Bolthole Bulletin Topics



Bolthole Bulletin Topics are responses to questions from people who have written in and the vast majority deal with matters of general interest to writers and readers. To select a topic from the list below, simply click the relevant link and it will take you straight to that topic:


A deeper purpose
A high peak
A question of chemistry 
A right good end 
Ability and determination 
Accent in writing 
Action in dialogue
Age of receptivity
Alfred in River Boy 
Am I too old to write? 
American Blade
Among Water Lilies 
Angry cliffs, angry waves 
Apples in the bath
Approaching publishers/agents 
Authors and editors 
Background to Bloodchild 
Background to Buried Thunder 
Background to Dragon’s Rock 
Background to Maya’s Story 
Background to Midget 
Background to Night Runner
Background to Pressed Flowers 
Background to River Boy 
Background to Shadows 
Background to Starseeker 
Background to The Men Who Wouldn’t Sleep
Be bold
Becoming a better writer
Becoming the character 
Being and becoming 
Being the character
Being there 
Believing in yourself
Beyond gender
Blade rap 
Blade repackaged 
Blade slang 
Blade stuff 
Blade update 
Blade’s dangerous world 
Boltholes and kitchen tables 
Books that aren’t mine 
Born again artists 
Born with wings 
Buried Thunder questions
Can fiction be dangerous? 
Can I send you my work? 
Can writing be taught? 
Catching the meaning 
Celebrate chaos 
Changing perceptions 
Characters first 
Childhood is a place
Comfort zones 
Concealing art
Control versus chaos
Cotton wool librarians 
Creating suspense 
Creative chaos
Creative silence 
Cut, cut, cut 
Cutting deep 
Dead ends 
Defining success 
Defy self-doubt
Desert island questions 
Do writer’s have a duty to address moral issues?
Do you always know the ending when you start writing a story? 
Do you ever get stuck when writing? 
Do you get jealous of other writers?
Do you get upset by bad reviews? 
Do you have a sailing background? 
Do you have any ambitions? 
Do you plan/plot your stories? 
Does Blade have an accent? 
Does plotting restrict the imagination? 
Does reading interfere with writing? 
Does writing for young people require special skills? 
Don’t shoot all your bullets 
Don’t quit
Drama in language 
Drinking deep 
Dyslexic writers 
‘Educational’ storytelling
Elders of the tribe 
Embarrassing ideas 
Embrace your ideas 
Envy and admiration
Experience and imagination
Exploring the story organically 
Facing the dark 
Fail better 
Feedback is gold dust
Feel the doubt and write it anyway
Feelings while writing 
Fictional mountains
Fight for the story
Figments of dreams 
Films in the head 
Finding answers on the website 
Finding time
Fire stories 
First ideas 
Fishing for ideas 
For money or for art? 
Frozen Fire in Korea 
Frozen Fire questions 
‘Get black on white’ 
Get inside the character 
Getting emotion into characters
Getting it written, getting it right 
Getting past Chapter One 
Getting past the wall 
Give it a blast 
Give the big hitters time 
Going the distance
Going deep 

Good days and bad days 
Growing old, growing young 
Guiding the flower 
Handwriting versus typing
Hearing the character’s voice
High mountain flowers 
Hitching a ride 
How can I become a better writer? 
How can I become an author? 
How can I believe in myself as a writer? 
How can I get published? 
How can I write more quickly?
How do you write a big book? 
How many words do you write per day? 
How to grip the reader. 
How words create pictures in the mind. 
I am not a very good writer. Please help. 
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? 
In The Blade! Series who exactly is Bigeyes? 
Ineffable things 
Inspiration for Frozen Fire 
Inspiration for Starseeker 
Inspiration v stealing
Inspirational young 
Inspiring each other 
Invented places 
Involve the reader 
Is Apocalypse a time-slip novel? 
Is Blade’s slang real? 
Is it difficult being a writer? 
Is Mrs Little in Starseeker based on a real person? 
Is Seb (in Midget) based on a real person? 
Is the river boy a spirit or a human being? 
Is your fiction autobiographical?
I’ve lost my way as a writer 
Jamie and Abby in Shadows 
Jobs and ideas 
Journeying out 
Just start 
Keep going 
Keep the reader guessing
Keeping editing fresh
Kids’ Literary Quiz 
Killing characters
Kindness to trees 
Knowing characters
Labelling characters
Let reading open you up 
Letting the topic appear 
Life imitating art 
Linear narrative 
Living into mysteries. 
Living the story 
Longhand versus typing 
Magic and dreams 
Magic realism 
Making it happen 
Making us care 
Meeting your characters 
Melody and harmony
Messy writing 
Midget’s dilemma 
Midget’s real name 
Money where your mouth is 
Mood changers 
Movies in the mind 
Murder on the page 
Music or silence?
Music while writing
Music while writing? 

