Top Ten Articles – October 2019

Happy Halloween everyone 🙂 As usual, here’s a list of links to the ten best articles about writing, reading etc.. I’ve posted here over the past month (plus a few honourable mentions too). Plus, in keeping with the occasion, most of the articles linked here are about the horror genre 🙂

As regular readers of this site probably know, this month’s book reviews have also had a bit of a horror theme too 🙂 Although, thanks to reading some longer books, I only reviewed twelve books this month. Still, the best ones were probably: “The Mall” by S. L. Grey, “The Ritual” by Adam Nevill, “The Rats” by James Herbert, “The Vampire Armand” by Anne Rice, “Resident Evil: City Of The Dead” by S. D. Perry and “The First Days” by Rhiannon Frater.

Anyway, here are the lists 🙂 Enjoy 🙂

Top Ten Articles – October 2019:

– “Why Your Horror Story Needs To Include Moments Of Wonder
– “Four Advantages That Horror Film/Game Novelisations Have Over The Source Material
– “Three Basic Tips For Adding Horror Elements To Other Genres Of Fiction
– “Is Horror Fiction About Perspective?
– “Three Reasons Why Horror Writers Shouldn’t Just Read Horror Fiction
– “Three Thoughts About Re-Reading Novels
– “Three Ways To Survive A Horror Publishing Drought
– “Three Tips For Making Your Horror Stories Re-Readable
– “Three Innovative Scares To Use In Your Horror Story
– “Why First Novels Aren’t Publishable – A Ramble

Honourable Mentions:

– “How Formal Should The Narration In Your Horror Story Be?
– “Horror Movies Vs. Horror Novels – A Ramble
– “Three Reasons Why The Zombie Genre Is So Appealing

Top Ten Articles – August 2019

Well, it’s the end of the month and this means that it’s time for me to collect a list of the ten best articles about writing, making comics, reading books etc.. that I’ve posted here over the past month (As usual, I’ll also include a few honourable mentions too).

Despite being busy with various things, this month’s articles turned out better than I expected. Not only that, I also managed to review thirteen novels this month too – my favourites were probably: “Cabal” by Clive Barker, “Kill The Dead” by Tanith Lee, “Anno Mortis” by Rebecca Levene, “Meddling Kids” by Edgar Cantero and “Lies, Damned Lies, And History” by Jodi Taylor.

Anyway, here are the lists, enjoy 🙂

Top Ten Articles – August 2019:

– “Three Ways To Make Familiar Horror Monsters Scarier
– “One Essential, But Overlooked, Element Of Fantasy Fiction – A Ramble
– “Four Reasons To Read Books By Lots Of Different Authors
– “The One Time You Should Avoid Writing Advice – A Ramble
– “Three Random Tips For Making Your Zombie Story Stand Out From The Crowd
– “Three Thoughts About Writing Short Fantasy Fiction
– “Three Benefits And Downsides Of Reading A Lot
– “One Way To Improve The Filler Comics In Your Webcomic
– “Three More Thoughts About How To Make Zombie Stories Scary
– “Three Lessons Writers Can Learn From 1980s Horror Fiction

Honourable Mentions:

– “Three Awesome Reasons Why Books Are Rebellious
– “When Is It Ok To ‘Break The Rules’ In Your Writing?
– “Small Recaps Are Useful For Your Readers! Use Them! – A Ramble

Top Ten Articles – July 2019

Well, it’s the end of the month and this means that it’s time for me to do my usual thing of collecting a list of links to the ten best articles about writing, art, books etc.. that I’ve posted here over the past month. As usual, I’ll also include a couple of honourable mentions too.

This month’s articles turned out fairly well, although there were more articles about writing than about making art (this seems to be something of a trend over the past few months). Plus, this month also saw a comic-format article (linked at the top of the list later in this article) too – seriously, it has been years since I last made one of these 🙂

Likewise, I also ended up reviewing fourteen books this month and, to my delight, also read more sci-fi novels than usual too 🙂

My favourite books from this month’s reviews are probably: “Nova Swing” by M. John Harrison, “The Accidental Time Machine” by Joe Haldeman, “Ghost Dance” by Rebecca Levine, “Blood Music” by Greg Bear, “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?” By Jodi Taylor and “The Ice Queen” by Alice Hoffman.

