OMG! It’s a hundred years old today. That’s right – it’s exactly a century since Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Arbuthnot Fisher – Lord Fisher, First Baron Fisher of Kilverstone – coined the acronym we all know and love. He came up with OMG (“Oh! My God!”) in a letter of 9 September 1917 … More OMG, it’s the centenary of OMG!
I thought I’d share this dyspostrophic sign I found outside a shop in Marewa, the ‘art deco’ suburb of Napier, New Zealand. Of course it’s an excuse for me to write a headline with three recursions. Trees behind are Canary Island date palms. I took it on a mid-winter’s day, incidentally. Enjoy. The suburb itself is … More Revenge of the return of the son of Rogue Apostrophe
It’s a funny old world, if you look at it. Last weekend my wife and I found this in a café: Meanwhile my brother-in-law found this on a freeway while visiting Pittsburgh, and remarked: ‘I guess if it’s an emergency, it’s an emergency…’ Then there’s the sign I found in Napier, New Zealand – a significant gauge … More Inspirations: I have seen the sign, and it is funny
One of the hardest skills to master in writing fiction is dialogue. It’s extremely difficult – even well established authors often struggle. When it comes to quick-fire dialogue, it’s hard to go past Hemingway – check out Farewell To Arms, for instance. Much of the time he didn’t even have to put ‘he said’, ‘she … More Nano writing tips: making dialogue real
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – your voice, as a writer, is important. It sets the tone. And if you do it right, it will set your writing apart. Sometimes a distinctive voice works even if other things are wrong. Take Hamish Clayton’s novel Wulf (Penguin 2011). It’s a fantastic read – up … More How to build your writing voice and meet great people in one go
I thought I’d start the week with a bit of grammatical frivolity. 1. Misplaced-hyphens are annoying. Compounds are usually verbs, not-nouns, try not to stretch the point. 2. And remember, conjunctions should not start sentences. 3. A single interrogative suffices. More do not add a sense of mystery. Got it????? 4. Fragmentary sentences. Irritating. 5. … More Viking is a verb, and other grammatical fun
A few days ago a reader of this blog asked me whether I’d ever posted on point-of-view in novel writing. I hadn’t, but promised I would. The question, specifically, was whether it’s possible to change from first to third person in a novel. – switching the point of view from which the story was being … More Worldbuilding: points of view for writers – by request
A little while back somebody posed a question – what is the plural for ‘lego’ . It’s not obvious – ‘legos’? I thought maybe it was a mass noun. Mass nouns are English constructions where singular and plural are the same word. They tend to evolve. ‘Data’ is a plural, for which the singular is datum. … More Mass nouns. What you need to know.
It was an interesting New Year, a few days ago. I got to hear some fireworks disappearing into low cloud in New Zealand. And a dozen hours later, thanks to skype and smartphone, I watched fireworks disappearing into low cloud over the Dutch half of my family in the Netherlands. It’s meant to be a … More What’s on the cards for 2012
There are two schools of thought when it comes to grammar and writing. The first declares that “good” writing is defined by slavish adherence to grammar – that all a writer has to do is learn the rules, and bingo, they’re a good writer. Right? Wrong. It’s epic fail territory for two reasons. The first … More Ya gotta know the grammar and writing rules before you can break ’em