Matt Gemmell

Raw Materials book cover image

My book Raw Materials is out now!

A collection of personal essays, with exclusive content and author's notes.

» Find out more


I have two rules for my writing here: tell the truth, and don’t talk about politics. Today, I must break the second one to obey the first.

This week there was a referendum here in Scotland to decide whether we would declare independence from the United Kingdom. I’d like to talk about my own perspective on the issue.


My family and friends often remark that my musical tastes don’t vary much. I’ve been told that my preferences fossilised during the eighties, which makes sense: I arrived on Earth a scant six months before that decade dawned.

One band, one artist, and one song in particular has accompanied me through most of my thirty-five years to date. On any given week, I listen to it dozens of times. In my lifetime (so far), I’ve certainly heard it more than fifty thousand times, and that’s a conservative estimate.

Fan Fiction

There are some strange things on the internet. No, not those things. But some strange things nonetheless.

We live in a society that laments a hypothetical impending crisis of literacy. Neologisms, memes and text-speak erode our language faster than ever before. It’s difficult to tell where the dictionary ends and the latest patois or argot begins. These kids can barely even spell anymore, we think, imagining that it was better in our day. What hope remains for the written word?

Reading, at least, doesn’t seem particularly endangered. We all read all the time, albeit in digital (and abbreviated) form. Even longer-form prose is still very popular - there’s no particular danger there.

But then there’s this thing I’m doing right now: writing. The reasonably creative use of written language to create something new, or even to communicate effectively. That’s the primary object of concern, as we see scattershot their/there/they’re, greengrocer’s quotes, and the slow, silent death of the comma. These damned kids can’t write to save their lives.

Except in one of those dark corners of the internet.

There, writing is very much alive - and takes surprising forms. Enter the world of fan fiction, or fanfic.

Ten years

Today marks a decade since I started writing here at I’d like to thank you for reading my words throughout the years.

Anthologies in Scrivener

I recently published an anthology of some of my most popular personal essays. It’s called Raw Materials, and I’m pleased that it’s garnered many positive reviews.

I used Scrivener to assemble the anthology, and I’d like to talk briefly about that process, and how I went about adding a few finishing touches.

Raw Materials is free today on Kindle

My anthology of personal essays, Raw Materials, is free today (Thursday 28th August) on the Kindle Store. This is a one-day promotion, so be sure to grab a copy unless you desperately want to pay for it later. It’s on:

Leaving a review on Amazon would be hugely helpful, if you enjoy the book. Those reviews influence eligibility for Amazon’s various recommendations systems, popularity lists and so forth - so your reviews make a big difference, and help me reach new readers.

I hope you’ll enjoy the book. As ever, feel free to get in touch with any thoughts.

Raw Materials: Collected Essays

I’m excited to announce that I’ve compiled an anthology of some of my most popular personal essays, and made them available as an e-book.

The collection is entitled Raw Materials, and includes revised and updated versions of each piece, with new author’s notes after each one, plus an exclusive extra essay written especially for the collection.

It’s around 90 - 100 pages long, and you can read it either on a Kindle device, or in the free Kindle app on your Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad or other device. I do hope that you’ll take a look.

Raw Materials is now available on the Kindle Store, and also on and your own local Kindle Store.

I put this anthology together in thanks for your readership over the years. These pieces are the ones that have consistently generated the most moving email and personal feedback. As I mention in the foreword, I think that sharing our own difficult stories has the greatest potential to unite us.

There’s something you can do to help me, too: if you enjoy the pieces, please write a review on Amazon. Those reviews are the lifeblood of Kindle books, and promote visibility for the author. This isn’t a money-making venture for me, but rather a lead-in to publishing my first novel later this year, and fully embarking on my new career.

If you’ve found relevance or enjoyment from my words over the years, this would be a meaningful way to let me know. I hope you’ll enjoy the book.

Raw Materials: Collected Essays

Once again, Raw Materials is available on the Kindle Store, and also on or your own local Kindle Store.

Thanks for reading.

Writing a novel: resolving plot issues e-book

I’ve spent the weekend extensively updating and expanding my technique for resolving plot issues in fiction, and tackling the second draft. It’s designed for writing novels, but it’ll also work for novellas, short stories, vignettes, fan fiction and pretty much anything else with a narrative flow.

Resolving Plot Issues is now available as an e-book, for maximum convenience and reading pleasure.