Anyway, here are the lists 🙂 Enjoy 🙂

Top Ten Articles – July 2019:

– ” ‘Books – A Comic’ By C. A. Brown” (Comic)
– “Three Reasons Why Authors Write Books That Are ‘Difficult To Read’
– “Three Things To Do When You Worry That Your Short Story Is ‘Badly Written’
– “Good Stories Always Have ‘Deleted Scenes’ – A Ramble
– “Three Basic Tips For Making Your Thriller Story More Gripping
– “Three Thoughts About How To Use Multiple Story Threads
– “How To Use Misdirection In The Horror Genre – A Ramble
– “Three More Tips About When To Abandon A Short Story Project
– “One Clever Way To Make Minimalist Art Interesting (With An Example)
– “Three Tips For Writing Bleak Fiction (That People Will Actually Want To Read)

Honourable Mentions:

– “Three Beginners’ Tips For Writing Heavy Metal-Themed Stories
– “Awesome Art Can Lurk In Unlikely Places – A Ramble

Top Ten Articles – March 2019

Well, it’s the end of the month and this means that it’s time for me to collect links to my ten favourite articles about writing, making art, making webcomics, reading etc.. that I’ve posted here over the past month. As usual, I’ll include a few honourable mentions too.

All in all, this month was a reasonably good one in terms of articles – even though, like with the previous few months, there were fewer “ordinary” articles due to the fact that I’m posting reviews every 2-4 days. Likewise, I also tried (and failed – I finished it, but the quality was terrible) to write a 1980s-style horror novella at the time I was writing this month’s articles (and also started another novella project which I decided to write at a slower pace).

Talking of reviews, I ended up reviewing 13 novels and 2 “Doom II” WADs this month 🙂 The best novels that I reviewed this month are probably: “Box Nine” & “Word Made Flesh” by Jack O’Connell, “Zombie Apocalypse! Acapulcalypse Now” by Alison Littlewood, “Something Wicked This Way Comes” by Ray Bradbury, “A Second Chance” by Jodi Taylor, “Working For The Devil” by Lilith Saintcrow and “Heartstone” by C. J. Sansom.

Anyway, here are the lists 🙂 Enjoy 🙂

Top Ten Articles – March 2019:

– “When Does Cover Art Really Matter?
– “Two Terrifying Tips For Writing Extreme Horror Fiction
– “Four Thoughts About When (And How) To Abandon A Book You’re Reading
– “Three Random (But Realistic) Tips For Writing 1990s-Style Fiction
– “Three Random Tips For Creating Satirical Comics
– “Two Ways To Save Time Whilst Making Art
– “Two Basic Differences Between Modern And Older Novels
– “Two Basic Things To Do When A Creative Project Fails
– “Two Ways To Make Greyscale Drawings/Paintings Based On Your Colour Photos
– “Three Basic Tips For Writing Book Reviews

Honourable Mentions:

– “The Joy Of….”Middle Brow” Fiction
– “One Quick Way To Rekindle Enthusiasm For Your Story
– “Two Practical Reasons Why English Lit Lessons/Lectures Are Important

Top Ten Articles – January 2019

Well, it’s the end of the month and I thought that I’d do my usual thing of collecting links to my ten favourite articles about writing fiction, making art etc.. that I’ve posted here this month. As usual, I’ll include a couple of honourable mentions too.

All in all, this month’s articles turned out reasonably well. Although I’m still trying to post a book review every 2-4 days, so there are less instructional articles as a result (I don’t know when the next book review will be though, since the book I’m reading at the time of writing [“Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson] isn’t exactly a quick read, plus it’s been a while since my last “Doom II” level review too), quite a few of my articles turned out reasonably well.

Anyway, here are the lists 🙂 Enjoy 🙂

Top Ten Articles – January 2019:

– “Four Tips For Writing Daily Short Stories
– “Why Traditional Art Skills Still Matter – A Ramble
– “Two Basic Tips For Adding Some Nostalgia To Your Stories
– “Three Tips For Building A “Buffer” Of Stories, Comics, Articles etc.. To Post Online (If You’ve Already Started Posting Stuff)
– “Two Sneaky Ways To Be An Inspired Artist Again
– “Two Better Alternatives To Writing Fan Fiction
– “Four Random Tips For Writing Stories Set In 1990s America
– “Three Clever Hidden Tricks That Writers Use
– “Four Better Alternatives To Rotating First-Person Narration
– “Three Basic Tips For Writing Vampire Stories

Honourable Mentions:

– “Five Things I’ve Learnt From Getting Back Into Reading Regularly
– “Three More Tips For Reading More This Year

What To Expect Here In 2019

Happy New Year everyone 🙂 Since I prepare stuff for this blog quite far in advance, I thought that I’d talk about what you can expect to see here this year. And, yes, there will be some differences – although some of them may not be that much of a surprise if you’ve seen my DeviantART gallery (which is a couple of months ahead of the art posts on here, due to scheduling reasons) or read the comics index page on this site.

So, what can you expect in 2019?

Better lighting, five months of realistic landscapes and shorter comics: Although at least couple of paintings with digital lighting effects (created in this open-source program) have appeared here this year, expect it to not only become a more regular thing next year – but also expect more refined lighting effects too, since I realised that the program’s “airbrush” feature can be also be used to create lighting effects. Here’s a preview of one of the best upcoming paintings to use this technique:

This is a reduced-size preview. The full-size painting will be posted here on the 5th October 2019

On the other hand, from about mid-late January to mid-late June, expect to see pretty much nothing but “realistic” landscape art on here (with monthly comics and a couple of infrequent sci-fi paintings too). Some of these are better than others, but here’s a preview of one of the better ones:

This is a reduced-size preview, the full-size artwork will be posted here on the 5th April 2019.

