COVER REVEAL: TERROR BITES A CHARITY ANTHOLOGY FOR FUCK CANCER
Terror Bites is a collection of short horror stories written by four deranged writers. It’s a charity anthology dedicated to dear friends who were given their angel wings too soon and to others still battling the beast known as cancer. Our chosen charity, FUCK CANCER, provides hope and joy to people living with cancer. We hope to raise as much as possible so this amazing charity can continue to provide this important lifeline. https://www.fuckcancer.org/about-us/
Ebook Release Date: 5/11/19
Paperback: Coming Soon
Praise for Terror Bites
“The perfect read for any horror lover.” — Helen Pilfer, bestselling crime and horror novelist
“A creepfest of bizarre tales to make your toes curl.”— Lee Murray, horror author and two-time Bram Stoker nominee
“A horrifying collection of bite sized frights!” — Olivia Brennan, founder of Into the Script
Foreword by critically acclaimed, bestselling and award-winning horror writer, Neil D’Silva.
How this book came to be…
Depraved horror writer, Emma Pullar, convinced her creative friends to enter a haunted house. Once inside, the door slammed shut, locked, and a malevolent spirit forced the writers to work night and day; cooking up creepy, sinister, dark and scary stories.
The writers had to work by candlelight and often until their fingers bled. There were rats at their feet, ghosts in the walls, and monsters lurking!
Broken and beatdown, the four managed to escape the haunted house thanks to the quick thinking of Steve Pool – whose training as a Dungeon Master came in handy. Well, he lobbed his dice tower at the malevolent spirit, it passed straight through, and smashed a window.
Though the haunted house was frightening, it’s nothing compared to facing cancer. Rachael, Mark, Steve and Emma were fortunate in that so many people wanted to help turn their horror stories into an anthology, as a way of raising more for those battling cancer. They are forever grateful to all who gave up their time and knowledge.
Sadly, not all of the writers got out – others are still trapped inside the haunted house, and the shared hope is that they will escape unharmed and keen to be part of the Terror Bites sequel.
Grab a copy of TERROR BITES and delve into the twisted minds of these four disturbed writers. Buying a copy of the book means you’ll not only get to read fun, bite-sized, ‘popcorn’ horror stories but you will also be supporting a worthy charity.
Amazon Links for pre-orders:
To find out more about these award-winning and bestselling writers please visit their websites.
I recently became a feature writer for the amazing writing advice site www.intothescript.com. Here is my first blog piece for them. Click the picture above to visit their website for more awesome content.
Are you wondering whether or not you should write a novel?
Perhaps you’re a novelist interested in screenwriting but the two mediums seem way too different. Writers should stick to what they know, right?
Writers should expand their skill set and write across all storytelling mediums.
I’m a children’s author and novelist. Four of my short stories have been published and I dabble in screenwriting. I write articles and blogs, create trailers and design promotional material.
When screenwriters say they can’t write a novel because it’s way too many words, I totally understand that, it’s not easy BUT they should definitely try.
Same with novelists who say they can’t be a screenwriter because they wouldn’t know where to start. I always point them in the direction of Into the Script and Bang2write.
These writing sites share articles that cover everything you will ever need to know. Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Join the groups, someone will help you.
In order to be a master storyteller, I believe learning to write in different ways is vital.
Screenwriting forces the writer into heavy editing.
Strict page counts mean shorter descriptions in order to fit more in, but the words still have to make a big impact. There’s no room for overly descriptive text, that’s where the director and actors will fill in the blanks.
I’m also a visual writer, and this is great for screenwriting but when writing prose, I have to project an image, an emotion and the atmosphere into the reader’s mind.
Novelists often use an entire sentence to convey the same thing a screenwriter has conveyed using only one or two words.
That’s what prose is about but many writers are overly descriptive when they don’t need to be and this is where screenwriting skills come in handy.
Removing redundant words and tightening up sentences makes for a better novel.
Screenwriters who also write novels and/or short stories have an advantage over those who don’t, in my opinion.
Artists often try different mediums and writers should too. Understanding how to set a scene and using sight, sound, smell, touch to enhance the reader’s experience will transfer over to your script.
Writing prose also helps with cutting back on blocks of dialogue. I’ve read scripts with pages and pages of dialogue and if that happens in a novel (sometimes it does) the reader immediately switches off.
It’s no different for scripts.
Writing prose will tighten up the dialogue and screenwriting will tighten up the descriptions.
