US author Chuck Wendig pointed out the other day that virtually all the ‘writing advice’ these days is about getting started. There’s nothing much offered for what he calls ‘mid career’ writers, in particular about what direction they want their career to take. I have to agree with that. Although I don’t like the term, … More Musings on the directions of mid-career writers
It’s an interesting year for me. Like last year, I’m busy working with publishers to reissue more of the highlights from my back list. I’m also looking to sell some future titles with other publishers. And I have a few projects on the go. The thing is, they’re all on wildly different things. Back in … More A bit of a branding issue
I am deeply cynical about automatic writing analysis – you know, those annoying online systems that ‘mark’ your writing for various arbitrary flaws. Take the Hemingway Writing app. It’s an online tool that ‘makes your writing bold and clear’, according to its own blurb. So I thought I’d write a short test passage which – curiously – got top … More In which I discover the Hemingway Writing App
Last week The Little Bookshop in Napier, New Zealand, devoted an entire window display to my books – 14 titles, out of the 52 I’ve written and published over the past 30 years or so. The display included books of mine that are long out of print and unavailable anywhere else. It doesn’t happen for authors … More How much is that book in the window?
I went into single combat with Google the other week. They’ve persistently credited all my books to a lecturer in Classics at Exeter University who has the same name as me. To their credit, Google came back promptly with an informative answer which I’ll be acting on by way of getting the gaffe fixed. I’m … More The hazards of my popular name – and my book about someone else who had one
Earlier this year I finally got Facebook going. I’d had a placeholder for a while. With a common popular name like mine, you can’t afford not to. But I hesitated to do Facebook. Part of it was time. I’d rather do one or two things well online than spread thin and do nothing adequately. There … More Plunging into Facebook…finally…
I’ve been posting these past few weeks about the challenges facing writers in the new environment. The biggest hurdle, of course, is so huge it’s invisible. Let me explain. A few years ago the challenge authors faced in being published was – being published. The road was paved with hurdles. A starting author first had to write something … More Essential writing skills: tackling the invisible hurdle
Have you ever tried writing dialogue without all the ‘he said’, ‘she said’ nonsense? It’s an effective technique, though it’s easy to say ‘do this’. Harder to master. Hemingway set the gold standard – half-page strings of dialogue, often without any directions at all as to the speaker– and it was usually clear as to who … More Essential writing skills: he said, she said – without adjectives
Writers never finish learning how to write. ‘We are all apprentices’, Ernest Hemingway once said, ‘in a craft where no-one ever becomes a master.’ Too true. It is an endless learning curve. Steep at first – as novice writers realise how much they have to learn, take their first unsteady steps into that world. Later … More The greatest writing challenge of all
I posted the other week on the importance of getting the rhythm right when writing sentences. And on the incompetence of my high school English teacher, but that’s another matter. Getting the rhythm right when you write is part of the essential framework of writing – it lends interest. You can draw the reader, sometimes, by … More Essential writing skills: harsh sentences for authors
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