Top Ten Articles – September 2018

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 what I feel are the ten best articles about making art, writing fiction, making webcomics etc… that I’ve posted here during the past month. As usual, I’ll include a couple of honourable mentions too.

All in all, this month’s articles turned out reasonably well. Surprisingly, I actually ended up writing a few critic-style articles about “Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines“, mostly since I was re-playing this game at the time, which also explains why my planned review of “Under A Killing Moon” never appeared.

Still, since I was preparing last year’s Christmas stories at the time I was writing these articles, there’s a few articles about the film noir genre here.

Anyway, here are the lists πŸ™‚ Enjoy πŸ™‚

Top Ten Articles – September 2018:

– “Three Tips For How To Look For Inspiration
– “How Much Do You Have To Explain About Your Fictional ‘World’ If You Want A Re-Readable Story?
– “Three Quick Tips For How To Fake “Film Noir”-Style Narration
– “Three Reasons Why Fan Works Can Sometimes Be Better Than Their “Official” Counterparts
– “Four Rambling Thoughts About Making ‘Film Noir’-Style Art
– “Two Very Basic Tips For Writing ‘Film Noir’ Comedy
– “When To Wait For Inspiration (And When Not To) – A Ramble
– “Two Tips For Binge Creativity (eg: Binge Writing, Comic Binges etc..)
– “Three Cool Benefits Of Reading More In The Past Than You Do Now
– “Four Tips For Finding Creative Inspirations On A Low Budget

Honourable mentions:

– “Four Reasons Why Things From The 1990s Can Seem More Creative
– “Three Technical Tips For Painting From Memory

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Top Ten Articles – July 2018

Well, it’s the end of the month and that means that it’s time for me to make my usual list of links to my favourite articles about making art, writing fiction and/or making webcomics that I’ve posted here over the past month. As usual, I’ll also include a couple of honourable mentions too.

Although there were still a fair number of game and/or film reviews posted here this month, there were slightly fewer than during my film review series last month. Still, thanks to the fact that I was making a webcomic and preparing last year’s Halloween stories at the time of writing this month’s articles, there were a fair number of reasonably good articles about writing, comics etc..

Anyway, here are the lists πŸ™‚ Enjoy πŸ™‚

Top Ten Articles – July 2018:

– “Three Reasons Why Your Short Story Collections Should Include Some Variety
– “Three Things To Do When You Can’t Make A Horror Story Too Gruesome
-“Three Basic Tips For Making “Old Future”-Style Sci-Fi Art
– “Three More Ways To Deal With Failed Paintings (Emotionally)
– “Three Reasons Why Stories Can Have Alternative Endings
– “Three Reasons Why Things In The Horror Genre Can Be Scarier Than You Remember
– “Even More Thoughts About “Obvious” Early Creative Inspirations – A Ramble
– “Three Ways To Stop Your Readers Feeling “Out Of Their Depth
– “Why Inspiration Works In “Strange” Ways
– “Three Basic Ways To Disguise “Lazy” Art

Honourable Mentions:

– “Four Things I Learnt About Art and Storytelling From Watching Films From The 1990s
– “Why Creative Works Don’t Always Have To Make Sense – A Ramble

Top Ten Articles – May 2018

Well, it’s the end of the month and this means that it’s time for me to provide my usual list of links to my ten favourite articles about making art, writing fiction and/or making webcomics that I’ve posted here over the past month. As usual, I’ll also include a couple of honourable mentions.

All in all, this month was something of a mixed bag. Although there are some articles that I’m really proud of, there were also times when the quality dropped somewhat. In addition to this, I also ended up writing more reviews than usual this month too (this may end up turning into something of a trend, or it might not. I’m not sure, although I’ll still try to follow my “don’t post two reviews in a row” rule).

