How not to write scene-setters in your novel

I started reading a novel the other day and choked on the first three paragraphs, which were a kind of double-flashback sequence filled with ‘had beens’. I paraphrase: “…it was now…there had been…had been…had abruptly…had been…had they…had… had been…had they…he would…he had not…had grown…had happened…had summoned…” It didn’t get going with the immediate action for… More How not to write scene-setters in your novel

Digital print on demand – what it is and how to avoid stepping in it

Reports of the death of the print book seem to have been considerably exaggerated of late. It’s been the usual thing: we suppose the ‘new’ – in this case, digital distribution – will totally replace the ‘old’. Actually, and as usual, they simply complement each other and print books have been rebounding. One difference, though,… More Digital print on demand – what it is and how to avoid stepping in it

When people pontificate about typos as if they weren’t

I am always vaguely amused and disappointed by the way some people feel obligated to respond to a minor and obvious typo they’ve found in published work by treating it as literally correct, then going on at length about what the author might possibly have meant by it. The fact that it’s actually a typo… More When people pontificate about typos as if they weren’t

Writers have to be like mothers of invention to get ahead these days

Frank Zappa once made the point that he and his 1960s band – The Mothers – probably couldn’t have got a recording contract in a different decade. This wasn’t the quintessential view his generation had of their formative years – you know ‘not-the-sixties, not-the-sixties – – – THE SIXTIES!- – – not-the-sixties,’ etc. Zappa’s point… More Writers have to be like mothers of invention to get ahead these days

Why Photoshop artistry makes boring book covers, even when they’re mine…

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can’t help thinking that book covers these days – the ones that appear on Amazon and elsewhere – are all rather homogenised. Literally, in a pixel sense – they all seem to use one or another Photoshop layer-and-blend technique to float words, ghost-like, amidst artwork which… More Why Photoshop artistry makes boring book covers, even when they’re mine…