My new novel - Paper Dolls, released on 28th March - is my third novel and by far my best. I accredit this to writing broadly and practising different techniques.
I hope this blog piece has given writers the courage to try something new.
Happy writing everyone!
Yes, it’s true… I’ve turned to crime. My mentor and my publisher are both involved in crime. They encourage and promote it and now they’ve persuaded me do it too. I kept saying no, kept telling them I couldn’t do it. They insisted I could. They told me crime pays and since I’m already involved in some pretty dark horror, what do I have to lose?
I’m talking about my debut crime novel, of course, and not about breaking the law. It has taken years of encouragement and gentle persuasion for me to pluck up the courage to write a crime novel. I’ve always had an interest in serial killers and so naturally that’s what I chose to write about. Inspired by Hannibal Lecter and Annie Wilkes, along with research into real serial killers, I set out to create a character who felt as authentic.
I enjoy reading dark tales of torment. My go to genres are: dystopian, sci-fi, dark fantasy, horror, paranormal, supernatural and crime. My first published novels are dystopian and although well received by fans of the genre and those who don’t usually read dystopian novels, fans of my writing style asked me to write something contemporary.
I only ever want to please my readers but I cannot write a genre I have little interest in. Police procedurals, domestic noir and detective stories are not really my thing, although I have enjoyed reading novels that come under these sub-genres. What I can write about is killers.
In order to keep writing, authors need people to keep wanting to read their work. I’m hoping that crime does pay and I can continue to entertain people with my twisted tales.
Here is the blurb for Paper Dolls.
When a bizarre set of murders take place in London, three flatmates become embroiled in the terrifying mystery.
Mike, Beatrice and Kerri all share a flat and a passion to move their careers forward. When Mike, a frustrated mime in Trafalgar Square, lays eyes on performance artist Princess, his world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, Kerri is struggling to hold onto her job as a journalist, when she stumbles across a body, which turns out to be the third victim of the Paper Doll Killer. Beatrice, who was once a bestselling author, looks to the series of murders for inspiration but finds a lot more than she bargained for.
As the three flatmates discover they each have links to the killer they start to turn on one another. Who might be next? Why does the killer paint the victim’s cheeks and lips with blood? What purpose do the paper dolls serve?
As the deranged Paper Doll Killer continues to stalk the streets of London there’s only one question that needs to be answered … is anyone safe?
“A deadly game of cat n’ mouse … Pullar’s dark mind is a force to be reckoned with” LV Hay.
Happy reading everyone!
What a Difference a Year Makes!
A year ago, my debut novel, Skeletal, was released. After five years of rejection for novels, screenplays and picture books, by 2017, I was starting to feel like my writing career would never get off the ground.
Then a magical book fairy with a dark mind took a chance on a genre she doesn’t usually print. We knew it wouldn’t sell millions of copies right out of the gates but it sold in the thousands and has a loyal fan base, which is awesome! My first novel can only be described as a hot mess. There were grammar issues and typos, it wasn’t as well-crafted or tight as I would have liked and this was because I was a newbie and had no idea what I was doing or how things worked.
What being brave enough to take the plunge and accept a book deal did do was tell me that yes, I do have a talent for storytelling and yes, people enjoy what I write (phew!) but I also found out that my dystopian stuff is not mainstream and therefore more likely to find fame on the screen but with some of the more questionable scenes cut. Those who have read both books know what I’m referring to. Thankfully, the sequel, Avian, was a tighter book. I listened. I learned. I did better.
Next step: write what my publisher and mentor asked me to write in the first place. I needed to get the dystopian story out of me. I love it. I love the characters. I love the bleak world and the monsters within it, but ultimately, people told me I write like a screenwriter and that the duology would make a great TV series or film, and I think they’re right. Visuals and set pieces are my strengths. Flawed characters (especially secondary ones) and dialogue (or not using too much of it) are also strong points for me. I found out structure is my weakness. This epiphany was thanks to Lucy V Hay and her advanced screenwriting course. Now I know what I need to work on. Writers are always learning and improving. Which is good because all I want to do is keep getting better and giving my audience a better experience with every new project.
At the beginning of 2018, I was asked by a friend (cheers Jon) to pick a word to describe what 2018 was going to have in store. I said EPIC. It has been that. Since my first novel was published my career has shot forwards at breakneck speed. Here’s what happened.
