I was asked the other week, on Facebook, why Jupiter doesn’t just fly off into space. You know, it’s so enormous, surely the Sun can’t hold it. Actually, it can. Jupiter is around 300 times the mass of Earth, sure – but it’s only 0.09 percent the mass of the Sun. Not only can the Sun… More The Sun’s big. Really big. And really grippy.
It seems to me that one of the main differences between a short story and a novel isn’t just scale; it’s perspective, which is why novels made up of lashed-together short stories with the same setting don’t always work very well. Let me explain. A novel typically has the length to engage in a fairly… More Why short stories lashed together as novels don’t work
In the last few posts I’ve been outlining how publishers edit manuscripts – which, at this part in the process, is quality control ahead of release. This process applies just as much to those who are self-publishing. Once the manuscript has been proof-edited and the author’s comments taken in, a variety of things happen – all… More Editing secrets for publishing – line editing and final quality control
I’m always intrigued by the way people generally view history. To some it’s a dead past, uninteresting. Others look on it as a trainspotting exercise in data-collection. Academics, on my experience, use the subject as a device for validating self-worth. Henry Ford, reputedly, insisted history was ‘bunk’. In a way he was right, because we… More Why history is really a ‘today’ thing
The other day I threw a crumpled bag into a bin and almost missed. It hung on the edge for a while. Quite suddenly it began collapsing into the bin, flexing as it did so. In a strict sense this was all understandable; I’d crushed the bag, meaning the energy of my fingers was stored… More Do humans see patterns where there aren’t any? Let’s talk…
This week’s writing challenge revolves around a photo I took of winter surf on Wellington’s south coast. It was a sunny day, but the wind was chill. Use the photo to inspire a 150-200 word super-short story – a proper one, with beginning, middle, end and punchline (all super-short stories gotta have a punchline) – and… More This week’s mega short-story challenge
When a publisher receives an author’s manuscript, several things happen. If it’s unsolicited (which happens where the agency system doesn‘t apply), it’s sent to the ‘slush pile’ – the term for the heap of unsolicited manuscripts that might, maybe, contain a gem. Typically the most junior editor gets the task of reading them, then packing… More Editing secrets for publishing – the necessary skills for proof-editing