Narrative Transport. The official Michael Pryor website.
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  • September30th

    Mmmm …

    I posted the above pic on Twitter and Instagram, and it prompted such enthusiasm I thought I’d share the recipe I use. Don’t be intimidated, it’s very easy – much easier than making jam.

    The only slightly tricky part is sterilising the jars and lids. I just pop my jars in the oven at 100 degrees for fifteen minutes or so, and I boil my lids in a saucepan for about the same time. Because you store this lovely concoction in the fridge, all should be fine. It won’t last long enough to go off, anyway.

    Here’s the lemon butter recipe I use.

    Ingredients

    3 eggs

    1 cup sugar

    1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

    Half a cup lemon juice

    60 g butter, chopped.

    Method

    1. Combine ingredients in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. (It’s obvious when this happens).
    2. Remove from heat and pour into warm, sterilised jars. When cool, label and date. Store in the fridge. Smother on toast, crumpets, scones, whatever takes your fancy.
  • July24th

    Apollo 11 50th got me thinking, so here are Five of my Favourite Science Fiction Moon Novels.
    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein. The moon is revolting! Or its denizens are, anyway. One of the last good Heinlein novels?
    Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. If the moon explodes in the first line, is it really a moon novel?
    Steel Beach by John Varley. A heavily populated moon, because aliens won’t let us go any further into the universe.
    Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys. An existential moon. Mind bending.
    A Fall of Moondust by Arthur C Clarke. A dusty moon, which is a problem.

  • June30th

    One crafty technique that should be part of every writer’s toolbox is using foibles, quirks and mannerisms in your characterisation. You should do this for two very good reasons:

    1. They individualise your characters. All humans have foibles, quirks and mannerisms. They’re the minor and unconscious ways we do things, from the way we walk to the way we talk to the way we eat our food. Allocate a handful of these to each of your characters in incidental description, and instantly they’re more realistic, more human, more convincing.
    2. They can create a Moment of Recognition™. As a writer, we’re all aiming to engage our readers. One of the most subtle – but most powerful – methods is when a reader recognises something in one of your characters that is like someone they’ve seen, or like someone they know or – best of all – just like themselves. Dropping in well detailed foibles, quirks and mannerisms is a useful way of providing opportunities for those Moments of Recognition™ that help your reader develop a deep and enduring engagement with your story.

    For example, consider someone who cannot finish drinking something without adding a satisfied ‘Ahh!’. We all know, or have seen someone like that. If your character – major or minor – displays this foible/quirk/mannerism, it instantly individualises them (because this character is the only one in your story who displays this FQM) and creates a potential Moment of Recognition™. Achievement unlocked.

    As a writer, you should practise observing people, noticing these tiny aspects of our behaviour, then collect them and roll them out to make your characters more realistic, more individual and, with luck, create that wonderful moment of recognition hook for your readers.

  • July3rd

    All done and dusted! ‘Extraordinaires 2’ is finished and in the hands of the clever people at Random House.