In 2011 my first published work was a picture book. This was a fluke, and created to raise money for charity but it was also the catalyst for my decision to become a professional writer.
The real journey began end of 2016 when the first short story I'd ever written, London’s Crawling, was a finalist in a competition and then won a place in the Dark Minds anthology published by Bloodhound Books. I went to the book launch, met the publisher and thought they were awesome! They asked me to write crime. I’ve always been fascinated by serial killers and cults but didn’t have any ideas for a crime novel. Seeing my distress at losing out at The London Book Fair when my agent told me interest was shown in my novel but they ultimately passed, Betsy at Bloodhound asked to see what I was working on. I sent her two manuscripts. She could not publish the YA novel because it doesn't fit her list but said she would like to publish the dystopian thriller duology.
This was the push I needed and wow was I in for a shock. The whole process was a huge learning curve. I learn by doing so I had to get stuck in and see what would happen. I now understand how the industry works and what's expected of me. I’m forever grateful to Betsy, Fred and the team at Bloodhound for allowing me to learn on the job.
I was also being pushed forward by a band of wonderful friends and my mentor, Lucy V Hay, who has been cheering me on since we met online in 2013. At least, I think it was that year. I can’t remember how our paths crossed but I’m so glad they did. From there I met the incredible film maker, Chris Jones, who has been a source of encouragement and inspiration. I was asked to collaborate on a fun book/film project with writers I’d met through Chris’s Create50 initiative. I was also asked by the awesome Bob Schultz to be on a panel at London Screenwriters’ Festival, chatting to screenwriters about writing novels.
Not many people knew I had submitted a children’s animation to CBBC in 2014 and I think a few were baffled as to why I was asked to do the panel, so I had to reveal that little secret. Yep. I wanted to be a screenwriter but switched to novels because I didn’t know how to get into that industry. Now I know what I must do. There is a right time for everything.
My EPIC year looks like this: Oct 2017-2018
This is a lot in a year. Considering tumbleweeds where blowing past for the five years previous.
What does 2019 look like? In my mind, there are four novels published (though, if I only manage two, I will be happy). There will be more of my short stories out there. I want to find homes for a few that are written and waiting for life. I’m moving forward with screenwriting. I have some new mentors and the existing ones are still kicking my arse, which I’m super grateful for. I’m going back to CBBC with a new professional approach. I’m also going to work on a project using the story that started it all. London’s Crawling will be back but there’s more to London than the terrifying Spians.
If you’re a writer and currently hitting your head against a brick wall of rejection, my one piece of advice to you is GET OUT THERE. Meet people in the industry. There will be folks you immediately click with and those people are the ones you need to work with, go find them! Good luck.
Firstly, if you haven’t booked for LSF2020, you should do it now, here’s the link http://bit.ly/2D7Yp8d
Why are you still here?
Please book your ticket, you have twenty seconds to comply …
You now have fifteen seconds to comply!
Wondering what on Earth I’m talking about? Let me explain … ROBOCOP!
One of the highlights of LSF2018 was the Robocop: Script to Screen session.
Imagine sitting in cinema conditions, watching a classic cyberpunk action movie, writer friends either side of you, two industry pros are on the stage talking with legendary screenwriter Ed Neumeier about how his movie was made. OMFG! I must be dreaming!! Nope. It actually happened and then after we watched the movie the audience got to ask questions, and both of my friends asked a question! I was sitting between them like a stunned mullet. It was lucky Mark caught the Catchbox (portable microphone) before it smacked me in the head because I was sat there totally awestruck.
Robocop: Script to Screen was a finale to remember but there were so many highlights of LSF2018. I was at the festival as a speaker on a panel about novel writing, and as carer for my friend. I went into The London Screenwriters’ Festival as a novelist and children’s book author who dabbles in screenwriting. I came out a very different person, with lots of new ideas on where I want to take my career.
The Festival sparked a fire inside me that can never be extinguished.
I went to as many panels and talks as I could while aiding my lovely friend, who, as much as she needed me to help with mobility, was a great help to me as a guide and support for my first panel.
What exactly did I get out attending this amazing celebration of storytellers and creatives?
SO MUCH! And I didn’t even pitch or attend table reads.
