Showing posts with label Ciaran Murtagh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ciaran Murtagh. Show all posts

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Writing Animation - by Ciaran Murtagh

Over the past few weeks I've been asked to give some hints and tips on writing animation so I thought I'd put a few thoughts down here for anyone who might be interested.

As ever with these things, they're not hard and fast rules, nor a guarantee of success, but they're certainly things I wish I'd known before falling headlong into the industry. 

1) Watch lots of animation. Lots. 




Everyone knows that the way to be a good writer is to read, the same goes for animation - watch. Watch as much animation as you can, particularly for the age group you would like to write for. 

There are HUGE differences in tone, subject matter and style in animation and it's good to get a feel for what's out there before you start trying to do it yourself. 

Trawl through the BBC player, have a look at the furthest reaches of Netflix and Disney Plus, and see what's on CITV. They all broadcast cartoons, but they're all very different. Something like The Rubbish World of Dave Spud on CITV is very different from Dennis and Gnasher Unleashed on CBBC,  yet both are about British kids for predominantly British audiences. 

 

Channels have a house style and a house tone. They are keen to be distinct from each other and that is reflected in what they commission and how they are written. Have a look where you might fit best and work towards your natural home. Of course, over time you'll be able to bounce about, but in the first instance specialise. 

2) Age Range

Animation for kids, much like books, falls into age ranges. There are predominantly two - Preschool and Junior. So CBeebies, Disney Junior, Nick Junior, Milkshake are predominantly preschool, up to the age of about 6 give or take. Other channels such as CBBC, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network aim older. 

Within all that there are also lots of different styles from something like Hey Duggee to Sarah and Duck to Messy Goes to Okido to Paw Patrol all falling under preschool. Tone is all important. Once you've narrowed down where you think you might fit channel wise, have a look at the age group you prefer to write for and analyse the content the channel shows. 


Are you more didactic, something like Numberblocks for example, or are you more left field - something like Hey Duggee. 

3) Know the Rules


All animation is different but most have consistent rules. Episodes are usually 11 minutes long, sometimes they might be 22 minutes long but that's not so common. For younger audiences there is more flexibility in length with some being 5 or 8 minutes long. Do your research and make sure that when you come to write you are writing a story that is exactly the length of the animation - it can't be a few seconds longer or shorter, it has to be what it is. 

Make sure your stories are stand alone, most series still broadcast self contained episodes and they want them to be broadcast in any sequence. You don't need to have seen episode 12 to understand episode 13 or vice versa. Sometimes you might get the opportunity to pitch a double episode, but they'll tell you that before you pitch. 

With the onset of streaming services this is changing somewhat, particularly with animation for older children, and series arcs are becoming more common - but again, they'll tell you if that's the case and it is still the exception rather than the rule. 

2D animation is usually cheaper to produce and there can be greater flexibility in creating new characters or locations. However, in the first instance try and reuse what you know already exists -  it will make you very popular. 


3D animation is expensive and it is often harder to make new characters and locations. Bare that in mind when pitching stories. There will never be a cast of thousands and asking for a new character to be created is a big ask unless the story really needs it. 


Know how many episodes are in a season - usually 52, but sometimes 26 or 13. Animation is usually commissioned in batches of that number. 

Know what has gone before, you will need to avoid overlapping with ideas or stories that have been  used in previous seasons. One of the keys to being a successful animation writer is looking for the gaps in a series that haven't been plugged yet. What stories haven't they told with the characters and locations in play and can you come up with something imaginative and new that they haven't yet used. 

4) Tips for Success


Listen to your head writers / producers and ask them questions if you're unsure. Even if you manage to come up with a great story that no one else has told and utilises things you know exist in the story world, there may be a reason why it hasn't been told before that you don't know about.  

Different channels have different rules and regulations and wish lists for what they can and can't do. Your producers and head writers will know that and will try and guide you towards what's possible. They want you to have strong story ideas, but they also want you to listen to guidance, you can have the best story idea in the world but if they know the BBC will never show it they have to guide you towards a version of the story that they will. 


Be prolific. When pitching ideas have six or seven topline stories that you might tell. Pitch them all and you may get one or two away. Pitch lots of shorter ideas rather than spending a long time on one or two. Producers are looking for 52 episodes, if they receive a document with six ideas, they'll usually have to dismiss a couple for not being feasible, a couple for being ideas other writers are working on and what's left over is the sweet spot! You stand more chance this way. 