Music, energy, flow 
Must geographical locations be accurate?
Must there always be hope in children’s books? 
My friends make fun of me for writing 
My most treasured possession 
Mysterious entities 
Names and titles 
New Worlds 
News alerts 
No manuscripts 
Nobody arrives 
OCD and writing
Oceans in the head 
Off the shelf 
Old-fashioned virtues
One page at a time 
Open and upfront 
Origin of Blade
Origins of Starseeker 
Out of Shadows 
Owning the pain
Parental obsession in Shadows 
Passion and inspiration
Pathetic fallacy 
Personal meanings 
Please help me with my project. 
Please recommend one of your books 
Plotting software
Poetry in the heart 
Power to move 
Practical dreamers 
Preparing to write
Present tense narrative 
Pull the reader in 
Pushing the darkness back
Questions about Frozen Fire 
Questions about River Boy 
Quickfire questions 
Reaching the end 
Read and thrive 
Reading aloud 
Reading for everyone 
Reading from Bloodchild 
Reading from Dragon’s Rock
Reading from Frozen Fire
Reading from Midget 
Reading from Night Runner
Reading from River Boy 
Reading from Shadows 
Reading from Starseeker 
Reading from The Men Who Wouldn’t Sleep
Reading of Maya’s Story 
Reading of Pressed Flowers 
Reading to write 
Real writers 
Reflecting the human condition
Refusing to give up 
Research and intuition 
Rewriting old books 
Ride the wave 
River Boy dedication 
River poems 
Sacred mountains 
Sad endings 
Sad stories 
Saying goodbye 
School assignments
Seat of the pants writing
Secret writing
Seeing the end 
Sentence length 
Settings as characters 
Should I give up my job and write? 
Silence and solitude 
Sinews of language 
Slow burners
Slow theatre 
Solace for exams 
Soul songs 
Spells for living 
Starseeker beginnings 
Starseeker in Vienna 
Starseeker questions 
Start with a bang 
Starting Blade 
Starting Buried Thunder
Staying on the horse 
Stealing ideas 
Sticking with it 
Stories never end
Stories to avoid 
Storm Catchers feedback 
Story and the self 
Story snapshots 
Story streams
Stroking sentences 
Swallows and Amazons
Swearing in children’s books 
Targets versus hours
Taste versus judgement 
Teeming brains 
Teenage voices 
Tell me the old tales 
Tell us about your new book. 
Telling a different truth 
Telling a story through music 
The arrow from the bow 
The best company 
The best time for writing
The best viewpoint
The Blade! Series in America. 
The Blade! Series in Korea. 
The boy in Frozen Fire 
The bullfighter’s sword 
The Carnegie Medal 
The character Skin in Starseeker 
The click factor 
The debut novel 
The dominant idea 
The end is the end 
The firmament is singing 
The fountain 
The frozen sea 
‘The full-ripen’d grain’ 
The gift inside you 
The great and the relevant 
The Great Gatsby 
The greatest thing about being an author 
The league of writers 
The meaning between meanings 
The meaning of things
The playful mind 
The purpose of fiction 
The pursuit of knowledge 
The resonant heart 
The rhythm of writing 
The still centre
The Starseeker play 
The true meaning of the book 
The true north 
The two sides of a writer 
The unquenchable spring 
The unwritten story 
The vital ingredient 
The whisper in the head 
Tickling ideas
Tim reading from Buried Thunder 
Tim reading from Game Changer
Tim reads from Sea of Whispers 
Tim sends messages to Korean pupils at Baekhyun Middle School
Tim talks about Game Changer
Tim talks about Sea of Whispers 
To perfect or not to perfect (as you go)
Too busy to write 
Too close to home 
Translation in a hurry 
Transmuting life 
Trust yourself
Trusting the treasure house 
Trusting your instinct 
Truth and lies 
Twists and epiphanies 
Two dogs, one bone 
Two-directional fiction 
Two-way inspiration 
Unanswered questions 
Universal love 
Unlikely heroes 
Unsaid things
Untold stories
Vampires and special powers 
Vicarious experience
Visualising character
Waiting for River Boy 
Walk through the story 
Was Blade based on a real person? 
What age are your books aimed at? 
What do you do when you’re not writing? 
What happened to Character X?
What happens afterwards 
What inspired Bloodchild? 
What’s the best way to start a story?
What is the theme of your work? 
What is your best/favourite book? 
What is your daily schedule? 
What made you start writing? 
What made you write Storm Catchers? 
What should writers avoid?
Whatever the weather 
When you just can’t write 
Where do you get such great ideas? 
Where is Blade’s city?
Which of your books should I read next?
Who or what is the river boy?
Wholeness, not cleverness

Why choose squash as a subject in Shadows?
Why do you write about teenagers?
Why do you write in an outhouse?
Why is the hero of Midget a dwarf?
Wilful words
Will there be a sequel to Frozen Fire?
Will you come to our school?
Wired as a writer
Words that aren’t words
Working the dream
Working with Shakespeare
Write more by writing less
Write, write, write
Writer’s block
Writers’ circles
Writing about sex
Writing about violence
Writing and realising
Writing forever
Writing frames
Writing in the moment
Writing maxims
Writing on the basis of life experience
Writing pitfalls
Writing tips on the website
Writing without conditions
Yellow eyes
You and the story
Your biggest influence

Your dream factory
Your inner writing mentor

Your real opponent
Your toughest critic
Your world
Zen writing