This week’s weird word is zugwang. It’s one of about a million in English, and one that the language has obtained by knocking down another language and riffling its pockets for loose change. It refers to a situation in chess where a move that must be made puts the player at a disadvantage. It’s thought… More The obscure word of the week is zugwang
I drew a line in the sand the other day. Or chipped it in granite. Or something. It was the same line Will Wheaton drew with the HuffPo last year – saying ‘no’ to commercial enterprise offering ‘exposure’ in lieu of actual payment to authors. I’m approached reasonably often to contribute to publications or give… More Why I said ‘no’ to the old ‘get paid by exposure’ trick
Literary historians have often had a niggling worry that the plays of William Shakespeare were actually written by somebody else – the Earl of Bedford is one favourite. And there are others. My take is that they weren’t written by William Shakespeare, but by somebody else with the same name who was married to a… More The inner secrets of writing style
This week’s obscure word is calefy – ‘to make hot’, which the writers of the original OED (a dictionary produced over a four-decade period from the 1870s) traced back to 1526. Your challenge? Write a sentence (or two) in the comments using this word. Go on. You know you want to… Copyright © Matthew Wright… More The obscure word of the week is calefy
I have to admit I get irritated every so often with the current war on adverbs. One of the outcomes is that well-meaning but inexperienced editors go through an author’s work slashing out anything that has even the slightest hint of an adverb, as if the author doesn’t know what they are doing (and sometimes… More Why you actually need adverbs – really!
I never cease to be amazed at the number of ‘predictions’ about some new device or trend that will ‘be our future’, like the cashless society or flying cars. They never are, of course, but we never let go of the fantasy that they will be. They will be. Not this time, but next time.… More Why we can’t predict the future, except a bit
Does anybody remember ‘Swing Out Sister’? Eighties jazz-infused synth-pop trio who by their second album had become a Bacharach-jazz style duo. They got quite big in Japan, for some reason, in the 1990s and they’re still around exploring the full meaning of the word ‘mellow’ in music. Lately, they’re ‘making a thing’ on Pledge Music,… More Getting in ahead of the kick-starter rush