Anyway, here are the lists. Enjoy πŸ™‚

Top Ten Articles – May 2018:

– “Why Does Current Art Often Look Slightly ‘Old’? – A Ramble
– “When NOT To Let Your Art Evolve – A Ramble
– “Four Tips For Adding Some 1990s-Style Silliness To Your Story Or Comic
– “Five Things That Two Old TV Shows Can Teach Us About 1990s-Style Storytelling
– “Four Ways To Make Your Audience Feel Like Rebels
– “Why Creative People Should Be Critics Too – A Ramble
– “Making Digital Art With Open-Source Software – A Demonstration
– “Five Reasons Why Artists Should Be Gamers Too
“How Artists Work Out Their ‘Process'”
– “Three Cheap Ways To Make Trendy Types Of Art

Honourable Mentions:

– “Two Basic Ways To Use Reference Images When Making Art
– “Making Art Based On Daydreams – A Ramble

Short Stories – March 2018

Well, although I’ve decided to take a break, possibly an extended one, from writing daily short stories (don’t worry, normal daily articles and art posts will continue πŸ™‚), I thought that I’d collect links to all 24 of the short stories I posted here this month in case you missed any of them (like I did with the nine stories I wrote in February). You can also find links to lots of other short stories on this page too.

I’m still amazed that I managed to write a total 33 short stories in a row (the most I’ve managed before is fourteen stories) and the highlights of this month’s collection include: ‘Floor Seven‘, ‘Stage Fright‘, ‘Rusty‘, ‘Expo‘, ‘Haunt Of The Horror Comics‘, ‘A MΓ€rchen In March‘, ‘Village‘, ‘Demo‘ and ‘Last Refuge Of The Splatterpunks‘.

Anyway, here are the stories πŸ™‚ Enjoy πŸ™‚

Haunt Of The Horror Comics“: This is a short story, set in mid-1950s Britain, about a couple who visit a corner shop shortly before horror comics are banned.

Culture: This is a random character study – set during the ’00s – which follows a goth who visits a goth club for the first time. Originally, this story was supposed to be a sarcastic comedy, but it ended up going in a slightly more serious/literary/poignant direction instead.

Floor Seven“: This is a creepy horror story, set in 1990s America, that I wrote because I wanted to try writing something that evoked the grungy claustrophobic gloom of many classic mid-late 1990s Hollywood horror movies, TV show episodes and videogames.

Expo“: This is a random story, set in 2000/2001, about a games journalist who visits a videogame trade show/exhibition in London.

A MΓ€rchen In March: This is a vaguely Lovecraftian horror/fantasy story (with some very mild thriller elements too) that was inspired by the recent snowy weather. It’s a little bit more of a descriptive and “serious” story than usual, but it was interesting to write.

Background Music: This is a somewhat rambling, semi-autobiographical “stream of consciousness” style piece that I wrote about having random daydreams during heavy metal concerts. It probably isn’t my best story, but it was kind of fun to write.

Food Court ’95“: This is a slightly random and mildly comedic vignette, set in mid-1990s America, that I wrote when I was tired (so, it’s probably filled with historical errors, Briticisms etc..). It basically just involves a punk and a frat guy sitting in the food court of a shopping centre and trading sarcastic and/or cynical dialogue with each other. Still, for something I wrote when I was tired, it turned out relatively well, I guess.

Heist: In the distant future, two criminals are trying to hack their way into the vault of a storage facility. But, there’s a problem! The security robots are closing in on them and they’ve only got one plasma pistol between them.

Frat House Blues ’95: Here’s the long-awaited sequel to “Food Court ’95“. Ok, I actually wrote this because one line in “Food Court” made me wonder what Roy and Lucy’s Friday night would actually be like. Needless to say, it includes lots of sarcastic dialogue and a couple of ’90s pop culture references (including a potentally anachronistic one).

Plain Sight: This is a descriptive urban fantasy/magic realism story that I had a lot of fun writing πŸ™‚ But, even after trimming something like four paragraphs from it, it’s still marginally longer (at 1000-1100 words) than many of my other stories. Then again, this might be because of the genre – I mean, fantasy fiction isn’t exactly known for brevity…

Common Factor“: This bizarre cyberpunk story was the result of both spending too much time reading “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson* and watching multiple Youtube videos about obscure musical instruments. (*due to major scheduling differences between these short stories and my daily articles, my review of this novel won’t appear until next February. Even so, there will be a review of Stephenson’s “The Diamond Age” in December ).

