On worldbuilding: The Nihilistic Architect and the Negligent Gardener

George R R Martin’s now famous analogy of the architect and the gardener distilled the craft of novel-writing into two distinct creative approaches. I would suggest this is a particularly useful analogy when thinking specifically about worldbuilding – the manner in which writers go about creating a fictional universe for their story to live within. … Continue reading On worldbuilding: The Nihilistic Architect and the Negligent Gardener

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell – Review

If you’ve come into contact with any of David Mitchell’s work before, you’ll be well-acquainted with the sort of genre-switching, time-slipping, scene-shifting fiction that the author is best known for. A film adaptation by the Wachowski siblings in 2012 brought his lauded tapestry of souls, Cloud Atlas (2004), to a wider audience. 2014 heralds the … Continue reading The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell – Review

Love and Eskimo Snow by Sarah Holt – Review

Ideas-driven fiction is perilous ground for writers at any stage of their career. It poses the constant challenge of balancing the insistent voice of theme with the integral components of the story itself – character, plot and pacing. Too much theme, and you risk turning your fiction into a political pamphlet – too much story, … Continue reading Love and Eskimo Snow by Sarah Holt – Review

The Problem with Ideas-Driven Fiction (And How to Fix it)

Theme folds in meaning to our writing and gives a recognisable shape to the underlying structures that form the narrative. Without theme the narrative can feel flat or disjointed, but a strong theme provides an overall consistency that holds everything in place. Scenes, characters, and events take on new poignancy, attracting deeper sympathies. Most importantly, … Continue reading The Problem with Ideas-Driven Fiction (And How to Fix it)