the other ninety-nine. It’s not that everybody’s wrong, either. It’s just that, like beauty, creativity’s in the eye of the beholder. Having said that, here’s my take on the subject. First of all, we never create anything out of whole cloth.…Read more

Janus — Happy New Year

Those who know Roman mythology will remember that January is named for the god Janus, patron of beginnings and endings. Here’s a story I wrote some time ago about the shenanigans he might get up to today. Janus It’s essential to have the right one in charge. An earlier version of this story appeared on the Reedsy Prompts page. ————— “Hey, Janus, you got a minute?” The two-faced god didn’t bother turning around to regard the being who’d just tapped him on the shoulder. “Hi, Chronos,” he said with his back face, “isn’t…Read more

The Long and the Short of it

I complained to my mother the other day because I had just received another raft of rejections and was being ignored by a whole load of other agents and publishers. I’m “only” selling short stories, despite having sent out queries for my dark urban fantasy anthology 81 times this year and my Young Adult space opera novel 100 times. Not to mention the 135 submissions for 70 different short stories, for which I have recently received my ninth acceptance this year. Now, my mother is my greatest fan at the moment, despite telling…Read more

Anthologies & Genres

I’ve decided to talk about two different subjects this time, although they are connected. Anthologies Here’s a strange situation. I’ve written, revised and edited an episodic novel and three anthologies of dark urban fantasy, science fiction and horror, with more than one of the genres and sub-genres often blended into a single story. I have another five collections I’m still working on. The thing is, publishers and agents keep telling me that anthologies and story collections are on the way out; no one is interested in either publishing them or reading them, they…Read more

Originality

This is not one of my posts but something I am cross-posting from Edgeverse with their permission. It says something I've long suspected and have been saying for some time. I remember reading an interview with Frank Zappa in NME years ago. Despite its claims to the contrary, he said, the music industry was not looking for "the next great thing". Instead, they wanted the previous great thing. When the Beatles hit the scene, every label wanted a band with multiple guitar players. Boy bands were a non-starter until the first one became…Read more

Conditions: A Writer’s Perspective

Here are some thoughts I had during a writers' retreat in May, 2019, but it's still as true now. “I can’t write because…” Name your problem: space, time, people, inspiration, whatever. I have heard this, seen this, read this, more times than I care to remember, especially in the last year, since I became active in several FaceBook writing groups. Sorry, people, but that isn't a reason for not writing, it’s an excuse. And a lame one at that. Yesterday, I stood in the cottage where Samuel Taylor Coleridge lived for three years…Read more

Sharing Knowledge

Despite the horrors of Covid-19 and lockdowns, I hope this year brings you joy, good experiences and new knowledge. Apropos knowledge, I remember coming across a “law” of life some time ago, similar to Murphy’s Law: Roger Lincoln’s 2 Rules for Success:1. Never tell everything you know. It’s a good joke, but nowadays, hoarding knowledge is greedy, arrogant and, ultimately, insane. It’s greedy because knowledge doesn’t belong to anybody. Oh, I know that there is proprietary information, like the exact form and contents of a company’s databases or their communications protocols. Even their…Read more

Another Interview

I just received some links to an interview I did with an American friend who has her own podcast. The discussion was generally about writing. I thought people might be interested to hear what we talked about. Podbean: https://thewritershourcreativeconversations.podbean.com/e/stephen-oliver-on-reprogramming-your-mind/ Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/743kfTq81cl8zehJ67FCtF Breaker: https://www.breaker.audio/the-writers-hour-creative-conversations/e/74333204 Radiopublich: https://radiopublic.com/the-writers-hour-creative-convers-8QMzmO/s1!abe12 Spreaker: https://www.spreaker.com/user/12807063/stephen-oliver-on-reprogramming-your-min Backtracks: https://backtracks.fm/discover/s/the-writers-hour-creative-conversations/5805f4772e3bbc2f/e/stephen-oliver-on-reprogramming-your-mind/bcbb29e13520f590 Deezer: https://www.deezer.com/us/show/1513512 iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/stephen-oliver-on-reprogramming-your-mind/id1523697787?i=1000495495371 Tunein: https://tunein.com/podcasts/Education-Podcasts/The-Writers-Hour-Creative-Conversations-p1346601/?topicId=158139916 I will be taking part in another interview with her specifically about my book Unleash Your Dreams next week.Read more

Writing Excuses

It's that time of the year again, when people think about joining NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month. People undertake to write an entire novel in 30 days. I don't take part because I write all year round, to the tune of over 1.1 million words in eight years. However, many don't take part because of so-called writer's block. Again and again, in various Facebook forums, I've heard people complain about being blocked. I've written about dealing with this before (Becoming a Writer), but the next section contains the thoughts I had while…Read more

Submissions

I've been thinking a lot recently about submissions to agents, publishers and magazines, given that I'm sending out three different books and a whole bunch of short stories to them. I have come to several conclusions about how much work is involved, what information you need to know, and how much preparation you need to undertake. I'll call the agents, publishers and magazines APM's to shorten the article. I now have around a dozen different versions of my manuscripts on the computer. Some APM's want double-spaced, others 1.5 lines spacing. Some want Times…Read more
  • 1
  • 2