The first animation I was commissioned on, I pitched over 50 stories until I got one away - be tenacious, and be persistent and learn from your mistakes. 

Keep to deadlines. 

Be nice. 

That's your lot - if there's any questions pop them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer. Good luck. 

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Super Spreader? - Ciaran Murtagh


I’m on my way to Jordan. For a bit there it was touch and go, although with the Corona virus doing the rounds, touching and going is probably the last thing you want to be doing. This virus has got me thinking about the job I do and how to best protect myself and those I love from its impact. Should I be on my way to Jordan for example? Is that a good idea? Is it any more dangerous than staying in London with it’s massive population and huge amount of tourists? Probably not. I’m more likely to catch something in my local chicken shop than in a school halfway around the world.

Is it still responsible for me to visit schools in the UK over the next month? Over the course of world book week many of us travel the length and breadth of the country and come into contact with thousands of children. Does that make us potential super spreaders, or do we carry on as normal? Financial pressures on authors are getting tighter. The month of March is often an opportunity to swell some of those coffers with school visits and book sales. It’s hard to turn them down for the greater good. I suppose I could load up with hand sanitiser if there were any in the country.

It’s a fine line between managing a situation and creating a crisis -  you don’t want one to lead to the other. But it does feel that leadership has been lacking – or on holiday. I guess for now we carry on as normal. I’m resigned to the fact that I will probably get it and will then keep myself locked away for a week or two. 

What better way to finally finish the second draft of that book I’ve been working on for a few months? Every cloud and all that…

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Ciaran Murtagh - Getting Back in the Saddle

This time of year is always tough for me. It feels like I've only just got back into my working rhythm after the disruption of the summer holidays then Christmas is upon us and it all goes out of the window.  The house is full, space is limited, the opportunity for routine is a Christmas wish too far and knuckling down for a few hours to get something meaningful written is nigh on impossible. Besides, everyone else seems to have given up on work for a month so why not join them?

So you do, and then here comes the new year and you're in the same house, but now everyone's gone, the decorations are down and the only company you have is a blank piece of paper. The solitude you've been longing for is all yours and you haven't a clue what to write. Typical.

The start of any year feels like I'm grinding through gears. It's at times like this that I envy the routine of an office job. You turn up, you know what you have to do, you get on with it and you get paid. Right now, I'm not ready for 2020. I really can't be bothered. I've got nothing I'm burning to write and the stuff I have to write is the fag end stuff that didn't quite make it into 2019.

The New Year should feel like the start of many new opportunities, and I'm sure they will come, but right now the prospect of getting off my mince pie saturated arse and digging them out is a daunting one. It's making something out of nothing. Again. Can I really be bothered to get back on the horse when pay is shrinking and work is hard to find?

It was the same at the start of 2019 and 2018 too. I know I will come out of it and get down to business, but for now, on the Saturday before 2020 really starts, I'm having a bit of a wallow. Christmas is over, the New Year is here, and it's much the same as last year really...

There is one thing that has changed though. I have another year of experience. I have another year of work under my belt. I'm aware that I always feel like this and that I will inevitably dig it out. At the moment 2020 already seems like an exhausting prospect. In a couple of days it may just seem like a year full of possibility and opportunity. But first, there's a couple of Quality Street left in the bottom of the tin and no one even bothered opening the mulled wine.  Seems a shame to waste it. See you in a month.

Friday, 6 December 2019

A Thousand Words About a Thousand Words by Paul May

There’s a bit of a theme going on here on ABBA at the moment. Last week there was Tamsin Cooke’s post about words flowing best when time is limited, and a couple of days ago Ciaran Murtagh was talking about writing routines. I heard Philip Pullman say recently that he aimed to write a thousand words a day. It was good to know that we had something in common, even though fame, fortune, movie and TV rights etc . . . etc . . . seem to have passed me by.

The view from my garden in the 1980s, when I started writing.
Occasionally our neighbour's bullocks would break through
 his dodgy fencing and we'd have to ramble across the
 fields, trying to herd them back to their field. It helped to break up the routine. 

