Articles

Mystery Map

I made a map. But before I tell you about it, let me explain why I made a map… in one sentence: Writers like to procrastinate. If you’re a writer, you know that sentence well. You probably even have it printed on a t-shirt. You probably even took the time out to design and hand-make the t-shirt. I know this well. I have spent many happy hours designing t-shirt ideas: catchy, writerly phrases. Juxtapositions of images and words…

An Emotional List

I read recently in a newspaper about a study into the range of emotions human beings can feel. The study turned up 27 of them. And this was a study undertaken by the University of California Berkeley, and not some random list drawn up by two men in a pub over a pint…

Withnail & I

Picture this: A large, empty, cavernous movie theater auditorium in the depths of winter. I’m in a jacket and scarf, and my breath is visible. It’s a matinee screening and no one else came. The lights go down and the ruby red curtains part. A soulful saxophone echoes: a four a.m. version of Procol Harum’s A Whiter Shade of Pale. Up on the screen, a man sits in profile in a darkened sitting room and smokes a cigarette. He’s contemplating the universe, or he’s about to face a firing squad…

Brief Encounters of the Story Kind

Writing a book or a short story is like a relationship. You meet a pretty girl (you think of a cool idea for a plot). You discover the girl is super smart and intelligent (the idea has depth and resonance, and is compelling), and you become even more attracted to her. You start on page one (you ask her out), and there begins your relationship in earnest…

The Heart of UX Design

Let’s take a short journey to the center of UX design and find out what lies at its heart. The only travel items you’ll need are a couple of minutes and a cup of coffee. I’m a technical writer and UX analyst for an international software company, in case you’re wondering….

The Queen of Crime

Edith Ngaio Marsh was born in 1895 (April 23; same birthday as Shakespeare) and died in 1982. In both instances, in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you want to talk about New Zealand and crime/mystery fiction, you start (and can pretty much end) with Ngaio Marsh…