Sunday, 19 December 2010

Erk! Nearly Christmas and no blogs for yonks! Oops - no delivery...

Good grief, how did this happen?  Am very busy these days but didn't think it had been that long since my last post.  You may or may not know that I've now signed my contract with US Penguin imprint Berkley Books for the first two of my historical crime series - set in Georgian England.

Hence am on a deadline for Book Two and every spare moment is concentrated on writing it.  Life, of course, intervenes and so my normal activities have still got to be done.  I'm sure I wrote a blog a while back on the theme of life versus writing life.

You don't want to know about the horrors of getting an ITIN number (this is your official US tax identification) and ensuring you are allowed to invoke the tax treaty with the UK so you don't have 30% of your earnings withheld by the IRS.  It's still pending....

I've only got one little snippet of advice today.  It pays to decide as a writer that you will always deliver on your promise.  I'm not talking about deadlines, but that too.  What I mean here is that if you set out to give the reader something, you need to deliver on it.

Examples:  If you hint at troubles and crises to come, make sure they happen.  If you give the idea your character is an introverted brooding bastard with a heart of gold, show it in the story.  If your character looks ahead to an oncoming storm (internal or external - battle, row, whatever), we want to see it - and make it a humdinger.

In other words, don't promise what you can't deliver.  And deliver everything you promise.  If you can't deliver, just cut the promise.  You lose your reader if you set something up on the horizon and then the story goes flat and it all fizzles out.  Like Christmas without the pudding and the presents.

And on that note, I hope everyone manages to get through the snow to their festivities and you all have a terrific time on Christmas Day.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Motivation - okay, why?

Because motivation is why.  It's not just a case of why a character has a goal - which I think comes under backstory - but why is he feeling, doing, saying anything.

In drama, there's a general rule that if you can't remember a line you're missing a "thought bridge".  How do you get from one line to the next?  The character may be prompted thoughtwise by another character's line, but actually there is almost always a thought bridge from their own last line to this one.  It's what Stanislavski calls the "through line of action" and what is normally thought of as subtext.  The thought behind the line is the why of saying the line.

Once again, we have the advantage as writers to be able to express the thought bridge to the reader in the character's head.  It's not always needed - trust your reader to put it there himself if you've primed the ground.  And as a writer you won't need to think this through because it's almost always automatic.  But if you stick, this is a good way to unstick yourself.

Look at your character's last set of thoughts.  Do they progress logically from what has gone before?  Has, for example, our hero been extremely rude so that our heroine has lost it and isn't thinking straight?  OK, so now she's calming down and realising what she said back, which provides the why of what she says or does next - apology or defiance, depending on the circumstances.

As a director, you see the play as a series of moments, and direct it moment by moment.  Similarly with a novel.  It progresses moment to moment - regardless of whether the next moment happens two months later.  Each moment has its prompter behind (the why) and in itself provides the next prompt to feeling, thought, speech and action.

If you think with why, you automatically create depth and character because motivation is the meat upon which we all feed and operate in life, and which dictates who we are and who we become.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Building atmosphere

When you direct a play, you have to think about what's usually called the mood line.  You can check this against any good movie and see it in action.  Works like this:

Opening: pre- and during credits, your director tells you what kind of movie this is going to be, using sound, light and images.  He plays on your emotions by setting the atmosphere.  Example:  the drone of aircraft and a gradual increase of light to an image of a squadron of bombers on the runway waiting to take off is the opening to Catch 22.  Sometimes, you'll get silence and then building images, or birdsong, or a cityscape accompanied by music appropriate to the genre.

With a novel, you have the added advantage of being able to introduce the character's thoughts.  But you can also use visuals, sound and exterior forces (weather, for example) to create your opening atmosphere.  Think of the emotional impact you want to have on your reader, and then build the word picture to give them that.

The mood line goes on from there, running alongside your plot-line to build in highs and lows, changes of pace and tension, shifting into high gear for the climax and coming down for the denouement.  Atmosphere at any point contributes to the mood line.  I recall an editor critiquing the "relentless pace" of my then novel, giving the reader no time to breathe.  She was right.

The key is to surprise your reader, but make the progression from one mood to another logical.  Be careful of shoving in a completely inappropriate scene that will confuse genre on your reader.  For example, you can't expect to suspend disbelief if you have your rom com heroine kidnapped at knife point, unless you're writing a comedy thriller.