I’m not very keen on advising budding writers, and when asked for advice (it does happen) I usually say something like: ‘Start writing. Keep going until you get to the end.’ Both of these things, as anyone knows who has done it, are surprisingly difficult, especially the second one. Then I probably say: ‘Rewrite it until it’s as good as you can make it.’ And, finally: ‘Send it off.’ I’m also happy to advise writers to learn to touch type because learning is so easy and the rewards so great. 

Transworld publishers used to produce some guidelines about writing for children which contained all kinds of useful information and even a few ‘rules’. I especially remember the No Talking Household Objects rule. Talking fridges were definitely out. But of course, rules are made to be broken, and I always thought it must depend on the fridge and on what it had to say. Sadly, I lent the info to an aspiring children’s author and never got it back.

Philip Pullman wasn’t offering advice in that TV programme, but it’s certainly true, for me, that having a daily word target used to help me to get things done. My writing routines evolved around my life at the time I started writing, and so I began writing each day once I had dropped the children at the school bus and tidied the kitchen. Then I’d go out to my converted larder/cupboard and start work. At 11.00 I’d have coffee break (15 mins).  Lunch was from 1.00 to 2.00. Then at 3.00 I’d stop work and get ready to collect the children.

Back in the nineties. Look at that box of floppy disks!

I’d reckon to produce about 400 words in the first session and the same after coffee, then finish off after lunch. The big bonus from the 1000 words target was that on a good day I could probably do this quite easily before lunch and then the afternoon was my own to do with as I liked. On rare occasions I could even knock off most of it before coffee. But on other days I could struggle all day and barely reach the 1000 words at all. However, the point is that, for me at least, even on a very bad day I could usually fight my way to that 1000 words, even if I was sure that they must be rubbish. And I have learnt over the years that the real rubbish is just as likely to be churned out on the ‘good’ days, as it is to be laboured over on the ‘bad’ ones.

Having reached my thousand words I would save my work and then leave it without a second look. I only wrote on Mondays and Fridays because I was teaching three days a week, which meant it was always two or three days before I sat down and read what I’d written aloud to myself. And that is probably the only advice that I unhesitatingly give to everyone who writes anything. Read it aloud. It will reveal all kinds of mistakes, infelicities, typos, clumsy phrasing, repetition and just plain dullness.

Oh, and if you think I'm contradicting myself here, saying I don't like advice and then scattering it all around, I'll just mention Malcolm Bradbury, co-founder with Angus Wilson of the MA in Creative Writing at UEA. He famously didn't believe creative writing could be taught.

Where was I? Oh, yes. There was another benefit of the word target—and I know that these are all just games we play with ourselves to find a way to get the thing finished—and that was that, once I had achieved the target, I could tell myself that no matter how terrible the day had been, I at least had 1000 words more than I’d had that morning. I was 1000 words nearer to the end.

And now I’ve retired from teaching and the children are grown up. I have all the time in the world. I don’t have to go out to work and I don’t have to get up for the school bus, and I find it harder and harder to persuade myself to write a thousand words a day. I think it’s interesting that things that might have been considered constraints upon my opportunities to write may actually turn out in some strange way to have been incentives, a bit like Tamsin Cooke being short of time. 

I’d be very interested to hear from other writers who have retired from their long-time day jobs and found that the experience has removed some of the urgency from their need to write. It’s not that I’m planning to retire from writing—far from it—but I am spending a lot more time on projects with no obvious commercial potential and on what some might call unfocussed research, on Italian organ-grinders for example, or farming in Suffolk.


But now I feel I’ve done the things the newly-retired have to do— the rites of passage. I’ve got the allotment in order and researched and written the family history. I went for a long bike ride around the North Sea and, unlike most retired teachers, I didn’t need to buy a camper van as my partner already has one. So I guess I’m about ready to start turning out a thousand words a day again. What is it I have to do?

Oh yes.

Start.

Monday, 4 November 2019

Writing: The Next Generation - Ciaran Murtagh

This month I was lucky enough to head up to Manchester with my family to watch an episode of Crackerjack being filmed. I've written quite a few sketches for this show and it was a real thrill to see them performed in front of a studio audience. One of the sketches featured past presenters - Stu Francis, Don MacLean, Bernie Clifton, Basil Brush and Jan Hunt. The idea of the sketch was for them to pass the baton onto new presenters Sam and Mark and it was quite moving watching these performers I had grown up with paying it forward in that way.