I learned exactly which parts of the industry were for me and which were probably not for me. Writing for Games 0.9 was an eye-opener. Rhianna Pratchett (who was wearing the most awesome sparkly Batman ‘knuckleduster’ ring) gave the audience a clear picture of how the industry works and where writers fit in. I agree with Alfred Hitchcock in that the script is all important, and in the gaming world, it isn’t … yet. That is changing though. The girl next to me, who was also a Legend of Zelda fan (I have been playing this game since I was fourteen) was a perfect fit for the gaming world but it wasn’t for me.
Here are other panels/talks I attended & why they were super inspiring.
What Can Writers Learn from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’?
I write dystopian novels – two published by Bloodhound Books. I love The Handmaid’s Tale and so this session was magic for me. It was a must for anyone wanting to master what it takes to write authentic characters and a convincing dystopian world. I learned an awful lot about what it takes to get the recipe just right for television and novels. Lucy is an excellent teacher and a lot of fun. My teenage daughter would have loved this session. They should teach this way in high schools.
The Beginning: Crafting the First Ten Pages That Hooks the Reader
What an inspirational and fun speaker Joey Tuccio is. His words are still echoing inside my head. “There are so many writers, make sure your work stands out!” I do take risks in order to get my work noticed so this was good to hear. At the end of his talk, Joey said he was going to pick people from the audience to pitch. I was HORRIFIED! Don’t pick me. I haven’t got anything prepared. I shrunk in my seat. A guy at the front put his hand up. Phew! Thank you, crazy dude. Seriously, who is nuts enough to volunteer to pitch to a room full of people … OMG! It’s my friend Mark! He didn’t know I was sat at the back. I was willing him to do well the entire time. He smashed it! Seeing your friends do well is a HUGE part of the festival. It’s not about competing, it’s about helping each other and cheering your peers on.
Writing for The Right Young Audience; how to hit your mark every time!
I’m a picture book author as well as a novelist but I’ve always felt drawn to writing children’s television. I love animation. My children are the perfect excuse to watch lots of kids shows. In 2015 I sent my first script to CBBC and they gave me some fab feedback and told me to get a pilot made. I had no idea how to do that so I put screenwriting to one side and concentrated on novels. After meeting the panel at LSF and listening to their experiences I realised children’s television was definitely for me. The speakers were warm, friendly and super talented. I made an important contact, and using her feedback, I now know how to move forward. THIS WAS WORTH ITS WEIGHT IN GOLD. Advice straight from a pro who is doing what you want to do. Where else are you going to get that? ONLY at The London Screenwriters’ Festival.
Creating Alien, Hitchhiker’s Guide, X-Files and Batman… Meet Dirk Maggs
Now, Aliens is one of my all-time favourite movies. The xenomorph is one of my all-time favourite monsters. Ripley is one of my all-time favourite characters … breathe, Emma! When Chris Jones announced the radio play three-page script competition I was so excited. OMFG! Then I realised I was going on a family holiday to Devon and had promised I wouldn’t take me laptop and the deadline was in a week. Noooooooooo!!! Hang on, I didn’t promise I wouldn’t take a notebook. Aha! I snuck off in the evenings to ‘read’ and wrote my Alien script longhand. I photographed it and sent it to my friend, who kindly typed it up and sent it in. My script, TERROR-SYNTH, was shortlisted. Whoop! Big thanks to Rachael for helping me submit. When our friend Kendall’s name was called as the winner we all cheered and stamped our feet. Then the fun began. The actors read their lines, directed by the legendary Dirk Maggs. Then the sound guy sat at his laptop, headphones on. He spliced the vocals with the music and sound effects, while we listened to Chris interview Dirk. In just one hour, the piece was ready. Chris turned off the lights and we listened to Alien: Airborne, in the dark. It had all the creepy sound effects from the movies. Laura was quivering beside me. It was scary. I freaking loved it. Inspired again. I’m going to learn how to write for radio. You can listen to the Audio HERE.
There you have it. That’s my view of the festival, and I didn’t even mention how much fun The British Screenwriting Awards are!
I’m told the three-day festival pass is over £700 in value. I can tell you, that’s true. Yet you’ll only pay HALF of that. Even if you’re not a screenwriter, it doesn’t matter, you’ll learn so much about craft and the art of storytelling. You can even pay for your ticket monthly.
LSF2020 is going to be a MONSTER! I mean that in a good way. You can bet there will be some BIG players in the industry there. What are you waiting for? Tickets are going fast. Come to LSF2020 and unlock your future. Your career is in your hands, don’t let it slip through your fingers. Grab every opportunity.
Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make With Reviews
My new article for the writing advice site B2W!