Because in the last analysis, genre to a large extent dictates the atmosphere.  A great deal depends on fulfilling reader expectations.  On the other hand, any drama has its lighter moments, and vice versa.  Try not to stray too far at any point from the basic atmosphere you created in your opening, because that tells your reader what sort of story to expect.

Monday, 1 November 2010

What about conflict then?

According to the kids when I was teaching drama, conflict was people shouting each other down.  Seems to work for Eastenders too.  But conflict isn't simply one view opposing another.  It goes deeper.  There has to be a goal involved.

A frequent problem in manuscripts I assess is uncertainty about the goals of the main character.  If you haven't got that, you won't get conflict.  You can't have a character tossed about from pillar to post because of outside opposition and call that conflict.  Real conflict comes from opposition hitting against what your character wants and is trying to achieve.

You also want to think with exterior and internal conflict.  What flaw or lack within them stops them from getting there?  That's opposition too.  Of course you will have opposing forces - other characters who want something else, the forces of nature or circumstances militating against the goal.  But balance this with the character's own uncertainties and traits that also work to prevent them reaching the target.

In drama, you automatically look within the character for what is stopping them from making it.  Clues are in the script.  What they say about themselves, what others say about them and to them, and stage directions.  In fiction, you are working from the inside out.  Your character develops as you write and from inside their head you tell the reader their fears and insecurities as well as creating the external forces that oppose them.

The point is that conflict from within impels your character to dig down deep inside the core of themselves and find the inner resources to overcome their flaws and fears.  The best superheroes show us their own vulnerabilities before they vanquish the baddies.  So it should be with your fictional hero.

A simple guideline.  What does this person want?  What within them stops them going for it?  Who or what external force is going to work against them?  Answer these questions and you've got worthwhile conflict.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Speaking of drama, what price "subtext"?

OK, sorry but it's not conflict today either.  Went to amateur show last night and had a realisation about the difference between amateurs and pros.  In a word, subtext.  For those not in the drama know, this means what's going on underneath the words rather than the meaning of the words - ie thoughts.

What does this have to do with writing?  It's the luxury we have in fiction.  We get to write down the thoughts.  Your playwright doesn't have this, which is why you need "interpretation" by actors and director.  They create the "show, don't tell" part.  In fiction, we have to dramatise the action with the thoughts going alongside.

That's the real meaning of "show, don't tell".  Which is why we are always talking about getting inside the character's head and telling the story from their viewpoint.  This is also where using all the senses comes in.  The reader becomes involved with what your viewpoint character is seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting (external atmosphere).  Not forgetting the sixth sense which gives you interior atmosphere or vibes.

And then we add the subtext:  what effect does the above have on the character which dictates the kind of thoughts going through the mind?  Finally, what effect do the thoughts have on the character's body or vice versa?

Example:  Sudden whoosh of cold air = shiver = riffle of fear = who's out there? = tightening of stomach = mustn't be seen = flick off the light = shortness of breath = footsteps = they're coming this way! = escalation of fear = cold of concrete as flatten against wall = holding breath = flash of bright light in face = shock = paralysis...

See what I mean?  Let it roll, one thing leading to the next.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Is that Sod on the horizon again?

Quick post.  Life will insist on taking over.  Already late blogging and then put the back out again on the weekend.  Got the thing fixed up first thing yesterday and then the car packed up.  Waited two and half hours for the RAC, had to have a new battery and then raced to eat lunch and get to appointment for one o'clock.

Why go on about this on a writing tips blog?  Because it's part and parcel of the writing life.  The most difficult part, I think, is keeping a schedule going.  If you go out to work, your boss expects you to be there for the duration - barring emergencies.  If you work at home, you're available.

Sod - you know that guy whose law we are always running into? - says if you only have three writing days, at least one of them is going to be wrenched out of your hands by "life".  And once he gets his teeth into you, Sod can be a right b-----d, because he figures if he can grab one day, he can grab the lot.  Often enough he's right.

What do you do?  Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again, as the song says.  The only true test of a writer is your ability to do just that.  Persistence is the name of the game, and all of the above is why you need persistence.

Next time, conflict and drama as promised - barring another visit from you know who.

Monday, 11 October 2010

What does drama have to do with writing?