Rusty: …And this cyberpunk comedy story is what happens when I play “Doom II” for the first time in about two weeks (how did I get that out of practice so fast?) and then find an absolutely hilarious pirate-themed music video [Explicit lyrics] on Youtube. This short story is also something of a spiritual successor to this cyberpunk story I wrote in 2016 too.

Trance“: This is a cyberpunk story that includes no electronic technology whatsoever. And, although I tried to write something like this in 2016, this one actually technically fits into the criteria of “cyberpunk without electronic technology“.

Chess: Somehow, this ended up being a story about… chess.. of all things. It’s kind of a mildly “literary” story, with some comedy elements.

Stage Fright: At a heavy metal concert, something evil is lurking in the audience! This gloriously cheesy 1980s-style comedy horror story was sooo much fun to write πŸ™‚ I wrote the first draft of it on the day that the new Judas Priest album came out, so no prizes for guessing what I was listening to when I wrote it.

Order: In a dystopian future, someone is questioned about membership of a mysterious secret society. And, yes, I’m surprised that it’s taken me this long to write any dystopian fiction. And, if anyone is curious, the meme mentioned in the story also makes a secret appearance in this article I posted in February.

Last Refuge Of The Splatterpunks: An old 1980s horror author discovers something terrible about one of his old books and decides to drown his sorrows at the pub with a fellow ’80s horror author. And, yes, this story was inspired by something I saw when looking online for modern splatterpunk fiction that brought out my inner grumpy old cynic and literally made me say something like “In my day…“. And, well, I only discovered splatterpunk fiction during the 2000s!

Village: A couple get lost in the countryside and find themselves in a small village – but, the village isn’t on the map! This gothic horror story, set in the late 1980s/early 1990s, was inspired by a recent visit to a small village called Southwick.

Grim: A man is shopping in a run-down shopping centre when he notices that a certain robed, scythe-wielding fellow is following him.. This story, set in the 2000s, was kind of fun to write (and I’m seriously surprised that it’s taken me this long to use the Grim Reaper as a character) although it was a little bit rushed, and it probably shows.

Demo: Ok, I mostly wrote this cynical nostalgia-themed comedy story so that I could include an “extract” from one of the fictitious 1980s splatterpunk horror novels mentioned in this story. And, yes, it was really fun to write πŸ™‚

Letters: Sometimes, the local paper is accidentally delivered to Joanne’s house. Normally, she doesn’t mind, but she has noticed something happening with the “letters” page…. Although this story was a little rambling, I can’t believe that it has taken me this long to write something in this genre πŸ™‚

Deadline: This random Lovecraftian/magic realism/2000s nostalgia story was something I wrote when I was in an uninspired mood. It probably isn’t my best work, but I’m still surprised that I managed to write something.

Snow Beast: Wow! I can’t believe that it has taken me this long to write a monster story πŸ™‚ This story was inspired by the recent “mini beast” snowstorm here in the UK, and it can also be read as something of a prequel and/or companion piece to this story from 2-3 weeks ago.

Blank: I had writer’s block, so this story is the ultimate lazy cop-out (a story about a writer getting writer’s block). It’s a bit like the story a couple of days ago (“Deadline“), but with more comedy and commentary about the horror genre. The final two paragraphs of this story turned out vaguely ok, but the rest of it isn’t brilliant.

Top Ten Articles – February 2018

Well, it’s the end of the month and that means that it’s time for me to compile a list of links to my ten favourite articles about making art, making comics and/or writing fiction that I’ve posted here this month (with a couple of honourable mentions too).