By Lucy V Hay On February 14, 2018 · 2 Comments
So, you’ve received an angry one-star review for your novel? Maybe it’s something like this:
This is nothing like the brilliance that is Romeo and Juliet. I know everything about books and this one sucks balls. A Tale of Two Cities, it is not! More like a Tale of Too Shitty! AVOID! Do not waste your time and money!!!
Take a deep breath … Before you start digging a six feet deep hole in your back garden, read my solutions to the top five mistakes writers make with reviews:
1) Murdering the ReviewerYour first instinct might be to find out where the RANTviewer lives and aim a grenade launcher at their home. But most people who RANTview have never written a novel and odds are they couldn’t write a good one. Well, not without years and years of practice and by then, they might think differently about giving out less than three stars.
STOP! Don’t do this. Killing someone because they wrote a nasty review is never a good idea. Yes, they should’ve thought about the hard work that goes into writing a novel and at least been polite, but they weren’t. Relax, my friend. MORE: Top 10 (Normal) Struggles Writing A Novel
2) Replying/CommentingYour second thought might be to give the ranter a telling off or explain how much they hurt your feelings. That it took two years to build the world that they smashed down in two seconds.
WAIT! Step away from the keyboard. This ranter clearly doesn’t care about hurting people. Telling them off will fuel the fire, while telling them you’re hurt by their words will only bring them pleasure. Don’t feed the trolls. MORE: Top 10 Commandments For Successful Writers
3) Stooping to Their LevelYou might think: I’m going to ruin this person’s online life. I’m going to spread gossip about them all over the net, see how they like it! I’ll tell people they read books about bestiality and if their goodreads shelves were accurate it would include novels about poop fetishes and goat shagging.
HOLD UP! Two wrongs don’t make a right. Don’t go there! They enjoy this sick sport and you don’t, so they’ll win every time. MORE: 5 Ways Writers Kill Their Credibility Online
4) Explaining Why You Should Be Cut Some SlackMost people don’t slag off good indie films because they know there is often a tight budget involved and the film makers did the best with what they had to work with. However, if a big budget blockbuster movie falls flat people are understandably less tolerant.
The same rule does not apply to novels.
Novelists are all judged the same way, even though we’re not always on an equal footing. Some of us will have six figure advances; huge PR drives, multiple editors, beta readers and so on; some of us will have zilch. Most of us will be somewhere in-between on that scale.
Me? I had one editor; my friends were betas and proofreaders; there was no advance, no proofs, ARCs sent to a few awesome bloggers, a reasonable marketing drive. I’m B2W taught, and proud of it! My small (soon to be HUGE) publisher did a wonderful job but readers will measure my novel with the same yardstick as the person with unlimited resources.
PAUSE! No one is going to cut you some slack and they shouldn’t have to. Good storytelling is good storytelling and you can bet that lucky author with all the bells and whistles has got some RANTviews as well. Probably worse than yours or mine. MORE: 5 Things I Learned Writing My Debut Novel
5) Staying SilentNever approach the person who gave you the one or two-star nasty but DO tell your writing community about it, they’ll be a huge source of comfort. You will find many of them have had similar experiences, even the most popular writers who sometimes seem untouchable. Your friends/family may love your writing regardless, but the proof in the pudding is when an unknown reader contacts you to say how much they loved your work. That is why we tell stories and that is what makes your blood, sweat and tears worthwhile.
THINK! Look at all the fab reviews you have, especially the ones from people you’ve never met. MORE: Revealed – 3 Surprising Ways To Sell More Books
Lastly:I hope this article has been helpful, you can take the grenade launcher back to the store now, fingers crossed you’ll get a refund. Any reviewers reading this (I also write reviews) can now feel safe, you won’t be attacked by some crazed writer, or perhaps I’ve given authors some really bad ideas. Either way, it’s been fun!
BIO: Emma Pullar is a writer of dark fiction and children’s books. Her picture book, Curly from Shirley,was a national bestseller and named best opening lines by NZ Post. You can read her SJV Award shortlisted horror story, London’s Crawling, in the Dark Minds charity collection and her dystopian sci-fi story, Old Trees Don’t Bend, in The Anthropocene Chronicles. Emma has also written three shortlisted stories for Create50. Her debut novel SKELETAL published by Bloodhound Books is out NOW. Follow Emma on twitter HERE or visit her website www.emmapullar.com.
