Tag archives for writing

Onward to 2022!

Me in Glasgow Central for a work trip in November 2021. (Photo: James Kemp) I'm carrying on a theme for my blog, of at least one post reflecting and looking forward every new year, and for once I'm keen that we move onward to 2022 and what it will bring! At the tail end of 2020 I made a few suggestions for 2021 (I didn't go as far as labelling them resolutions, for reasons I explained in last year's post). Always make sure that there is something to look forward to. Keep the scale of ambition realistic (given what I know I can control) Keep up the exercise/activity. Make the most of the situation, whatever it is. Reflections on 2021 Despite everything 2021 has been a good year for my family and me. Looking back through my pictures we've had…
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On Resolutions, 2020 and 2021

For a number of years I've posted new year's resolutions on the Themself, along with reflections on how I've got on with them. I didn't do that last year, even though I was sure that I had.¬† Making Resolutions There's been a theme to previous resolutions, they've covered reading, writing and being healthier. The theme is about being a better person, although there's a level of subjectivity about what constitutes 'better'. On the whole being happier with who I am is probably the thing I should have 'm not going to make retrospective resolutions for 2020, the whole point of making new year resolutions is setting yourself some aspirations for the future. As I write 2020 is a few days from being history. Thankfully. Reflections on 2020 Global pandemic and massive recession aside, things haven't been all bad about 2020.…
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Sticky End [Flash Fiction] [WW2 SOE]

Sticky End is my flash fiction for the first round of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge this year. The first round was last weekend and the group I'm in were assigned a spy genre story to be set in a prison cell and featuring glue. The story had to be under one thousand words and written within 48 hours. (Last year I wrote Down the Harbour and Burning to Leave for the 2017 flash fiction challenge). I spent a bit of Saturday thinking about it, the hard bit for me was trying to work in the glue naturally and believably. Some help from Google showed me that the WW2 Special Operations Executive (SOE) used to include tubes of bostik adhesive in the containers that they dropped to the Jedburgh teams. The bostik was used to camouflage improved explosive devices…
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What if? Building an alternate history

Photograph of Lord Halifax, British Ambassador to the United States, with an unidentified officer, at the - NARA - 199243 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Last week I had dinner with a friend who asked me a "what if?" question that set me thinking about building an alternate history for a game and a story. We were talking about SOE in the spring and summer of 1944. The period is rich in possibilities and decisions for players on a game. However there's an awful lot of hindsight getting in the way of being able to properly game the period. The Problem with Hindsight The invasion is inevitable, and even when previous games have given the allies latitude over where and when the German players don't act the way the Germans did. It's impossible to create the same uncertainty in the German High…
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Horror Movies – What Makes Them Properly Scary?

The Blair Witch Project (Photo credit: Wikipedia) On the way to school this morning ¬†Alexander was asking me what makes the Blair Witch Project a scary horror movie. He hasn't seen Blair Witch, but he has read the article on the sequel in the current Empire magazine. Ever since he has been obsessed about knowing how the Blair Witch Project went. Horror or Splatter? One of the things we talked about was whether or not you really need lots of blood and gore in a horror movie. There's certainly a visceral horror in seeing injured or dismembered people. But it is quite hard to get it right. We're good at understanding that it isn't real. If we don't think it is real then we cannot be truly terrified. Gore in a horror movie is like slapstick in a comedy. It…
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