Essential writing skills: what editors do, and why it’s essential

It’s possible these days for anybody who wants to publish to do so. Bung the book up on Amazon, and hey presto – you’re published. But it’s risky without proper editing. By editing, in this context, I mean ‘editing the finished manuscript’ – not the stuff an author does to go from Draft 1 to Draft… More Essential writing skills: what editors do, and why it’s essential

Essential writing skills: when plain English isn’t – and how to write simply

It was Ernest Hemingway, I think, who once remarked that he didn’t need to use the ‘ten dollar’ words in order to write well. Too true. Plain is best when it comes to writing. Hemingway didn’t mean that we must then reduce ‘plain English’ to an accounting exercise – you know, the attempt to reduce… More Essential writing skills: when plain English isn’t – and how to write simply

Essential writing skills: how to invisibly improve your writing

Over the past few weeks I’ve been looking through some of my older books, specifically to see what’s needed in order to prepare some of them for re-release. Out of which has come two thoughts. The first is, ‘wow, did I write that?’- where I’ve discovered something I have absolutely no recollection of researching. And… More Essential writing skills: how to invisibly improve your writing

Essential writing skills: getting the details right in historical fiction

Back when I was writing New Zealand military non-fiction, our leading local academic military historians often ended up reviewing my books for national magazines or newspapers. What followed, every time, was a trawl for anything they could construct into a denial of my professional competence in a field where I was being published on merit, and where they wrote and published competing… More Essential writing skills: getting the details right in historical fiction

NaNoWriMo – don’t dream it’s over…

You’ve spent the last thirty days on NaNoWriMo – that annual 50,000-word-in-a-month novel contest. And suddenly it’s 30 November. That arrived fast! And what counts is the doing – not the ‘winning’. Which sounds facile, but don’t forget that, whether you won or not, you’ve just joined a fairly select group. A lot of people… More NaNoWriMo – don’t dream it’s over…