One of the most ubiquitous grammar traps in English is the sentence fragment. A sentence fragment is a phrase or set of phrases that look like they should be a sentence, but actually aren’t. Usually that’s because they lack either a verb or a subject, making them a ‘dependent clause’, because they depend on another … More Explaining the pitfalls of sentence fragments
Back in the 1960s, researchers looking into how people viewed their own ability to drive made a remarkable discovery: everybody over-rated their abilities. Apparently it’s a human thing. We do it a lot, particularly when it comes to ubiquitous actions such as driving, where there’s a consistent implication that we should be ‘good’ at it. … More Why writing is a learned skill – and a hard one
I was intrigued by some research I spotted recently which seems to prove that the pen is, indeed, mightier than the sword. Well, it’s mightier than the spoken word, anyway. The research suggested that there’s a specific reason why arguments on Facebook so often degenerate to slagging matches. It’s the same issue lawyers run into … More Perhaps the pen is mightier than the voice
Over the years I’ve written a fair number of books – over fifty, in fact. Almost all have been published traditionally. And that’s given me an immense back-list. Which, I’m pleased to say, is back. I had to say that, didn’t I. You know – back list… back… But I digress. The hot news is … More A really big piece of hot news. Really. Big.
There’s a new phenomenon out there for writers these days. It hasn’t got a name, but it’s there, and I suspect most of us have encountered it. You write a book. You decide to publish it yourself, spend a lot of money on cover artwork, proof-readers and so forth, and start revving up promotions on … More Why most books don’t sell much on Kindle
Do adjectives and adverbs have a place in non-fiction writing? Maybe. Used properly, adjectives and their annoying relations, adverbs, render the mundane into something extraordinary – specifically because, if controlled, they evoke emotions in readers. Control is essential: use the wrong adjectives and you reduce the work to ‘telling’, whereas what you’re trying to do … More Do adjectives and adverbs have a place in non-fiction writing?
I have a box in my garage filled with the stuff I used to write when I was a kid. It’s got the story that started it all – the story I wrote for a contest that won me a prize of 50 books (some of which I still have). There are the pencilled stories … More That box of old writing in the garage