Tag Archives: writing

My Various and Amusing Mistakes: the Benefits of a Proof Reader

We all make mistakes. What has been your most stupid/funny/embarrassing typo?  Have you ever had anything published and then – too late – spotted some terrible mistake? I’ve had my novel proof-read, and it was worth every penny. The proof-reader, … Continue reading

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Pay Attention!

How much help do we get from other writers? And from writing retreats? I’ve just been to a writing weekend organised by the Association of Christian Writers, at Scargill House in the Yorkshire Dales. Friendly, welcoming, a beautiful location, I … Continue reading

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A rose by any other name: what to call your characters

Here’s an interesting thing: accordion to experts, it is easy to insert a musical instrument unnoticed into a sentence. What’s this got to do with names?  Especially choosing the names for your characters? The connection is about how people read.  … Continue reading

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Fountain pen, biro, typewriter or computer?

Quick survey:  Do you write with a fountain pen, a biro, a typewriter or directly into a computer?  Or do you use slate and slate pencil, stone and chisel, paint and papyrus, pencil and paper? Moleskine notebooks or 50p exercise … Continue reading

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Vulnerability

Have you heard of Brené Brown?  She got fairly famous with a humorous, insightful and encouraging TED talk about ‘The Power of Vulnerability’, then another talk about ‘Listening to Shame’, and has had a few books published about coping with … Continue reading

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Learning from great (and not so great) literature

I am stating the obvious here, but you can learn a lot about writing skills by careful reading of books. Here are some lessons from recent books that I’ve read. (Warning:  spoiler alerts…) ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail … Continue reading

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Feeling tense?  Need a flashback?

Do you know the difference between the past tense and the past perfect tense? It’s fairly common for novice writers to slip between tenses without realising it, so that the reader gets the odd impression that he’s stepped back in … Continue reading

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The Passing of Time

How do you show the passage of long periods of time when not much happens? ‘Several months passed’ – dull, dull, dull ‘Ralph grew almost overnight, it seemed. One year he was an earnest boy, the next year he was … Continue reading

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The problem with asking experts and backing up your work

Do you consult experts about your stories?  Do you backup your work? Always ask experts:  they like to be asked for advice, they will know things that might spark off ideas, and it’s always good to chat to people. But … Continue reading

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Mispeling and Editting

Jasper Fforde invented the wonderful concept of a ‘mispeling vyrus’, which spreads through literature and can only be contained by bulwarks of Oxford English Dictionaries. If you haven’t read any of his novels, I recommend the ‘Eyre Affair’ and its … Continue reading

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