All you need to know about the pros and cons of modern publishing

When I was a young buck with a typewriter, back when all this was fields and dinosaurs roamed the Earth, things were much simpler. You wrote a book, sent it to a publisher, they told you how horrible it was, and you repeated the process with the next publisher in…

He was there again. Exactly the same place, exactly the same time.

His car was waiting to go right on the roundabout and Carrie’s dashboard clock said 5.17. This time, she was three or four cars behind him, but she recognised his gleaming white Audi, and his spiky dark hair.

This old dog learned some new tricks, and wherever you are in your life’s journey, it’s never too late…or too early

I stared at her for a moment as she sat back in her chair. …

The scene of a tragedy often has a morbid fascination for kids . . . but things look very different in the dark

We stand beside the pond where the little kid died, and peer into it.

“Maybe his ghost’s in there,” Scooby says.

I look at him and shake my head. “Don’t be stupid. There’s no such thing as ghosts.”

“There is,” he says. “My Uncle Derek saw one, once.”

“Your Uncle…

Follow these guidelines to create a compelling synopsis for agents and editors

Chances are, if you want to submit your novel to an agent or publisher, you’re going to have to write a synopsis. For many writers, this seemingly simple task generates a dread and foreboding equalled only by the prospect of a full tax audit. It’s out of all proportion to…

7 tips to help you avoid accidentally becoming a writer

I’ve come to the conclusion that being a writer is too easy. It must be, if the current freelancing rates are anything to go by. I took a stroll through some of the popular content mills the other day — just for curiosity’s sake — and saw jobs posted that…

4 tips to help you write more convincing characters

Most of the writers I know — including me — are obsessed with people. They’re endlessly fascinated by how and why people do the things they do.

Which is just as well, because you can’t have fiction without people and you can’t have a story without characters. Do you find…

Ever had the weird feeling that you’re actually in your story?

Have you ever thought about what you’re actually doing when you sit down to write?

It seems to me that the act of writing is a very strange business indeed. Essentially, what we’re doing is fantasizing — making up events and people and various interactions — and then recording those…

Ruthless editing is crucial . . . but not at the cost of your creativity

We’re not talking actual homicide here, let’s get that straight from the outset. Writers may be a weird bunch, but I don’t think running amok with an axe is going to improve our craft. I’m pretty sure of it.

No, we’re talking about cutting the overwriting in our own work…

Is writing a compulsion, an obsession . . . or do we not have a choice?

According to Ernest Hemingway, writing is easy. “All you do,” he said, “is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

I guess that sums up the pain and anguish of the tortured writer. However, we’re not all alcoholic bullfighting pugilists, and every writing session isn’t a bloodbath. …

Paul Fairbairn

Editor and bestselling author of horror/thriller/sf novels. Failed rock god and world-class procrastinator. And lion tamer. Visit me at

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