Actors turned writers have this advantage - a sense of the dramatic.  I spent years treading the boards when writing was still a hobby.  By the time I made the switch, I had also swapped acting for teaching drama and directing, which made me realise just how much correlation there is between the two arts.

No surprise, really, when you think about it.  Whether performed or written, we are portraying or commenting on the human condition.  Which means conflict, motivation, characterisation, atmosphere, mood line, emotional life and goals.  Not forgetting that most performance art requires a writer's input.

Coming from theatre to writing gave me a head start.  I automatically thought in terms of what if, who and why.  Your "who" had to have their own voice, manner and behaviour as well as objectives.  A character's emotional life was meat and drink to me.  Atmospheric effects - whether external or internal - generated the mood line of the story.  Most important of all, without conflict there is no drama.

An actor learns all this as a matter of course, through training and practice.  But it was only as a teacher and director that I started thinking about it.  It took analysis to realise how much my dramatic experience had informed my writing.

I plan to do some blogs on these areas where drama and writing overlap and see if I can nail how they work for me by way of the crossover.  Next time, conflict.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

How do you get page-turning quality?

It's what we all strive for, to keep the reader hooked.  Is it some mystic imponderable possessed by the chosen few?  Or can anyone learn to do it?  I don't know.  But I do know a few tricks you can learn and apply that will help.

Essentially, it's the art of grabbing your reader by the scruff of the neck and tugging them along with you.  Which is where the old adage comes in - show, don't tell.  Immerse your reader in the action by putting them inside a character's head and hold the viewpoint.

Use cliffhangers to end sections and chapters.  Introduce the next complication, throw in a surprise, but don't resolve it.  Then the reader wants to know what is going to happen and starts the next chapter.

Structure sentences for speed.  If you want to heighten suspense, drag everything out.  Longer sentences, more introspection, plenty of detail - ie slow down time.  If you want to upgrade tension and excitement, roll through faster.  Shorter sentences, more action, less detail - ie speed up time.

Keep description minimal - sketch it in, interspersed with dialogue and introspective stuff (or headspeak).  Keep dialogue fluent and natural (not necessarily realistic) and avoid "speeches".  Break up the text with dialogue and use shorter paragraphs.

Most of all, involve yourself in the story as you write.  Surprise yourself and you'll surprise your reader.

Friday, 1 October 2010

"Pleonasm" - yeah, it foxed me too

I've been asked to say how to avoid pleonasm.  Bit of a poser that, because I didn't know what it meant.

Dictionary says: "The use of more words than are needed to give the sense (eg see with one's eyes)."  A bit like tautology (which I had heard of): "the saying of the same thing twice over in different words (eg arrived one after the other in succession)." It also means "a statement that is necessarily true".  Pleonasm is given as one of the synonyms.

For the writer, this is the curse of loving words.  At least that's my take.  We like the sounds and rhythms, don't we?  We want to use descriptive prose to make our point.  Is it the hidden poet inside us?

Trouble is, the more flowery the language, the more your meaning is obscured.  That doesn't mean you can't use metaphor and simile and all the other wonderful tools which make up the richness of our language.  But - here it comes again - you have to use them sparingly or you lose the effect.  Your reader gets so caught up in the language, they don't hear what you're saying.

However, don't be deterred by the oft-quoted Johnson to "strike it out" when you write something "you think particularly fine".  It was advice he gave to one person he thought was a terrible writer and it was meant to be sarcastic.  Unfortunately it's been touted ever since to much put-upon writers as gospel from the master's mouth.

There's nothing wrong with discovering that you've put something really well.  Good for you - you're improving.  The warning - if you're going to avoid the dreaded pleonasm and tautology - is to write what you mean.  Don't write to impress.  Say it as simply as you can. Write spare.

If I have to reach for the dictionary to check a word, I assume my readers will too.  If I find myself hunting through the thesaurus to find a better way to say something, I instruct myself to put in the first word I thought of.  The thesaurus is to help you avoid too much repetition of the same word.  Or to find something more telling.  It's not to find something more clever.

Don't be clever.  Be clear.  Then you won't go far wrong, and you'll avoid saying the same thing twice.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Speed versus quality

But I don't think they are necessarily opposing each other.  There's something to be said for just getting the first draft down regardless.  I've got a great book by Scott Meredith, who was a long time agent in the US, and he says you should get into the habit of writing the best you can first time.