Top 10 MORE Deplorable Dystopian Worlds
This is a follow up article to Top 10 Deplorable Dystopian Worlds. Read it HERE.
Dystopia will always be popular and with the success of The Handmaid’s Tale TV series, it’s clear this genre isn’t going away anytime soon.
So, to celebrate the release of my debut dystopian novel Skeletal (out TODAY!) let’s take another look into the dirty cracked mirror and see what’s reflected in it this time …
1) Defender by GX Todd
TYPE: Dystopian Post-apocalyptic
Defender is my favourite book of 2017! I won an advanced copy and after reading it, I bought the special edition hardback. I loved the book THAT MUCH. Defender is centred around a teenage girl (Lacey) and a vagabond (Pilgrim) who has a ‘voice’ inside his head called Voice, of which he has to hide. In this world, it’s not good to hear voices. Pilgrim has agreed to guide sixteen-year-old Lacey across the dangerous wasteland that was America and deliver her safely to her sister’s house.
Along the way they find Alex, who has been beaten and sexually abused. The trio navigate the desolate terrain and cross paths with the most insidious characters. The opening letter at the beginning of the book sets the tone: “I suspect this letter will find you in despair, or lonely, or lost. That is how we live now. We have all become strangers to each other and, worse still: enemies.” Check out this chat with author GX Todd.
2) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margret Atwood
TYPE: Dystopian Thriller
If you have not heard of The Handmaid’s Tale then where have you been? I read the book for the first time this year and then watched the recently adapted TV series – loved it.
The reason this is such a good dystopian story is because it’s plausible, and even though the book was written in 1985, the story feels modern. Being forced to be baby factories when birth rates are down, seems a likely thing to happen. I recommend both the book and the TV series but I’m annoyed with Atwood for ending things like that! WHY? Luckily, we can find out what happens next because series two is in the pipeline.
3) 1984 by George Orwell
TYPE: Dystopian Futuristic
This is a classic. I read this book in my 30s and I’m glad it didn’t come to me until later because my younger self would not have been able to digest the horrors of this totalitarian future society. Propaganda, control and deceit are the central themes, along with the human condition and what it takes to destroy the mind. The protagonist’s job is to rewrite history as and when he is told to but Winston Smith is sick of the strict rules and routines and soon wants more from life. He tries to bring down the system but Big Brother is always watching.
4) The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
TYPE: Dystopian Fantasy
The Bone Season is a seven-book series which follows Londoner Paige Mahoney who is a rare type of clairvoyant called a dreamwalker. Set in the future with an alternative history, voyants are considered unnatural and Paige commits treason simply by breathing. Many voyants make a living working for criminal gangs and Paige is no exception. ‘Unnaturals’ hide their voyant gifts, careful not to be caught by Scion – a governing system that controls cities around the world. Unfortunately, Paige does get caught and finds out the enemy is not what she thought. This series is a fantastic twist on dystopia.
5) Skyjack by L V Hay
TYPE: Dystopian Post-apocalyptic
This novella is part of ‘The Forgotten Women Series’ and is about a mysterious event called ‘The Fall’ which killed off 99% of the female population. Maddy is one of the survivors who managed to escape the government’s ‘haven’ in London where women are rounded up and tested on. Maddy and her father created a fort in the Westcountry, for women and their male allies in which to hide out. They are constantly under threat of attack and one such threat falls from the sky. For a novella this story really packs a punch. I flew through it. I would love to see a TV series spawned from Skyjack! BUY IT HERE.
6) The Anthropocene Chronicles Part I by Saranne Bensusan, Carmen Radtke & Emma Pullar
TYPE: Dystopian Sci-fi
Yes, you read that right, my name is on this one. I wrote ‘Old Trees Don’t Bend’ but the reason I’ve included it is because I didn’t write the other three stories and they are fantastic!!
When asked to contribute to this project, I was a little reluctant because I wasn’t sure I could write in someone else’s world. I was given a character and a brief and once I’d read the other stories I knew this was going to be something special.
With each story comes a different protagonist and their view of the corrupt dystopian world. An event forced the population underground (dirt-dwellers) and their futuristic lives became tightly controlled. What they don’t know is there are people living above ground (air-siders) and that humans are no longer the ones in control. Each story is wonderfully rich and my favourite character has to be the she-bitch Maud. She’s so obnoxious and self-important. *Shudders*. BUY IT HERE.
