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The Perils of Proofreading

  I’m not one of life’s natural proofreaders. There. I've confessed. This is a realisation that has come to me during this publication process as I have taken to my own work with a fine tooth comb to ensure that it is as mistake-free as possible for the attention of my publishers. Because one thing that undertaking this has really brought home to me is how the human brain works when it is reading – that it doesn’t read every word but gap fills the meaning for you. This, I’m sure you are aware, is a well known phenomenon and it’s one my brain seems particularly adept at – I have no problem with reading those strange sentences that people write in memes when they leave the first and last letter in place in a word and shuffle the inner letters, for example. I have a brain that, in that respect, likes to be helpful and extracts the meaning without taking any great note of the technicalities. The trouble is that doesn’t really help when one is trying to spot mistakes. My brain has a

The Uniqueness of a Book

 The human imagination is an extraordinary thing, when you stop and think about it. Being as I am not of a scientific bent, I have no idea of the ins and outs of how it can possibly work, how it is that a lump of grey meat inside a wrapping of bone could possibly generate images, ideas, unheard sounds, regurgitate things once seen and create whole new universes out of nothing. Indeed, to be honest, I don’t want to understand how it works - that would destroy the magic. I’m quite happy just to have the means to play in new and never before seen realms in the depths of my own head. But there is another special thing about the imagination – it is unique. It is a strange thing to consider that no one will ever see my characters exactly how I do. Oh, I can describe them down to the freckles on their noses but one of the beauties of books and taking a world out of words rather than pictures is that everyone’s imagination will give it their own slant. Even the finest description in the w

Very Short Story - A Surfeit of Irony

I should really be writing something profound and thought-provoking here but, to be candid with you all, dear readers, I'm really tired and can't be arsed so I have chosen to share with you another little story written many moons ago for a writing challenge far away in a distant corner of the internet. Once more, it shows my tendency to try and angle things a little differently. Copyright is mine, of course, and if my little note in the original document is accurate, the prompt was "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want". Enjoy. :) A Surfeit of Irony He couldn’t say when he’d first noticed the pattern. That was the thing people tended to forget. He was an intelligent man. Calling himself Dr De’Ath was no affectation – he’d earned the title legitimately through studies conducted at numerous highly considered universities and the surname had been a bonus of lucky parentage. After all, being born Xavier Marvolio De’Ath the third pretty much guaranteed a high leve

Very Short Story - Practical Considerations

 Now over the years, I've written quite a few little stories, mostly as part of a writing challenge on various online writing groups, now sadly mostly gone. However I thought it might be fun to share a few of these little pieces, written mostly in the spirit of pure daftness and finding as odd an interpretation of any given prompt as I possibly could. I'm also very fond of writing in a pure dialogue form for this sort of thing, as per the below. I believe the prompt may have been "apple". Copyright is mine, obviously. Do enjoy. :) Practical Considerations “Oh blimey. So now what do we do?” “Well… and this is just the first thing to spring into my head, mind… I reckon we should carve her a beautiful glass coffin and carry her to a perfect sunlight glade in the centre of the forest where we should build a nice plinth on which to rest her and then wait for a handsome prince to come along and kiss her back to life.”   “Why wait for a prince? I mean, if the kiss of l

Chapter and Verse

  There is something I feel the need to address. I have been chastised. Gently, it is true. But chastised I was, by two different persons on the same matter upon their reading my beloved opus, The Disposable. And I felt I had to take heed given they had both offered up the same complaint – why, oh why in creating my masterpiece had I not provided them with any decent places to stop reading? Because, as you may have noticed, The Disposable is on a roll. It has no chapters. So here I am, finding it necessary to try and explain myself. Why did I do this? That, at least, is simple. Because it suited the nature of the beast. I know I’m far from the first to abandon chapters. Sir Terry Pratchett, one of my writing heroes, was there long before me. I can’t recall ever seeing anywhere whether he ever stated his reasons for doing it, but I do know it suited the anarchic nature of his work to a tee. And I had a feeling the same would be true for me. I realised fairly early on that a st