I think it's a valid point.  There's speed writing and there's writing fast.  Speed writing I would regard as just getting something down, anything, so long as you keep writing.  Writing fast I would categorise as doing the best you can as fast as you can.

Nanowrimo, where everyone writes like mad with the objective of doing 50,000 words in November, seems to prove out the belief that writing intensively is the best way to keep going.  With a deadline looming, my buddies and I talk of doing a "sprintathon" to get finished.  Which effectively means writing like mad for about a week or so.

I've discovered that I write best when I write fast, so I now try and get up to four writing days a week and expect to keep up 5000 words a day, which takes about 4 to 5 hours with a couple of breaks.  Why this works for me is that I don't think.  I just write.  The composition goes straight from my "inner" brain, if you like, to my fingers.  I'm a touch typist and I guess that helps too.

In the non-writing time, I plan the next bit.  I know when it's going well because I start plotting - in the bath, while cooking, etc.  New ideas jump into my head.  And when ideas for the next book start jumping around, I know I'm really moving.

Learning to write fast means you have to push through a series of barriers.  These are the very things that get in the way of self-belief.  You could call it cutting out the middle man.

Now I'm not suggesting everyone should write fast.  You'll have a comfort zone that you like.  I do suggest that once in a while you give it a try.  You never know, it might just work for you too.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

How deep do we need to go?

Years back, I had to ask a writing friend what she meant when she said my potential mainstream novel lacked depth.  I thought I was doing depth because I had several historical romances to my credit already and knew how to bring emotional intensity to the story.  But that wasn't it.

She said:  "I want more."  It took us a while, but in the end I understood that she was talking about detail and  imagery.  That didn't mean I should plaster the text with lots of irrelevant data.  It's the craft of creating a word picture to illustrate what is going on inside your character.

This isn't an easy thing to explain, but I'll try.  There was a scene where my heroine returned to the flat she had shared with her dead lover.  It wasn't enough to say that she found the emptiness bleak and have her going from room to room.  I needed to show the emptiness.  Here's an example from the finished book, with the heroine in the kitchen.

"The milk pan on the hob, gathering the scum of days on the surface of the water poured in to keep the burn from sticking; and on the breakfast bar by the window, an open packet of cornflakes, a half-empty bottle of milk, the rest of its contents lumping in decay."

This is the lover's last breakfast, and everything has been left exactly as it was when she heard the news. It's a simple statement of what is there, but it conveys the bleakness of the place and emphasises the loss.  There is more of this sort of thing in the bedroom, the lover's study and finally in the living-room, where the heroine at last breaks down.

The trick of this piece of craftsmanship is one of the less obvious ways of showing rather than tellling, but if you can learn to do it, it's extremely effective.  Use it when needed, not all the time.  Like any other kind of emphasis, it's only effective if it takes us into a different atmosphere from the norm.

What you're doing is using the physical world to take us into the character's interior world.  Try it.  You may be surprised at the difference it makes to your writing.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Ok, who said that? Where's my hatchet?

I'm incensed to find yet another writer disturbed by some random comment out of the ether.  Is it impossible for anyone to put their work out there without attracting one of the small percentage of nutters who think only in negatives?

Here's a message for these guys.  If you can't think positive, we don't want to hear from you.  Get it?  No one objects to constructive criticism.  I'll spell that:  C-O-N-S-T-R-U-C-T-I-V-E.  If you have something negative to say, then jolly well find the positive as well.  There is not a writer alive who hasn't written something worthwhile in their offering.

And to the victims of this abomination: don't take it to heart.  A negative comment on its own means you've got hold of a negative personality.  This type of person thrives on carping at anyone who dares to stick their head above the parapet.  Believe this - they are trying to bring you down.  Don't ask why.  Don't go there.  Just don't let them win.

Artists as a race are a magnet for people of this type.  As writers, it's one of the risks we face.  Arm yourself by realising what you're dealing with and you won't get hurt.

What to watch for?  "I really enjoyed/liked your book, BUT ..."  Don't believe the first bit.  They wouldn't have liked it if it was strawberries and cream.  "You made a research error on page 57."  Yeah?  So what?  If they are being picky, you've hooked one.

A positive personality is going to be specific.  "I love your hero .... I laughed and cried..."  They won't be ready to jump down your throat for small errors.  They might query something - politely.  "I'm interested to know if..."