7) Animal Farm by George Orwell
TYPE: Dystopian Political
Another great story from Orwell. Animal Farm is a small book but it left a huge impact on me. What George has done is take every loathsome aspect of human society and apply it to animals and wow does it hit home. The animals on the farm are sick of the way the farmer treats them so they stage a revolution but their new-found freedom is not all it seems and things go from bad to worse to chaos! Another classic tale of terrible ideas and attitudes in society. An important book.
8) The Maze Runner by James Dashner
TYPE: Dystopian Post-apocalyptic
Thomas arrives in a glade where other boys are camped outside a towering maze. The only way out is to navigate the maze, which is full of dangerous creatures and boobytraps. Soon Thomas and the other boys figure out how to get through the giant puzzle. The government is behind this awful post-apocalyptic experiment and this is only the beginning. The Maze Runner is part of a thrilling dystopian trilogy. Read the BOOK VS. FILM case study on The Maze Runner, here.
9) The Anthropocene Chronicles Part II by Rachael Howard, Nick Jackson & Fiona Leitch
TYPE: Dystopian Sci-fi
This is part two of the chronicles and again there are four amazing stories set in a future dystopian world. A new protagonist with each story. In part one we met an office worker following a strict schedule she can no longer cope with, an old-timer who refuses forced retirement, a young man trying to get to the top of society and an overprivileged madam who wouldn’t spit on you if you were on fire. In part two, we meet a rather cheeky elderly lady, a neurotic writer, a poor factory worker and a hunky doctor. I was drawn into every single story and though short, I invested in the characters. The is a multi-media project and the film makers behind it are planning to bring it to our screens. An actress has been hired to play the first protagonist and we should see some fun snippets from her character very soon!
10) Skeletal by Emma Pullar
TYPE: Dystopian Thriller
Shameless plug! As a huge fan of dystopian fiction I endeavoured to write my own. I hope readers enjoy it and much as I have enjoyed other authors’ dystopian stories.
Gale City is the last city in the world and under the strict control of the illusive Centrals. When females reach adulthood, they’re given the chance to compete at Showcase for the honour of becoming surrogates for the Morbihan – a highly intelligent, obese race of people, unable to procreate naturally. All the other girls are excited to become hosts, all except Megan Skyla. Convinced there’s more to life, Skyla teams up with an unlikely friend and they go in search of a cure for the Morbihan condition. Things don’t go to plan and their journey becomes a harrowing quest fraught with danger and deceit.
Enjoy! BIO: Emma Pullar is a writer of dark fiction and children’s books. Her picture book, Curly from Shirley, was a national bestseller and named best opening lines by NZ Post. You can read her SJV Award shortlisted horror story, London’s Crawling, in the Dark Minds charity collection and her dystopian sci-fi story, Old Trees Don’t Bend, in The Anthropocene Chronicles. Emma has also written three shortlisted stories for Create50. Her debut novel SKELETAL published by Bloodhound Books is out NOW. Follow Emma on twitter HERE or visit her website www.emmapullar.com.
Anyway, I paid this kindness forward and sent the book to Jorja, who I met in TBC. (If you don’t know of this club, find it on Facebook, it’s the friendliest and most fun online book club). Lovely Jorja then sent me a gorgeous thank you card and I’ve put it pride of place on my bookcase. Next time you’re in a slump, go hang out in the book club.
4. Two Books are Better Than One
I usually read two books at a time. The reason I do this is because I’m a slow reader, often having to read in short bursts because I never know what I might be doing from one day to the next.
This helps in two ways:
1. I chose two very different stories and so if one doesn’t suit my mood that day, I can read the other.
2. I keep a paperback in my bag and the kindle in my bedside drawer. I know it seems like I should do this the other way around to save space but I often forget to charge my kindle, keeping it near a power source works better for me.
The first rule of Write Club is: you do not talk about Write Club.
The second rule of Write Club is … wait! Perhaps we should talk about it??
Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about what is acceptable behaviour in writing circles and what is considered bad manners. Perhaps you’ve already broken some Write Club rules.
Dare to read on? Are you tough enough to take a punch to the face and come back fighting. Yes? Then chew on these, suckers (Arf)! Enjoy …
Writers Shall Not Ask Other Writers to Write Their Book for Them
This should be obvious but clearly it isn’t, because I’ve had a few people contact me and the first line they write in the message is … ‘Can you write my book for me?’ (!!)