The Unusualness of Usual

 As part of my ongoing campaign to jump up and down and wave in various corners of the internet in the hope that someone, somewhere out there might want to read my book, I recently completed a series of author interviews for a variety of book websites. Many were fairly standard questions – indeed several of them, I openly admit, had copy-pasted answers from one to the next! – but one in particular caught my attention. And it was this: Do you have any unusual writing habits? And my immediate reaction was – well, what’s a usual writing habit? Because, to me, writing is such an individual thing. It’s not a group activity - the vast majority of writers do so alone. If there are people out there that like to stand on their heads and write upside down or type the keyboard with their nose or hold their pen between their toes and write on the walls while humming the Carmina Burana – I would understand that that could be classed as a little out of the ordinary. But in terms of just sitti

Little Miracles

  When you stop and think about it for a minute, ordinary life is full of magic. I forget exactly whose quote it is [Edit: I googled, it’s Arthur C Clarke] but there is a saying that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. And I think it can be easy to forget sometimes just how lucky we are. In these difficult times of isolation and fear, those of us living in the more technologically connected parts of the globe do at least have the means to communicate at a safe distance, by phone or face to face, across thousands of miles if necessary, with our loved ones. Via the internet, we have the means to order food and clothes and necessities to be brought to us, with no more effort on our part than the click of a mouse button (though a bit more for the delivery people). We have endless supplies of entertainment in the form of books, DVDs and television, both standard and streamed. We have the world in our hands from inside our homes. And at a more basic leve

The Validation of Strangers

I like reviews. Anyone who knows me from my fanfiction days will know that. I’m happy to admit it. It’s an odd feeling, but a nice one, that little buzz of validation from a total stranger, often living hundreds of miles away. It is someone you will probably never meet and never know but yet they have taken the time and trouble to spare a few words to make your day. They like your writing . And for someone of an insecure and anxious disposition, that makes a massive difference. Writing is an odd pursuit in that most of the time it is done in total isolation. And much like those hopeful youngsters singing in their bedrooms before applying for The Voice or X-Factor, a writer can never really be sure if they are actually any good at it until they sling their efforts out into the cauldron of public opinion. Reviews are the big reveal, the enthusiastic gush or the caustic put down, the moment one knows whether or not one is writing good stuff or total gubbins. It is what shows a writer

Ask the Author – July 2020

Ask the Author – July 2020 Something a little different for this month’s blog – I offered the kind folks following my Facebook Page The Realm of Katherine Vick – Author the chance to ask me any burning questions they had about The Disposable and its world, which I have then endeavoured to answer. The results can be found below: Our first question comes from Chriss Corkscrew: “I've got one that's been bugging me. Clearly your characters know how to read, but is there a culture of reading for pleasure?” Hmmm. That’s a tricky one to answer. My feeling is the answer is probably “only if you’re Dullard.” Reading is vitally important to the Realm so everyone is literate but reading is more a part of the job than something that is done for fun.   Books exist but are more set dressing than anything else. I suspect that plenty of material is written by bored folks on the sidelines, which is how the books come to be – take Doom the Dark Lord and his plays for the AFCs for e

The Perfect Place to Write

A friend asked me lately – what’s the perfect place to write? And I found that an interesting question. It certainly isn’t one that any two people are likely to give the same answer to. Everyone has their own preferences and their own ideals – as is typical with life, everyone is different. For example – ignoring for a moment current world circumstances, I can’t imagine writing in a busy coffee shop. I would imagine most of us have seen – or indeed, some of you may have been – that person sat in the corner on the big, comfy leather chair with the laptop and the rapidly cooling cappuccino, beavering away at the keyboard to create their latest epic. And it seems to have worked for JK Rowling. But I know it wouldn’t work for me as I am, quite simply, too easily distracted. Every noise, every hiss of steam, every bubble of laughter, slam of the door, clink of the cup – I’d be looking up, looking over, looking around and distraction for me, when I write, is fatal. It jolts my mind ou