So what do you do?  Two choices:  ignore it.  Respond ever so politely and just thank them for their comments. Don't justify, excuse or get into any discussion about the point raised.

Of course, there's a third choice too, but I think it's illegal...

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Discipline - what does it mean?

We're always being told you have to be disciplined as a writer.  "If you want to get anywhere, write every day..." or whatever the disciplinary committee decides is the important rule.

Tell you the truth, I hate that word.  It's loaded with implications of penalties and wagging fingers and writing it out on the blackboard 100 times, and all that ghastly stuff you go through as a kid.  To hell with discipline!

So why am I writing a blog on discipline by request?  Because we need to get this sorted out.  Because as writers we are keen to believe there are ways to circumvent time and effort and do it easily.  Well, there are.  And the number one way is to stop punishing yourself for not being disciplined enough.

You're writing because you want to.  It's your choice.  It's also your choice how quickly you achieve your dreams.  No one can drive you.  You can only drive yourself.  We all have a comfort zone of activity - too much or too little makes you either overwhelmed or bored.

This is my solution.  Find out what your comfort zone is in terms of activity, and stick with that.  Then you can occasionally push yourself to make that deadline.  If you like to work in frenzied spurts and then have days off, do that.  If you like to write a certain amount every day, do that.

Why?  Because when you are comfortable and doing it the way you choose, you will free up your creative juices.  If you have your attention on your "shortcomings" in terms of getting it done, you're damming up the flow.

If there is a word that belongs here, for my money it's persistence.  Keep going, that's all.  And if you fall off your timetable or your plan, so what?  Who cares?  Get back on again and pedal.  You'll get there.

Friday, 3 September 2010

New website about my assessment service

My new website has gone up today.  This tecchie stuff is alarming but thank goodness they make it easy for those with zero designer skills.

Hopefully the website will give people a chance to find out what I'm offering before getting in contact.  I know that's what I like to do.  Plus how much is it going to cost?  Always a key item.

Clients have kindly given me the okay to put their success stories on there, which is another thing people want to know.  How good are you?

My web page link on the profile now transfers direct to the site at and I'll be delighted to have writers who are interested routed in that direction.

Very pleased also to have a write-up about the service in the October issue of Writers' News.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Are you planning too much?

There are about as many methods of writing as there are writers.  We all like to know how others do it, and workshops and tutorials are very much about finding out.  But beware!

Any technique is only as useful as it helps you at a given moment.  It's all too easy to let the technique overtake the writing.  Technique is there to enhance, not to rule.  If it starts taking over, throw it out the window.

Worrying too much about specific techniques can stop you right at the outline stage.  What's important in a story is what happens.  You can have all the backstory, motivation and characterisation you want, but if there's no action, there's no story.

Don't let methods of planning bog you down.  Work with some technical framework by all means, but like research, set it aside when you write.  Any successful writer will tell you that a story is no use unless it's alive.  If you worry too much about technique, your writing will be wooden and uninspired.  Dead, in other words.

When the story lives for you, it will live for the reader.  You have to be involved.  It can be like watching a film unwind in your imagination as you write about what you see.  That's storytelling.

If this hasn't happened for you, try this:  set a timer for 2 minutes.  Start writing and keep going until the timer goes off.  Don't think and don't stop.  Then go 5 minutes.  Then 15.  By this time you'll probably keep going when the timer goes off.  You may think you're writing rubbish, but I'm willing to bet that what you write will be more alive than anything you've written before.

Put simply, writing the book will shift you into living the book.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Have you got a writing buddy?

I don't mean someone who reads your work.  That's one sort of buddy and can be helpful.  No, I'm talking about the buddy stalwart, the fellow writer who shares your dream and dreams it with you.

It's easy to "make friends" on the net, and we all belong to groups.  We know lots of other writers.  Strangely, this hasn't really changed the truth that writing is a solitary business.  We are all vulnerable and scared sometimes, and it takes a hell of a lot of confidence to talk about the writing worries that beset us.

The plot ain't going nowhere.  The characters won't come alive.  I've spent hours writing thirty pages of total shite and I'm about to slit my wrists.  My editor hates me.  I hate my editor.  No one is ever going to buy this rubbish.  Why am I doing it?