ERM NO! Hire a ghost writer, that’s what they’re for! I recommend John F McDonald. PLUS, if you want to turn your novel into a screenplay, why not try Elinor Perry-Smith?
Writers Shall Not Send Unsolicited Material
Seriously, this is like meeting someone for the first time and forcing food into their mouth without asking if they want some. Don’t do it. What’s more, don’t send unasked-for stuff to industry pros like literary agents either, you’re wasting your time!
Writers Shall Not Ask Other Writers For Reviews
Think about who you are asking this favour of and whether they actually have time to spare. Many writers also have a day job, so their time is extremely precious. HOWEVER, book bloggers are actively looking for books to review … it’s a question of looking in the WRITE PLACE! Doh!
Writers Shall Not Spam Everyone Up The Arse
There’s a thin line between marketing and spam. KNOW WHAT THEY ARE. Yes, yes writers love to help fellow writers, but AGAIN, remember it’s book bloggers you should be targeting.
So, don’t use your social media simply to try and flog your blog, plus always remember another person’s online space is like their house. Don’t plaster posters up over it without asking, this is the sort of thing that annoys the crap out of people online.
Writers Shall Not Advertise in Comments & Threads (unless asked)
Three words, ‘move to trash’. Just like rule 4, this practice is SPAM too! DON’T lose your credibility as a writer online.
Writers Shall Not Ask to Read Someone’s Work In Progress (WIP)
Can I read your manuscript? Ha! No. Most writers have a group of beta readers. Professional writers need to earn a living. They can’t give work away. Hobby writers may say yes to your request but learn to tell the difference. Would you ask a chef for their recipes before they publish the cookbook or would you wait and buy the book?
It should be the same for novels. Peer review is okay, muscling in is not. If you can’t tell the difference then do what I do, don’t ask, drop subtle hints and wait for them to offer!
Writers Shall Not Ask for A Free Book
Many people don’t stop to think about cost. Is it free to put a book together? No. Asking for a free book is like asking for money. Most of us can’t really afford to write books, we do it because it’s who we are.
If you enjoy the work then please support your writer friends by paying 99p for an ebook. I love paperbacks but if I can’t afford one I will spend 99p for an ebook. Most of us can do that. (Psssssst if you still want a free book, then look out for competitions and giveaways on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I’ve won a few books this way).
Writers Shall Not Enter into Spam Wars
Writers who constantly plug their books think this is good exposure but trust me, it’s NOT. Find someone who loves your book and ask them to push it. Chances are they may do this already!
If an author constantly posts the same thing over and over, no new info, nothing different to say – people switch off. Find a new and exciting way to get people thinking about your book. Change it up.
Writers Shall Not Ask for Free Editing
Editing and proofing are REALLY IMPORTANT. Don’t skimp on this by trying to be a cheapskate. There are lots of cost-effective services around, LIKE THIS ONE, or THIS ONE.
Writers Shall Not Ask for Access to Agents or Publishers!
You should NEVER message a writer out of the blue and ask them to put you in contact with their publisher/agent. I can’t emphasise this point enough.
Effective networking means friendship and trust. Example: I made friends with a writer. Exchanged feedback. She was searching for a publisher. I knew someone. I contacted them on her behalf. She submitted her work. She now has a book deal.
A month ago, this writer didn’t know me and this month she landed a book deal via me. Then, I got the chance to pitch my work because of this same writer’s encouragement.
Remember: friends first, favours second!
Concluding: It’s difficult to navigate the writing world without knowing the ‘rules.’ I hope I’ve made it a bit clearer for newbies and in avoiding these pitfalls I’m sure you’ll find every success on your writing journey.
The first rule of Write Club is: you should definitely talk to everyone about Write Club.
Emma Pullar is a bestselling and award-winning writer of dark fiction and children's books. Her picture book, Curly from Shirley, was a national bestseller and named best opening lines by NZ Post. Emma has one writing competition and awards for her short stories and short scripts. Emma's debut novel, Skeletal, was published by Bloodhound Books in autumn 2017, the sequel, Avian, was published summer 2018.
Emma's crime debut, Paper Dolls, was released March 2019. The audiobook is out Aug 15th and Czech Republic edition will be published in 2020.
Emma also writes articles for Bang2write and Into the Script.
Follow Emma on Twitter @EmmaStoryteller or Instagram @emmapullar_storyteller or fb Emma Pullar.
Follow Emma on Goodreads.