There are over a million individual words in English. Most of them are quite obscure and deserve better attention than they get. This week’s is forrede. It’s from Old English – in fact it’s over a millenium old, dated back by the OED to around 1000 CE. It means to deceive, betray or seduce. And, … More The obscure word of the week is forrede
The magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit New Zealand on 14 November – and the sequence of events that followed – has been complex in every sense. The main shock itself was a highly complex rupture of multiple faults that extended northwards and delivered a hefty punch to Wellington, well distant from the putative epicentre. That … More Does the Moon cause earthquakes – or is that a bit looney?
English has over a million words in it. More than any other language, although that’s largely because English riffles every other language it can find for content. But it also means most of them are quite obscure and deserve better attention than they get. This week’s is sackbut. It’s a kind of trombone used in … More The obscure word of the week is sackbut
My blog got found the other day by the search string ‘how Germany nearly won Wikipedia’. It intrigued me, not least because I didn’t know Wikipedia was something winnable. Then there were all the other possibilities attached to winning things – you know, ‘How the West Was Won…by Germany’, or ‘Win Lotto Before Germany Does’, … More How Germany Nearly Won Wikipedia and other search strings
One of the hardest things about writing is selling it to readers – especially today, where the old gatekeepers have gone and the web is full of writing that, once upon a time, would have been relegated to a publisher’s slush pile. The challenge for readers is finding the good stuff. And that’s where a … More Getting the right promotion for your story
November is just about over, and all things being equal, NaNoWriMo participants should end up with something like a ‘bad first draft’ at the end of that writing month. Which is very cool, because a bad first draft is better than no first draft. That sounds like an old aphorism, but it’s absolutely true, because … More Ten steps in book writing after the first draft’s done
One of the best writing exercises I know is to emulate a specific author – ‘writing in the style of…’ – because it forces the writer to analyse exactly how the writing they’re emulating was put together. That’s how you learn things. But let’s take that further. The idea of writers figuring out another’s writing … More How to juxtapose writing style across content…and laugh…