Stu Francis was the Crackerjack presenter I grew up with. He's partly responsible for me doing the job I do now. I never thought I'd ever end up writing for him, but this remarkable career sometimes throws up those moments. I was writing silly jokes for the man who made me appreciate the value of silly jokes in the first place.



Writers are often connected to generations past and present in a very tangible way. We spend time in schools learning from the writers of the future and we spend time with books learning from the writers of the past. There is a continuum to our craft and to our work that transcends the time and place in which it was written.



Sitting in the Crackerjack studio, 30 years later than perhaps would have been ideal for my 8 year old self, it struck me how much I had been inspired by it as a child.

It's not just the show itself though, the people making it have also paid it forward. The first bit of TV I ever wrote featured Sam and Mark, they now present the show. The first bit of TV I ever wrote was commissioned on spec by Steve Ryde, he's now executive producer of Crackerjack. He took a risk on me, gave me some of his time and expertise, and now I have a career in a business I knew nothing about a decade ago.



This week I got nominated for a writing Bafta. If Steve Ryde hadn't taken that chance, if Crackerjack hadn't made me appreciate the value of a pun, I might never have been in this position. I don't forget that, which is why it's important when someone reaches out for advice or mentorship I do my best to help. Most of our careers are a hotch potch of lucky breaks, hard work and the occasional helping hand.  It's our duty to find the time to pay it forward whenever we can.




Friday, 4 October 2019

Nothing good ever happens in October - Ciaran Murtagh


The leaves are falling from the trees, the nights are drawing in and I turned on the heating in my shed for the first time in months. Nothing like the scent of the million fly carcasses that have tumbled down the back of the radiator slowly turning into charcoal to get the creative juices flowing. They do say that for every great work of art there has to be an act of sacrifice, I wonder if this is the modern equivalent.



It’s October, our country is in a period of flux and uncertainty, the Christmas adverts have appeared in the shops, it is tempting to think that 2019 is nearly over. Put off whatever it is you were going to start until the halcyon uplands of 2020 appear. Anything’s possible in 2020. We’ll probably be writing with laser beams, commuting on hover boards, or more likely, fighting over prescription drugs and reminiscing about what bananas tasted like.



What I’m saying is, nothing good ever happened on a damp Friday in October. Nothing. The promise of the year is waning, curl under the duvet and think of Christmas. Being self employed we don’t even have office parties to look forward to – not that I ever really looked forward to them, but at least someone else bought the beer.



It can be hard to remember that there’s still three months left. Three whole months. That's loads of time to turn it all around. As a redhead, it's always been my favourite time, and frankly the only one my colouring coordinates with. 



But in a world governed by advertising, we’ve had our summer holidays, there’s just Halloween, bonfire night and then Christmas left to go -  what's the point in starting something now? It can be easy to get demotivated, to start wishing the days away, to take a cue from the seasons and start bedding down for the year. 2019 is done. 


Don’t.

There’s loads of time. The best is yet to come. Make the most of it. It could still be your year. 

Write the thing, do the thing, make the thing.

Everyone wants to give up their job and write a book in January. Nobody wants to do it in October. Be that person, steal the march, get to the agents when they’re quiet (er). Get your ducks in a row, make your plans and don’t be conned into thinking 2019 has passed you by. October is where it’s at baby! 

2019 isn't done and dusted.  You’ve got a quarter of the year left. 2019 could still be your year.  Grab it.



Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Boggled by Biographies - Ciaran Murtagh


This month I have a series of four educational titles published by Rising Stars. They’re called ‘Game Changers’ and each is a series of biographies of people grouped around a theme. There’s Music Makers, Computer Pioneers, Brave Leaders and Hidden Heroes and they were four of the hardest books I’ve ever had to write!




One of the surprisingly tough things about all the books was agreeing who to put in them. Music Makers sparked a lot of debate – I mean, who really changed the game for modern music if you had to narrow it down to six people? And while you’re at it, remember that these biographies are for children in an educational setting so can’t contain any of the usual sex, drugs and rock and roll stories that often pepper the life of a rock star. Then we also have to consider diversity in our choices.  I think we can all agree on some people – Elvis is there, so is Bowie - but would you have chosen Dolly Parton over Patsy Cline? How about Nina Simone over Aretha Franklin? And was there really no room for John Lennon? I look forward to the parental backlash.




