Sunday, November 30, 2014

NaNoWriMo: inconclusion

Well, I didn't quite manage it - approximately 12,000 words of a Draft Zero. But it's been a really positive experience - my best failure yet.


  • I've settled into a routine of writing on my commute to or from work most days.
  • I've not gone back and edited - the problem that's done for my attempts at long-form fiction in the past.
  • It's got me thinking about lots of different ideas again - about the future, about identity, about politics and people.
  • I've entertained myself and had fun in the process.
I've not shown it to anyone yet - it's too unformed and protean to make any coherent sense as I chip away at the idea of a story. But I'm looking forward to showing people Draft One.

Speaking of which, the objective now is to press on to 25,000 words by Christmas - this steps up the pace a bit but doesn't feel unmanageable.

As part of that, I imagine December on the blog is going to be mainly short pieces, either to fill the gaps or articulate some of the themes coming out of what I'm writing.

If the latter, it might get a bit chin-stroking - you have been warned.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Reviews of Infidel and The Violent Century in Theaker's Quarterly Fiction #49

Issue of 49 of Theakers Quarterly Fiction is out and free to read - hurrah! My favourite story this time out was Nebuchadnezzar by Michael B Tager, a nice treatment of colonists with an old school flavour to it, but new school mores, if that makes sense.

Issue 49 also includes a couple of my book reviews: Kameron Hurley's Infidel and Lavie Tiedhar's The Violent Century

'There’s nothing this reviewer better enjoys than returning to an author and finding that they’ve upped their game. Compared to God’s War, Kameron Hurley’s still striking debut, its sequel Infidel is better in every respect.'

(see my review of God's War on this very blog)

'Does The Violent Century make the case for the superhero novel as something with real merit in its own right? For me, it’s a resounding maybe; since the book makes most sense as a stylistic exercise, a playful what-if, rather than something with serious intent behind it, in practice it lends support to either view.'

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Introduction to campaigning #2 - notes and links

On Sunday 16 November in Newcastle we ran hopefully the second of a number of 'Introduction to Campaigning with Friends of the Earth' half-day trial training sessions. Thanks to everyone who came along, to Carla for co-facilitating and to Campaign Organiser Carol for doing an excellent grounding meditation to break the ice and get us started.

Our aim was to support new and existing activists to explore campaigns and engage their community. Here's the resources we shared and used on the day

We also showed participants these rather spiffing videos from The Bee Cause and Schools Run On Sun campaigns.

We got four people including Carol – which is less than we had expected based on e-mail replies and Facebook. But  they were all interested in supporting a Friends of the Earth group in Newcastle, so it definitely felt like the beginning of the rebirth of the group. 

And one was the local Greenpeace rep, so there was some networking and alliance-building right there. The material fit snugly but well into the time we had, and participant feedback was very positive. 

So, we’re still looking for further opportunities to trial this session – so do get in touch if you’d like to either give it a go yourself or arrange a collaboration with me on it. 

I think one big learning point from me from Newcastle is the importance of having someone in-situ like Carol around whom others can coalesce for the future. For future trials, I’d also like to be able to guarantee 2 or 3 participants from a local area before we go ahead with additional promotion. 

We’ve been lucky in both test sessions so far in terms of just enough people coming in to make it work, but I don't want to push my luck too hard. :-)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Open mike time - have you got something to say and nowhere to say it?

By ChrisEngelsma (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

While I'm merrily writing away for NaNoWriMo (7,000 words and counting last time I checked) - for the rest of the month I want to turn this blog over to anyone who wants to promote or ponder activism and campaigning.

So, tell us what you're up to. Or use this space as a sandbox to explore ideas. Whether you want to write a lot or a little, these next few weeks are for you.

I'll happily tweet and Facebook anything that I add - so what you write will be read.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Blog-break: doing NaNoWriMo

So don't expect a prolific month on the blog.

I hope by the end of November to have a fairly poor first draft with flashes of something interesting I can build on for Round 2. So that's got to be the priority.

What's the story about? I'm not entirely sure yet, but making-it-up-as-I-go-along screwball transhuman satire seems to about cover it at this stage.

Here's the first fragment.

Arthur C Clarke - Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Reformulation 1 - Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from manic.

Reformulation 2 - Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from science.

Reformulation 3 - Any sufficiently advanced social science is in indistinguishable from magic.