Monthly Archives: January 2015

Who are these characters?


characters Sean McMullen|16 January 2015

Why are you writing? The chances are you want to create a ‘perfect’ characters. Worse – yes, worse – you may want to be one of your characters. Bad approach. I’ve seen that happen a lot while judging writing competitions and running writing workshops. I’ve even seen it happen in professionally published novels.

What is wrong with the author being in love with a character, or being one of them? For starters, characters like that can do no wrong, and this is seriously boring. Well, to everyone except the author, anyway. What do Dexter Morgan, Walter White and Sherlock all have in common? Apart from being guys, and being in television series, they get it wrong sometimes and get pushed to the limit. They are flawed, and they spend a lot of time cleaning up mistakes, yet they are still great characters.

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When a great idea isn’t enough


Inspiration without perspiration?

Sean McMullen|4  January 2015

I call this the Eureka phenomenon, and I bet you’ve experienced it at least once in your life.

Imagine it’s New Year’s resolution time and you see a poster of a very buff body promoting your local gym. What better way to turn your life around, you think. By the next day you’ve joined the gym and are eyeing off the heaviest weights, imagining your own reinvented physique on that poster in a month or so. So you grab the biggest barbell, and…well, that afternoon you’re at the doctors with a sprained back and a demolished fantasy.

So what does this have to do with writing? More than you might think. You’ve just come up with a stunningly original idea for a novel—Eureka! You’re positive it’s going to be the world’s next mega hit and you’ll need a body guard to protect you from adoring fans. This idea is so hot that you won’t even tell your best friend and you’re thinking about hiring a copyright lawyer.

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‘The Ferry Man’ by Pandora Hope in Interzone (January 2015)

Pandora Hope|4 January 2015

I loved writing this story. Having overdosed on vampires, werewolves, witches and angels, it was wonderful to explore the little-known mythology of the Norse succubus, the huldra. Rather than robbing their victims of blood, succubi survive on the life-force of their victims, a concept I thought had fascinating parallels with human relationships. I’ve studied runology and Norse mythology for five years now, and find it endlessly fascinating. I hope this story inspires readers to explore the myths and legends of the true lands of ice and fire.
The story is published by TTA publishing in issue 256 of Interzone,  January 2015. The link to the magazine is
For anyone interested in the less well-known aspects of rune lore and Norse mythology, my Facebook page contains more information.

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