This happened for a number of reasons – not only was I experimenting with photography, but thanks to things like preparing some of the short stories I posted here in early-mid 2018, other experiments with writing (at the time of writing, this consists of one and a half failed novels and a failed novella I won’t post here) and getting used to doing all of the reading for the regular book reviews, I didn’t feel that I had the time to make my usual art during these five months. So, photo-based paintings (which are paradoxically quicker to make) were a way to keep making art during these busy months.

Still, after feeling that I was losing what made me interested in art at the first place, I went back to making my more traditional sci-fi/gothic/retro etc.. art from mid-late June onwards, with photo-based paintings becoming an occasional thing that will appear for a couple of days every week or three. However, due to time contstraints, expect quite a few of these “traditional” paintings to be a little more rushed or less detailed.

Likewise, although I’ll still be posting monthly comics for at least the first eleven months of 2019 (still not sure about December), it’s been a bit touch-and-go with the time constraints. So, expect slightly shorter 2-4 comic mini series every month and, in some of them, slightly simpler art and/or bizarre art experiments (like using photos for backgrounds). Sorry about this, but it was pretty much the only way I could keep making monthly comics. Still, there will be the usual narrative Halloween comic in October, albeit at a shorter length of 6-7 pages.

Expect the full 6-7 page comic here in late October 🙂

Writing- based articles: With all of the book reviews appearing here (I’ve prepared a total of about 157, and counting, at the time of writing) and the writing experiments I’ve mentioned earlier, expect the daily articles that appear here in between book reviews to be a lot more focused on writing than on art.

Although I miss writing art-related articles, and there will be a few of them, one of the things with writing regular blog articles is that you often have to work with the source material that you have. In other words, since I’ve been focusing a lot more on reading fiction and writing it, it’s a lot easier to write about writing than it is to write about art (which, whilst I’m still making it, isn’t something I can always devote as much time/effort/imagination to as I did when preparing 2017 and 2018’s art).

Still, given that I’ve neglected writing-based articles a little bit in this year’s articles and, given that they were originally planned to be the main type of article when I started this blog in 2013, it’s kind of like a return to something a bit more traditional I guess.

Game reviews and a modern PC (November onwards): With the exception of the monthly “Doom II” WAD reviews (some traditions are sacred!), all of the reading etc… I’ve been doing has meant that I’ve had a lot less time for gaming. So, for most of the year, there won’t really be any game reviews – except for a review of “Resident Evil 3” in May.

However, about two or three weeks before I prepared this post, I ended up getting a vaguely modern refurbished PC. But, most of the articles for this year were prepared when I was using my trusty old mid-2000s computer, a fact referenced in several of the pre-written articles etc… appearing here from January to November (I’ll try to update them if I get the chance, but if I forget, then this is why).

Of course, I wanted to put this modern refurbished PC it through it’s paces – not to mention that, after abandoning it for quite a few months, I really missed gaming too. So, expect occasional modern game reviews from November onwards.

Yes, these probably won’t be “AAA” games (since I’m still using the computer’s integrated graphics, not to mention that some “AAA” games can only be bought from sites that use always-online DRM – which I’m wary of after Steam’s recent middle finger to users of older PCs, a category I belonged to less than a month ago).

But, so far, I’ve prepared reviews of two “AA” indie games ( a 1990s-themed “walking simulator” game called “Gone Home” and a 3D platformer called “Skylar & Plux: Adventure On Clover Island”). And I may or may not review the 2013 remake of “Shadow Warrior” (although I’ve had problems taking screenshots) and possibly a survival horror game from 2018 called “Remothered: Tormented Fathers” (if I can work up the courage and/or be lucky enough to get past the first segment of the game).

Book reviews will hopefully still appear in between these game reviews, although I’ve had to use a few sneaky tricks – such as focusing more on shorter and/or fast-paced novels and using the vast stack of pre-written articles to take occasional days off from preparing them without affecting the daily posting schedule. Still, I hope to keep reading for as long as possible. Still, expect more game-related stuff from November onwards.

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So, yes, 2019 will be a bit of a different year. Still, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy all of the stuff that will be appearing here 🙂

Today’s Art (31st December 2018)

Well, it’s a little early, but Happy New Year everyone 🙂 And, yes, I’m still surprised that we’re going to be living in the same year that “Blade Runner” is set in. And, yes, I had to make a cartoon about it (you can see the “work in progress” line art for it here), featuring the characters from many of my webcomics.

As usual, this cartoon is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Happy New Year 2019” By C. A. Brown