The Log of Consciousness

Taking nearly all the magic out of writing, researchers in New York have developed an algorithm to determine if you have written a best seller. Or not, as is more often the case.

This procedure for ‘calculating’ a bestseller looks at the correlation between writing style and commercial success. Not surprisingly the research began at Project Gutenberg with the success of the novel determined by the number of downloads. Less successful novels relied on Amazon’s sales ranking, and The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown was included because of the sheer weight of negative critical evaluation in spite of its enormous commercial success. Continue reading “The Log of Consciousness”


So far the research for my narrative non-fiction project has included being called ‘hen’, being enticed into a dark and dusty room full of baskets containing crystals and locked in, witnessing the breakdown of a young mother who lost her little boy in a car crash, Chinese dumplings, being asked to stop writing, bursting into tears in front of a room full of strangers – strange strangers at that, smiling as sweetly as I could at a man making bird noises for me and gently refusing to partake in a plate of stale biscuits proffered by a sweaty round woman … Continue reading Research

Fact or Friction

Standing outside a typical Edinburgh tenement building waiting to show viewers round a property, I became fascinated with an elderly woman at a window of a more modern apartment building across the street. The window was open at the bottom and at first I thought she was using a towel to clean the glass, but as I continued to watch a more interesting picture began to develop. I could see behind her into a miserable and far too predictable bedroom, the furnishings so grey and miserly I wondered if she was in sheltered housing. Two facts dawned on me at … Continue reading Fact or Friction

MA Gag Reel

In a mentoring session far, far away … Me: So based on your feedback, I have performed some  cosmetic tweaks to the piece but I have some questions about the best way to improve this section *points*, and I’m worried about this section *points* Sam: Yes. Well. I think I have to be careful about how I explain things. When I said a few tweaks I meant take a huge step back and rewrite the whole piece. Me: *jaw clunks to floor and heart follows* But I have it in black and white! You said ‘This is a sophisticated piece which, with … Continue reading MA Gag Reel