Brexit Fifteenth Century Style

The last time England withdrew in a big way from the continent of Europe – there was a Civil War!

English: Illustration of the Battle of Barnet ...
English: Illustration of the Battle of Barnet (14 April 1471) on the Ghent manuscript, a late 15th-century document Haigh, Phillip (1995). The Military Campaigns of the Wars of the Roses, Hardcover, Cover sleeve, Sutton Publishing, United Kingdom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What am I talking about? Well England’s defeat in the Hundred Year’s War lead pretty much directly to the Wars of Roses. With the UK now split almost evenly on the issue is there a danger of strong divisions appearing again in our society? There are strong emotions on both sides–anger at the result of the referendum and fear of uncertainty over what will happen next? These are dangerous times I feel – we’ve had for the first time popular leaders in the UK stirring up tensions. What’s next? It feels like we’ve taken a massive step back in terms of tolerance and a rational approach to politics and society.

EU Ref MapLooking at a map of the referendum results – you can see how further resentment and division will bubble along in the future – the richest city in the UK, London, voted overwhelmingly to leave – but will now suffer because of the economic downturn. Whereas Scotland and even Northern Ireland may leave the union together over this. This is a new civil war – fought through the media, ballot box and via words, rather than with swords and arrows – but it feels like a war nevertheless.

Writing 1000 words of Fiction in 30 Minutes – is it Possible?

Bigger, Better, Faster, More!
Bigger, Better, Faster, More! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes it is! I usually get about 30 minutes a day at the moment only to do writing. Usually that means that I get into the mindset that probably I can only do about 500 words or a bit more if I’m trying – because as we all know a 1000 words takes an hour doesn’t it?

But ideally I’d like to be writing the writer’s goal of 1000 words a day. So what to do about it? Find an extra 30 minutes – possible, but I’d have to sacrifice time spent doing other things, which I don’t want to – I need some time at the moment to do editing and other projects.

So instead the other day I challenged myself to try to do 1000 words in my allotted 30 minute time. And guess what? It happened. I had to change the way I worked a bit, but I don’t think any of it what detrimental to the quality of the writing. Here’s a few tips on how to achieve 1000 words of fiction in 30 minutes:

  1. I found it helpful to know what I was going to write about – I’d already spent time outlining the chapter I was working on. But even if you’re a pantser I think you could still do it.
  2. Instead of pausing to gaze into the distance occasionally before writing the next sentence – commonly known as getting inspiration – just keep thumping the keys – you don’t have time to waste.
  3. Think of it as a deadline – you have to get the story in before the paper goes to press – that kind of thing. It’s amazing how having a set time and a goal motivates you.
  4. Remember that’s its possible. In fact I am sure that its possible to write even more than 1000 words in 30 minutes.
  5. Think about how satisfying it will be to get your 1000 words done so quickly and how that will enable you to do other things – maybe that’s to write 2000 words in an hour or to spend time editing and outlining – things I always find it hard to do if I’ve set myself the goals of 1000 words in a day.

Good luck – and let me know how many words you can write!

Book Review: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

Aftermath by Chuck Wendig coverAftermath by Chuck Wendig

ebook, 418 pages
Published September 4th 2015 by Del Rey
ISBN: 080417766X
(ISBN13: 9780804177665)




Star Wars novelizations can be good, bad and indifferent. I recently read again the novel for Return of the Jedi and tried to read Force Awakens with my son—Return of the Jedi was acceptable, but pretty much word for word the same as the film, whereas Force Awakens was such a chore we gave up and bought the junior version instead—Alan Dean Foster seems to specialize in verbosity as an art-form, and succeeded in making an exciting, fast-paced film, dull.

Aftermath by Chuck Wendig definitely falls into the good category. I’ll preface this review by flagging that I didn’t read it, but rather listened to an audio version. This had the benefit of some great voice acting and also music and sound effects which added a lot to the atmosphere. However, the strength of the writing still shone through the slick audio production.

The book is set in the aftermath of the destruction of the second death star—so preceeds the action of Force Awakens by a number of years. What happened after Return of the Jedi and the death of Vader and the Emperor? Did the Empire just fold? You might expect so given the loss of its figurehead. But no, the Empire fought on against the Rebellion—or New Republic as its now known. Doubles of the Emperor masquerade as Palpatine and there is a denial that the Emperor is dead. Mon Mothma is the new chancellor of the Republic and seeks to bring peace to the galaxy, while Admiral Ackbar leads the mop-up of Imperial forces. That’s the general setting. Aftermath focuses on one planetary system: Akiva. This system is still under control of the Imperials and has been chosen as the location for a meeting between a number of senior Imperial figures—including Admiral Rae Sloane, who is one of the main view-point characters. The story also follows Wedge Antilles, who is on a mission to Akiva, and also a rebel pilot, Norra Wexley, who comes from that planet, and is returning to find her son now that the war is coming to a close. Also involved are a Zabrak bounty hunter and a former Imperial loyalty officer, who escaped the defeat on Endor.

There is a good balance of rebel, neutral and imperial characters—which stops it being just a good against evil conflict—and also enables the storylines to overlap in interesting ways. Although, in the classic tradition of Star Wars there is plenty of excitement too and action, as well as dose of humour to go along with it. I particularly liked the Battle Droid gone rogue—which was brilliantly voice-acted in the audio version.

I enjoyed and would recommend Aftermath to anyone who loves Star Wars. I enjoyed the characters and the story, although its perhaps lacks the epic scale of the big Star Wars films—action only on one planet for instance, the book is fast paced and what is lacking from some other star wars novelizations, is definitely fun.

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Field of Glory Digital Army Generator Tutorial

I have created a new tutorial for the Field of Glory game – this time looking at how to choose an army using the Digital Army Generator.

Also experimented using a narration for the first time with a microphone – a bit easier than I thought it would be – although I realised that sometimes a bit of a script or practice run would have helped!