“I cannot abide dialogue attribution,” he uttered angrily…

If the over-use of adverbs is one of writing’s biggest crimes, then dialogue attribution has to be up there with murder (and can easily murder a good novel). Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for adverbs in good writing, but that place is small, exclusive, and should be reserved for only the most upstanding and respectable adverbs. But – and it’s a bigger but than Kim Kardashian’s – when we come to adding an adverb to dialogue, well then that adverb must be really, really special to be allowed a place on the page.

For the most part, I like to talk about writing on this blog. Generally, I try to keep to what I think should be done when writing and how I personally like to do things… even though these two don’t often agree with each other. I don’t usually like to moan about the craft of writing, but sometimes, just sometimes, I get so cross I simply have to put pen to paper (so to speak). Continue reading

Why do kids’ Christmas films insist on promoting the idea there is no Father Christmas?

With the festive season fast approaching, I thought I’d get into the spirit of things and write a post about Christmas.

And in the spirit of that classic Yuletide tale, A Christmas Carol, I’m going to get a little Scroogey and have a bit of a moan.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 23.30.36My beef (or should it be turkey?) is with the film industry and their sometimes misguided efforts to persuade us that Father Christmas is real. Continue reading

Where has everybody gone? A blogging question…

Hi All,

I have a question for any bloggers out there:

My email inbox seems to have gone really quiet over the last week or so and I don’t know why. All of you guys that I follow don’t appear any more, even though you are posting (I know, ‘cos I’ve gone and checked). I have also checked my WordPress reader and all settings seem to be unchanged.

So, why am I not getting notifications of new posts from other people?

Anyone…?

Has this happened to you and can anybody shed some light on what may have gone wrong.

In the meantime, sorry If I’m not commenting/liking, but I didn’t realise you were posting. I’ll get things fixed soon hopefully.

Screw you and go cork yourself: a debate about wine

Am I a wine-snob? I don’t think so; not really. I am a cheese-snob, a bit of a film-snob, and most definitely a book-snob. But wine? Not so much. I can down a ropey bottle of plonk with the best of them and still enjoy it.

However…

If the wine is furnished with a screw cap as opposed to a cork… well, then I’ll turn up my nose, mumble something derogatory under my breath, and walk away. Well, at least that’s what I’d like to do. In reality, I’ll just mumble something derogatory under my breath and drink it anyway (I won’t be happy about it, though).

But why? What is it about screw-cap wine that invokes this reaction in me?

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Learn from my mistakes… please: Three things not to do when querying agents.

So I’ve now finally entered the part of my adventures into publishing where I begin to query agents. It was never a part that I looked forward to, and I’ve already gone and made some catastrophic blunders.

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 12.46.52

I know that a few others who read this blog are around the same stage as me, so I shall share with you said blunders as a reminder to… well, to not make the same mistakes.

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What on Earth has happened to Apple?

I had a funny (?!) incidence the other day when my 5-year old daughter went onto iTunes and, thinking she was just listening to a song from Disney’s Frozen soundtrack, she actually went and bought the whole flippin’ album.

Not such a huge issue, I know. But to stick a fly in the ointment, I had literally just walked away from browsing a couple of albums that I really wanted, telling myself that I couldn’t afford them at the moment cos’ the kids need new shoes, swimming lessons, days out, food, &c.

So, on seeing my library filling up with a load of music that I really didn’t want, but would still have to pay for, I stopped the download and asked iTunes for a refund.

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 11.32.48Now, before you go thinking what an awful father I must be and that perhaps I should have just shrugged my shoulders and bought this album for her, let me reiterate two things: (a) she only wanted one track, and (b) I’m skint until payday.

Anyway, I emailed Apple and they very kindly gave me a refund. But the person on the other end of the email was surprising, to say the least. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always seen Apple staff as funky, laid-back types, who could easily be one of your mates. The girl who dealt with my issue, however, was quite the opposite. She seemed very, very nice, but oh my god, she also to seemed have the persona of an overly sycophantic robot. Maybe that’s what she is.

Just look at one of the emails I received…

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Chipping away at MY genre.

So I’ve just had another dent in my bid to become the biggest sci-fi author ever born (or something like that) as I watch what I thought was a new concept and perhaps even a new genre go to the proverbial dogs.

Actually, it’s not that bad, and I’m not so naive to think I’d created a completely new genre. But still…

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 19.23.46Nobody said it’s easy getting a story published, and I’m expecting my fair share of knock-backs when I eventually do set upon the task of trying to get a publisher. But I hadn’t expected to receive any knock-backs quite this soon in the process.

You see, when I initially came up with the particular genre of sci-fi I wanted to write, I thought the idea may be a little novel (pardon the pun). Not unique, perhaps, but at least different.

That – as it happens — is apparently not the case. It has been cruelly demonstrated over the previous few months that others may have already had the same idea as me, dagnabbit.

Still, looking at things optimistically, I’ve done my best to see the positives in all of this.

But I’ll get to that in a second…

After I’ve had a moan…

Ok, so deep down I knew I was never going to find anything entirely original. In all honesty, I just really wanted to write this book. In the back of my mind, though, was always the hope that perhaps there was something new in my novel, and that this would stand me in good stead to get people interested in reading it.

Nevertheless, to find something so close to what I have written is a blow.

But before I continue, it might be prudent to quickly explain what my genre is. Continue reading