The ‘Brave Leaders’ category was also a fun debate and total minefield. We were looking for people who changed the world through their ideas. This was particularly tricky for gender representation. The ‘go to’ brave leader for gender representation used to be Aung San Suu Kyi, but she’s blotted her copy book of late. I pushed hard for Malala Yousafzai, but there was a reluctance to include anyone who wasn’t yet dead for fear they may do an ‘Aung San’ in later life. Mother Teresa might have worked, but we weren't allowed religious figures.  We went for Eva Peron and Emmeline Pankhurst.




Then there's the issue that to change the game as a leader you often have to break the rules a bit. How do you explain to children that it's OK to break the law if it's for a just cause? It's a nuanced debate -  one man's hero is another man's villain after all - and it's only after the passage of time that the true validity of a cause can be appraised. But that's a tricky concept for a 6 year old who may want to fight against the injustice of having to eat broccoli. 

 

The Hidden Heroes category was also a fun dance. We had to find people who had achieved something game changing but who hadn’t necessarily received the recognition that achievement warranted. A long back and forth was had over how unknown was ‘unknown’ and what constituted a game changing achievement. The Venn diagram overlap of those two was surprisingly small.



Once the subjects had been decided the hard work began. Each book contains at least six biographies and due to the various word counts and language levels that had to be adhered to they were between 400 and 1200 words each. Condensing Martin Luther King and the concept of racial segregation into 1200 age appropriate words was hard, getting Bowie into 400 was even harder. Over the course of four months I researched, condensed and wrote biographies on 30 people.

I learned many things, but perhaps the most valuable thing I learned was where my skills lie. I find it much easier to make something up than make something accurate! Ask me to write 1000 words off the top of my head – give me an hour. Want me to write the right 1000 words about a much revered historical figure -  give me a week.




Game Changers are out on the 28th June. I’m very proud of them. I doubt there’ll be a second series!

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Books that made me


Any author who visits schools will know that one of the perennial questions you are sure to be asked (after ‘where do you get your ideas from’) is - what’s your favourite book? I’ve given the same answer every time, it’s The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper.



To be fair it’s a trick answer, because it allows me to pick five books in one. It’s impossible for me to say which of the five books in the sequence is my favourite. But at this time of year it’s especially great to reread - or read for the first time -  The Dark is Rising itself. It opens on Midwinter’s Eve (20th December to you and me) and runs chronologically through the Christmas period. Some love to read it day by day, marking time with their own Christmas preparations. I tend to splurge – like a box of Christmas After Eight mints, once opened I find it very hard to stop.



The Dark is Rising wasn’t the first book in the series I encountered. That was Over Sea and Under Stone. A teacher called Mrs Crow read it to the class one year when I was about 8. Something in the text resonated with me far more than all of the other books that I must have read or had read to me at that time. I found the rest of the books and painstakingly read them to myself over the following years.


I have very few books that I return to again and again, and the five in The Dark is Rising Sequence are the ones that mean the most.  It’s not sentimental either, I genuinely love the stories and find something comforting and surprising every time I return to them. If ever I see one of the books in a charity shop or second hand book shop I have to buy it. I give it to children - usually those who ask that question – when I go to author events, hopeful that it might give them as much joy as it continues to give me.



They are books I have numerous copies of. I have my ‘reading copy’ which I take with me in all its battered glory. Then I have the hard back versions, which are the same editions as the one Mrs Crow read to me all those years ago, and I have the folio versions for ‘best’. It may sound weird, but these books have been with me all my life, and I treasure them.





First I treasure them for their quality. In a time where everything has to be new, fresh and now, it’s a handy reminder for an author that a book of quality will transcend all that. We should be aspiring to that and nothing else. Second, I treasure them because they take me back to a time when my world was young and full of potential.

But lastly, and most importantly I treasure them because they were the first books I ever truly loved. They were the first books that gave me a passion for writing and an appreciation of the power of the written word.  It’s wasn’t my books that bought me to where I am and allowed me to call myself an author – it was these.  Without them I would never be doing what I do now.





So do yourself a favour and read them if you haven’t read them, reread them if you have, and if you don’t have a copy, next time you see me at an author event ask for one, I usually have one on me somewhere!




Saturday, 4 August 2018

Creative or Industry?

I work in the Creative Industry. It's an oxymoron really isn't it? There's nothing industrial about creativity - or is there?

I straddle the book and TV world with my writing and I often wonder if they could learn something from each other.

