who has read the works of Herbert Quain?

Clerkenwell Writers Asylum

I particularly love this Irish writer’s 1936 work “April March”, a novel with nine different beginnings which fork back in time…

Actually I haven’t read anything by him and I doubt you have either.

Have you ever had an idea for an amazing novel, but known you would never bother to write it all out in 80,000+ words? Not only that but actually writing it would be beyond your current technical ability?

Well why not pretend the book has already been written, by someone else and write a review of it? It would be “fair use” to include an extract wouldn’t it?

Herbert Quain was one of several fictional authors of fictional books covered by Borges in Ficciones a short anthology which includes among other works, scholarly reviews of made up books.

The book that the excellent “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell” currently airing on the BBC is adapted from…

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creative writing for fun but not profit

Clerkenwell Writers Asylum

Picture1I think most of us in the Writer’s Asylum are realistic about the limited opportunities for financial profit from our writing.

I wrote in March about some of the outlets for creative writing that have arisen as a result of changing technology.

Recently someone posted a link on a friend’s Facebook wall to another example – I’ve taken a screenshot as well as providing the link, as the nature of Wikipedia means that things can change rapidly – however the entry has been up there for at least a couple of weeks now.


Now people might not think gang crime in Tottenham and the murder of an unarmed man by the police are a matter for humour and creativity, but I think we have a long history of taking the piss and making light of tragedy and violence as a way of dealing with the after effects. Who hasn’t…

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blog not updated regularly enough for you?

do feel free to sign up to my weekly flash fiction newsletter here – https://tinyletter.com/reticulatedmetalarms

I’m an avid reader of similar emails from the likes of Warren Ellisand Sean Bonner and Ann Friedman among others – I thought I would try my hand at something regular that might force me to write to some kind of deadline…

The idea is to send out a new piece of flash fiction each weekend. Each story will be less than 1000 words and might be as few as 100 depending on what form it takes.

They will probably be stand alone – but if they are connected to anything else – links will be provided.

The full text will be in the email and for most stories will only be in the email – some may also go on my blog however the idea is to focus on the newsletter as a newsletter, I like these things.


As I said above I really like getting a little newsletter in my inbox every couple of days from a range of people about a range of things – I’d like to replicate it here.

I also wonder with my blog – I can see how many people visit, and how many like a post or comment on it – but tinyletter allows me to see unique opens, and to track that across the weeks.

I like the idea of seeing whether my writing suffers from diminishing returns or the opposite, whether people are really engaging with my stories or not.

Lastly I’d also like to encourage replies and a dialogue about my writing, with the aim of improving it.

don’t be scared

Clerkenwell Writers Asylum

Of a blank screen.

Theoretically I try and write something creative everyday. In practice I totally fail at this, and generally end up writing on Saturday and Sunday mornings when I tend to wake earlier than everyone else for some reason.

Quite often the words flow fairly freely – but sometimes I can stare at a blank word document for an hour before inspiration strikes.

A while ago I decided that instead of aimless browsing of the internet I should compile a list of sites where I might find inspiration.

Here are four of my favourite.


This is simply a list of photos and paintings of largely fairly prosaic buildings, towns, and industrial sites that have been abandoned…


More photos of things from the past – I particularly love this post from which I took the image for this post.

Every Friday YA and speculative fiction author Chuck…

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the silver girl

Clerkenwell Writers Asylum

I was woken up by a banging at my bedroom door, I bet myself Hetty had found herself covered in tin foil again. I yawned and shouted at her to come in. The flimsy wooden door almost swung off its hinges and Hetty ran in, clad in a long t-shirt, all the flesh that was visible shining, crinkling, silver.

Her brown eyes were wide and panicked.

‘Okay, okay don’t worry sit down’, I said hunching my legs up so she could sit at the end of the bed.

I got up and knelt on the floor in front of her.

‘Come on let’s get it off then’.

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what does creative writing look like?

Clerkenwell Writers Asylum

In creative writing groups and classes we often talk about and think about creative writing as being about writing short stories, or longer stories. This generally means we focus on the different forms of the above definitions; sometimes poetry or screen writing or even play writing, radio drama, or comicbooks might get a look in.

But the arena is so much greater than that – those of us who can remember the TV commercials of the eighties and nineties golden age of Dunlop, and Guiness (both of which cross over with music videos another area ripe with creative writing); must surely hold them up as some great examples of creative thinking and writing that stands alongside any short story by your favourite author?

On top of the above there has been the explosion in narrative potential with computer games, particularly sweeping global platforms like World of Warcraft and geopolitical…

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