Writing Fiction in a Dystopian Reality: How 2020 has Lost the Plot

Aaron Mullins Author Writer Black Lives Matter Protest

In our somewhat dystopian society of 2020, everything you thought you knew about writing speculative fiction has been turned on its head.

Dystopian meaning: A dystopian world is one where there is great suffering or injustice. Stories of struggle are often set within a dystopian society in these books. Usually set in the future, dystopian fiction books are often aimed at the young adult book market. The Handmaid’s Tale is a famous dystopian series and 1984 is a dystopian novel.

I think you’ll agree with me when I say that 2020 is turning out to be the strangest year that any of us have ever experienced. And as authors who try to analyse events and capture the fears and feelings of our readers, it’s doubly difficult.

Ten years ago I began writing a novel while at university. It was a detective crime thriller story, set in a dystopian society, in a world that had been ravaged by a virus. Militaries had seized control of governments and citizens lived under restricted conditions, similar to the COVID-19 lockdown.

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Mysteries and Misadventures: Tales from the Highlands

Aaron Mullins Mysteries Misadventures Tales from the Highlands Book

You’ll never guess what happened to me this morning, before I even had my coffee…

…I opened an email from Amazon saying that they had finally linked the ebook and paperback versions of my new Scottish short stories collection, which meant I could claim them on my Author Central and start marketing them!!

Mysteries and Misadventures: Tales from the Highlands by me, Aaron Mullins, is a collection of Scottish short stories based in the Highlands of Scotland, featuring Caithness tales of the unexpected. Mystery, crime and thriller short stories abound in tales of Scottish life. The Story behind the Stories section reveals the inspiration for each short story, based on my childhood experiences growing up in Caithness.

So I suddenly found myself with a mystery short stories book launch to prep for. I knew I wanted to do a book promo video for the launch, so I set about making that first and adding it to my Aaron Mullins Author YouTube Channel:

Available as a paperback or an ebook, including on Kindle Unlimited, you can grab your copy HERE:

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Scottish Dialect: An Author’s Guide to Highland Dialogue

aaron-mullins-highland-accent-dialogue-dialect-authors-guide

The beautiful lilt of a Scottish accent. It’s a wonderful thing to hear, but as I have discovered, an absolute headache to spell Scots dialect words so they sound just right to the ear.

How to write Scottish characters: with an authentic sounding Scottish accent, your character’s dialogue must contain the correct Scots words, to really bring the people of Scotland to life. Authors writing books in Scots must maintain the Scots language for their entire length, in their chosen Scottish dialect.

Scottish Dialects

The Scots language consists of four main dialects: Insular, Northern, Central, and Southern. Many sub-dialects exist across Scotland, which in turn also have their own local Scots accents. For example, a Glasgow Accent, is a local variant of the West Central Scots accent, which in turn is a sub-dialect of the broader Central Scots dialect.

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Creative Writing Inspiration and Ideas: 10 Beach Writing Prompts

Aaron Mullins. Author, Writer, Books. Tips. Guides.

Creative writing inspiration often comes to us in waves of inspirational writing ideas, and sometimes quite literally, as this means heading to the beach.

Short story inspiration can be found within the relaxing sound of the waves. Poetry inspiration formed along with footprints with the soft crush of sand beneath your feet.

Writing prompts are scattered across the sand. Creative writing inspiration discovered among the lost items washed ashore. Short story ideas forming from a mysterious object bobbing on the waves. Good story ideas are sometimes hard to come by, but a stroll along the beach may be all the writing inspiration you need.

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Top 10 Tips for Writers: Author Advice

Aaron Mullins. Author, Writer, Tips. Guides.

My Top 10 Tips for Writers provides quick advice for authors on how to improve their writing.

Every writer develops their own voice. They each have their own unique mannerisms, quirks and ways of working. And we all learn what works best for us, as authors.

Creative writing tips for writers cover a variety of writing advice. From novel writing tips to short stories, the top tips may vary, but every author needs to make a list of the best tips that help their own writing. This is because tips for writing a book are not set in stone. This list covers 10 of the best writing tips for beginners, personal to my own writing.

I like having a set of rules that I write by, and a few quick ways to self-edit my writing. These may not work for everyone. They may be generic writing rules and advice applicable to all authors, or they may fly in the face of convention. But these are the writing tips that keep me focused, structured and able to maintain both my author voice and the quality of my writing.

In no particular order of importance, here’s my own personal Top 10 Tips for Writers.

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5 Places in Paris for Writing Inspiration

Aaron Mullins. Author, Writer, Books. Tips. Guides.

Paris is a fantastic source of inspiration for writers. Book yourself into a Paris writing retreat and prepare to be inspired!

When we think of the French capital, Paris conjures up images of fashionable people, streets lined with cafés and beautiful buildings. There’s always the smell of great food and the hint of romance in the air.

The City of Light is also an inspirational place for authors who enjoy writing mysteries, horror and adventure books. We all know about the skull-lined catacombs that lie beneath the Parisian streets, holding the remains of six million people.

So with both the dreamy and the darkness in mind, here are my top 5 places in Paris for writing inspiration:

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Free Poems: Broken

Aaron Mullins. Author, Writer, Books. Tips. Guides.

This free poem was originally composed as free verse poetry many years ago, at a low point in my young life. While not the best poetry, at the time, everything felt like it was falling apart and I was expressing my emotions in a lot of ways, one of the more positive of which resulted in this poem.

The free verse poem underwent many revisions, becoming a more structured poem. Is it a love poem? Probably not. It’s the aftermath of a breakup. It’s sad poetry, an ending verse of love poems, where the love has unfortunately faded. Like most of our best poetry, this free poem started out based on personal events, but then became fictional poetry as the story progressed. This poetry is free for all to enjoy.

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Free Short Stories: Rapunzel’s Lament

Aaron Mullins. Author, Writer, Books. Tips. Guides.

The second free short story that i’m going to share with you was actually the second assignment on my Creative Writing module at the University of Northampton, when I had just started writing again as an adult.

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Free Short Story: Rainy Day in Paris

Aaron Mullins. Author, Writer, Books. Tips. Guides.

Rainy Day in Paris is the first free short story that I would like to share with you. It is far from being my best writing. In fact, it was one of the first short stories I wrote as an adult!

Even though I was majoring in Psychology for my undergraduate BSc, I was allowed to choose two elective modules. I could have picked something more academic, or further psychology modules, but my love of writing made my choice for me. And an opportunity presented itself that was too good to pass up.

Which is how I found myself sitting in a classroom at Northampton University, studying Creative Writing under the tutelage of published author and The Guardian columnist Alan Smith. His skills, experience and insights helped shape my own writing for years to come. Unfortunately for him, this meant he had to read (and grade) my early short stories, poetry and other writing assignments, as he attempted to hone my skills as a writer. And now those stories are presented here as free short stories.

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How to Win Writing Competitions

How to Win Writing Competitions Author Writers UK Contests

Writing competitions are a great way to give yourself a deadline, focus your mind and produce your best writing.

How to win writing contests: this guide is for authors who are ready to submit their short stories, poetry and books into writing competitions. Short story competitions are usually for writers to submit their stories of around 1,000 to 3,000 words length. Poetry contests usually request poems for submission to be around 40 to 60 lines. There are also many young writers competitions, with age restrictions on accepting submissions, as well as flash fiction writing competitions, who usually accept stories up to 500 words.

This author guide will give tips and advice on how to win creative writing competitions.

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