There is no more valuable buddy than the writing friend - or group - into whose trusting bosom you can pour these intimate writing woes.  These friends hear you when the chips are down, the fat's in the fire and you are mentally pelting off the rooftop and landing in an ungainly broken heap in the garden.  They pick you up, dust you off and set you back on your writing feet.

When hope rises, their fingers are crossed and breaths bated on your behalf.  When it goes right, they share the euphoria, send you cyber champers and hugs, and even empty their pockets to buy your book.  Needless to say, you recriprocate on all fronts. You share daily niggles and doubts, questions and comments, ups and downs.

Most important of all, you know absolutely that anything said is sacrosanct.  It won't get passed on.

Whether one can look for such buddies is a moot point.  But if such a writing friendship offers, I urge you strongly to cultivate it and use it to the full.  Keep it close.  Don't be tempted to widen the group once it has gelled.  Trust is a delicate plant.  Get too many involved and you lose confidence.

My own group of writing buddies is small but tight.  We've been together for years now and the common bond has never been broken.  We've become close friends, and I publicly thank them right now for the incalculable contribution they have made to my writing life.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Nothing is wasted

Oh, don't we groan when those rejections come in?  Really, is there any more soul destroying moment than answering the door to the postman's knock only to find him standing outside with one of those ominously familiar packages in his hand?  It's back.  Oh, no.  Please let me hide under the bed and scream and scream.

As the rejected novels pile up in a corner, we alternate between mood swings of hope and despair.  Can't I ever get a break?  What is so hard to believe is that you are getting a break.  You're being forced to write and write and write.  Sooner or later you are going to get it right.

The point is you can't help but get better at it.  You're working your writing muscle.  I've recently had to start the most ghastly painful exercise class to build up core muscles to support my dicky back.  The first time I knew there was no way in the universe I was ever going to be able to do some of the stuff the tutor was asking me to do.  What do you know?  A few weeks in, it's still hellish painful, but I can do most of it.

The tutor tells me it always will be painful.  So is writing at times.  We've all experienced the fight to stop displacing and get on with it, or writing through days when your brain is made of mush.  But you do it, and you get better at it just by doing it.

I've got more unpublished novels lying around than I care to think about.  But if I didn't have them, I wouldn't be writing as well as I do now.  What's more, I've got a mine of developed stories to recycle at need.

You're not wasting anything.  You're learning all the time.  Keep doing it.  Someday someone will start paying you to do it.  And believe me, that ain't no picnic either!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Over-emphasis - let's not fall into the trap

Certain of my early books I can't bear to read because the italics leap out and poke me in the eyeballs.

We all do it.  Overuse of emphasis is one of the major pitfalls - too many adverbs, strings of adjectives, italics.  And heaven help us all with the dreaded exclamation mark.

I'm still paranoid about them, even though it's a good twenty-five years or more since an editor remarked - with unwarranted sarcasm in my view - on my manuscript littered with exclamation marks: "I assume it is meant to be funny."

I still regard the things with horror - I take them all out, put some back in, scream blue murder and take them out again.  And finally argue the toss with myself for every one I desperately want to keep.

The truth is we over-emphasise because we are not convinced that simple prose will put our point across.  We don't believe the reader will get it if we don't really truly force them to understand!!!

We need to trust the reader.  We need to grant them intelligence enough to be able to read between the lines.  Reading, unlike film or TV, invites participation from the audience.  The reader wants to use their creative imagination too.  Whack them over the head with it and they don't get the chance.

Scatter the whole text with emphases and they all lose force.  Emphasise sparingly and each one will have a stronger effect.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Entering the Blog World

Gosh, this is pretty scary!  It looks so easy, but I bet I mess up.

The object of the exercise is to share some of the writing lore I've acquired over the years.  And to post news about my own work now and then.

I've recently started an assessment critique and mentoring service, so it seems logical to gird my web loins and join the tecchies who do this off the top of their heads with no problem.  For one brought up with old lined exercise books and copying from the blackboard, I can tell you this is no mean feat.

Bear with me as I learn this game, so that I can help you with the writing game.

Tip Number One:  A writer writes.  Ergo, if you write, you must be a writer.

Let's do away with all those "aspiring" "trying to be" "wannabe" labels and speak only of writers writing better.  That's all any of us ever want - to write better.  Because the better you write the more likely you are to get that coveted publishing contract.

Welcome to my blog, writer!