All in all, this has been a surprisingly good month in terms of articles. Although I felt a little bit uninspired near the end of the month, I really like how many of this month’s articles turned out πŸ™‚

Anyway, here are the lists πŸ™‚

Top Ten Articles – February 2018:

– “Three Things To Do When You Can’t Think Of An Idea For A Painting (That Feels “Meaningful” Or “Relevant” Enough To Bother With)
– “Three Tips For Finding Artistic Knowledge (That Can’t Be Found Online)
– “Why Your Terrible First Attempt At Writing A “Novel” Is Important (Plus, An Extract From Mine)
– “Why It Is Difficult To Emulate The Past – A Ramble
– “Three Random Tips For Creating Things Set In (mid-late) 1990s Britain
– “Three Tips For Making More Interesting Fan Art
– “One Basic Way To Make Up For The Lack Of Background Music In Art, Comics And Fiction
– “Unlike Fiction And Comics, Art Is Non-Linear (And What This Means If You’re Making It) – A Ramble
– “Two Basic Tips For Making Art That Is Distinctly ‘You’.”
– “Three Basic Tips For Storytelling In Wordless Comics

Honourable Mentions:

– “How To Deal WIth Writer’s Block And Artist’s Block Like A Pro – A Ramble
– “Letting Your Imagination Assert Itself – A Ramble

Top Ten Articles – January 2018

Well, it’s the end of the month. So, as usual, it’s time for me to provide a list of links to my ten favourite articles about making webcomics, making art and/or writing fiction that I’ve posted here over the past month (plus, a couple of honourable mentions too).

All in all, this month was a reasonably good month in terms of articles, although there were slightly more reviews than usual. Not to mention that I had at least a few uninspired days (which led to the occasional repetitive and/or opinionated article)

Anyway, here are the lists πŸ™‚ Enjoy πŸ™‚

Top Ten Articles – January 2018

– “Three Reasons Why Combining Two Awesome Things Can Sometimes Be Less Awesome
– “Three Tips For Quick “Formal” Writing”
– “A Perfect Example Of How To Take Inspiration Properly – A Ramble
– “The Importance Of Having Multiple Inspirations – A Ramble
– “Are Futuristic Settings An Essential Part Of The Cyberpunk Genre?
– “Three Basic Things To Do If You Start Running Out Of Inspiration In The Middle Of A Painting
– “Four Reasons Why We Enjoy Things That Are ‘So Bad That They’re Good’
– “Five Free Pirate-themed Creative Inspirations (That Don’t Involve Digital Piracy)
– “Three Tips For Getting To Know An Obscure Genre (If You Want To Make Stuff In It)
– “Three Tips For Taking Inspiration From Other (Web)Comics, Whilst Keeping Your Webcomic Original

Honourable mentions:

– “How To Have More Than One Main Inspiration
– “Why Do Critics Have A Reputation For Being Cynical ? – A Ramble

All Ten Of My “Noir Christmas 2017” Short Stories

Well, in case you missed any of them, here’s a handy list of links to all ten of my recent “Noir Christmas” short stories.

These stories are best read in order, although many of them are fairly self-contained. If you just want to read the basic underlying story arc, then read the first, third, fourth and tenth stories. My personal favourite story in the collection is probably the ninth one.

Surprisingly, this was the first collection I’ve written in quite some time to feature a single unnamed main character throughout the collection. Surprisingly, the stories also ended up being set in something resembling present-day Britain rather than the more traditional “1920s-50s America” setting I’d originally thought about using.

Anyway, here are the stories πŸ™‚ Enjoy πŸ™‚

1) “Preludes And Portents – A private detective hasn’t had a client in days. Perhaps a piece of junk mail holds the answers….

2) “Headlines“: The detective muses about Raymond Chandler, only to find that a mysterious man with a gun has appeared outside the office door.

3) “Stakeout“: The detective decides to investigate the slick new detective agency that has recently appeared in the local shopping centre. However, things may not be as they seem…

4) “Amateurs“: Finally! A client! And, perhaps many more…

5) “Magic“: The detective is asked to explain a magic trick…

6) “Espionage“: The detective’s latest client wants the private computer codes of a senior German politician. Not only is the case illegal, but it’s too much *ugh* effort. What will the detective do?

7) “Night Off“: The detective takes a night off.

8) “Paranormal“: A rich property developer needs the detective’s help. Ever since he planned to turn the local community centre into luxury flats, he’s been hearing ominous noises at night….

9) “The Twelve Cases Of Christmas“: Twelve clients in one morning!? What will the detective do?

10) “Finale“: The detective’s new business strategy has ruffled some feathers…