TV writing is definitely an industry. This week alone I've had a hand in editing or directly writing over 20 scripts on five shows. I've also written a bible for a new show and spent a day in a creative meeting with colleagues from Norway and Ireland punching up ideas for another new series.

When you're working at that rate to deadline, you'd think creativity is the first thing that goes out of the window. You'd be wrong. Actually, working to tight deadlines on shows with large budgets means you are often forced to come up with even more creative solutions to problems. There's no time for anything else. As illustrated by this frankly terrifying image:




If I'm working on episode 123 of Mr Bean for example, I know there have already been (excuse the pun) 122 good ideas that someone somewhere has already written. It's my job to come up with idea number 123.

Sometimes I'll be told that I can't have any new characters. Sometimes I'll be told he can't leave the house. Yet I know, whatever it is I get him to do it will need to be distinct from every other story told about that character already. That pushes your creativity. If I were writing a book I could have him do ANYTHING at zero cost, but in the world of TV, solutions need to be creative in a different way.  And that doesn't mean it's not successful, this one's been watched over 10 million times on YouTube alone:



It's unheard of to write 100 books about the same person in the same situation - where would you even begin - but in the world of TV it's not a success unless you do!

In TV, I don't have time to procrastinate and search for my muse, however, I do create story after story after story every single week.



The world of books could learn a lot from the TV world. We live in an 'on demand' society. Writing for children this is even more the case. Not only do they want something now, they want, and have come to expect a lot of it - every series of Peppa Pig at my finger tips now please!



What's worse, unlike in adult media, the audience ages out of things in the space of two years - or two months at the current rate of my 5 year old - so we don't have time for them to 'find' it.

However, in the world of books, something is bought, it might get published in 18 months, then depending on it's success they might publish another in the series, or maybe even commission two more to come out six months after that... By which point the audience who enjoyed the first book are gone and you're starting all over again.



I don't think creativity can be measured in volume, nor in sales, nor in success or financial reward. One of the reasons I enjoy writing books is because of the creative freedom it gives me that I don't have in the world of TV. It's like stretching different muscles.

However, it frustrates me that in a global media world, we as authors sit in an arcane little bubble of long lead in times and slow response times to demand from our audience.  There's a lot to be said for allowing creative people to be creative in whichever way they want. There's a lot to be said for industry too.

Next time I'll take a look at what the world of TV could learn from the world of books - let it never be said I'm not an equal opportunity offender!

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

When is a book not a book? - Ciaran Murtagh

I’ve recently delivered three stories for a new educational series. They’re fun, charmingly illustrated and I like them a lot. There’s just one problem, they’ll never be books. 


"Please turn off your cell phones and turn on your wireless ebook readers."


This particular publisher has decided to try out a new e-book / online model and because of that, this work will never sit on a book shelf.

I can’t help feeling a little bit sad about that. I knew it was the deal before I signed up, but it only struck me as the work was delivered how much I’ll miss not sticking it in the bookshelf with my other published books. I don’t know about you, but part of the thrill of being an author is to see the physical object – the book.  It’s a moment of validation, you can hand the object to a person and say, ‘I wrote that.’

It’s not the same when it’s sitting on a server somewhere in cyber space. I wonder how many authors would have put pen to paper if they knew that what they were writing would never take physical form. 

I’m not a Luddite. OK I might be a bit. I am aware that times change, but it’s hard to get motivated when you’ll never hold the thing you’re creating. You can’t cuddle a kindle. You can’t sign a tablet. It’s hard to cherish a screen. 


Old Fashioned Toilets Technology Toilet Paper Tissue Ebook E Book Reader Jsh Low  And Amusing Styles

I have many favourite books, they have been with me through thick and thin – the actual book, the physical object – I doubt they’d mean as much to me if they were stored on a Cloud. I know I can access them just as readily, but just like digital photos that remain perpetually on a memory disc, they remain unloved, undeveloped and often, unseen.

I have some romanticised notion of sitting back in my dotage and leafing through the work I did in my younger days and maybe reading the stories to my grandchildren – what!? I’m a writer….  

However, when the book is nothing but a megabyte of data that’s never gonna happen, no matter how many bookshops I visit... 


They’re just words. Whether they’re on a page or a screen, they’re still words. It shouldn’t make a difference, but somehow it really does.