All Write Now II: More Great Writing Music

Three years ago I wrote about the kind of music I like to stick on when I’m writing. A good bit of music can be inspirational and atmospheric, helping you to sink into a creative state of mind. And if you’re writing in public, it can also help to block out the sounds of wailing infants and tradesmen ordering lattes.

I still listen to the music I lauded in my last blog post but, in the three years since I wrote my first list, I’ve added a few more albums to my arsenal. It’s good to have a few options for writing music as I find that as you get too familiar with something, you start engaging with it more and waiting for your favourite bits. And when you’re engaging too much with the music, you aren’t engaging enough with your writing.

So here’s a few more ideas to help channel your thoughts and block out the family argument at the next door table. Read More

From Childhood’s Hour: Early Influences on My Writing

What makes any of us what we are? I think most people – myself included – reckon it’s a combination of nature and nurture. That is, what we are naturally, and what we learn from others and from our experience.

Our tastes in things – the days out we like to go on, the kinds of people we like to hang out with, the kind of books we like to read – these are all influenced by the way we are as well as the things we’ve experienced. And we can zoom in to examine what influences inspire an author to writing.

I like writing about all things dark, fantastical and horrifying – you can read my books about witches, folksy cults and haunted carnivals for yourself. I’m pretty sure the groundwork for my interest in horror was laid from an early age. Here’s a few memories that I think may have been the most resonant.
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Where to Write in Brighton

I think I’ve mentioned before that I prefer writing in public. Because I’m actively going out to write, it helps to define my time as writing time, and it gives me a sense of urgency. As in: I need to finish this chapter before they noticed I finished my coffee forty minutes ago.

I do the bulk of my writing before I go to my day job, so I’m usually doing my thing between 0700 and 0830 in the morning. So when I take you on my tour of my regular haunts, remember that I’m not exactly going peak time here. My opinions are based on this.

I’m going to rate these establishments on a few criteria. ♥ are out of five:

Ambience and Décor – how the place looks and feels. ♥♥♥♥♥ = luxury; ♥ = shithole

Noise – pretty important to a trying-to-concentrate writer. ♥♥♥♥♥ = silent; ♥ = squealing baby nursery

Coffee value – incorporating cost and quality of said libation. ♥♥♥♥♥ = 50p for a large Americano with one of those little biscuits on the side; ♥ = £5 for a chipped mug of instant

Without further ado, let’s take a tour.
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The Best Horror Novels… Ever

I love horror. I love reading horror novels, watching horror films, listening to horror-themed rock. I also write horror; I like to think I’m a horror author before being a writer of any other genre.

Naturally, it’s occurred to me once or twice to search for the best horror novels ever written. Different website and publications have different lists, but a certain clutch of books and authors tended to crop up more than others.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present for your reading pleasure, a compilation of all those stories that seemed to make the most impact on the world of horror. I’ve read some and not others, so I’ll write my own summaries where I can and leave the rest to Amazon. We’ll work our way through in chronological order, shall we?

Without further ado, let us plunge into a world of untrammeled terror…
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Why You Should List Every Book You Read

Last year I began a little experiment.  I decided to make a note of every book I read.

Why? I’m not sure; part of it was to see how many books I get through.  I firmly believe that all writers should read lots – after all, it’s only by reading you see what others are achieving with language – and I wanted to see if I read as much as I thought I did.

What I found was interesting.  Read More