Books, chapters, paragraphs, words: guidelines on length

  Books There are no hard-and-fast rules, but it pays to listen to those who have spent years in the industry. To arrive at the definitions below, I conflated opinions from two sources: Standout Books and an article by Chuck Sambuchino. Links are at the end.   110,000 words +          epic/saga 70,000 – 110,000        novel… Continue Reading

NaNoWriMo – Is it for you?

It’s the last week in October, and many writers’ thoughts are inevitably turning to the annual novel-writing event, NaNoWriMo. What started as a modest venture in San Francisco Bay in 1999 with 21 participants has grown into a global phenomenon with millions participating. As a first-timer in 2015, I’d like to offer my views to… Continue Reading

Six Tips for Aspiring Writers

Six Tips for Aspiring Writers   First, let’s be clear what this list is based on. My three years of writing fiction have produced one novel and a dozen short stories – highly enjoyable and illuminating, but hardly enough to qualify me to hand out advice. However, in non-fiction (books on English as a Foreign… Continue Reading

Do Not Go Gently Into That Adverb Denial

  Do Not Go Gently Into That Adverb Denial   Adverbs are about as popular as flatulence on your honeymoon. As aspiring writers, we are told to “avoid adverbs” or “avoid –ly words”. Oh dear. At least 30 –ly words are adjectives, not adverbs: likely, ghastly, sprightly, unsightly; and many adverbs don’t end in –ly:… Continue Reading

Tag Verbs in Dialogues

Diz, the English teacher, handed me back my homework. He’d underlined “she said” ten times in red. He peered at me over his glasses. “Look, Parkes, we know she said it. If she had two lips, a tongue, and half-decent vocal cords, of course she said it. We want to know how she said it.… Continue Reading

How my writing career began by accident

Welcome to my blog and thanks for stopping by. I won’t just be blogging about writing but about English Language, travel (especially Cuba and New Zealand), art, justice and injustice, and much more. This first blog tells how my writing career began by accident.   While teaching in the eighties, I developed a sore throat… Continue Reading