Author Archives: Geoff Geoff

Writing and Judging Short Stories

The fruits of your loins and your brains Short stories are like children: You sweat buckets trying to produce one, and when it’s there, you’re not sure what to do with it. Mercifully, the options for short stories are limited. Maybe you write to entertain friends and family. Perhaps you’re aiming for publication in magazines.… Continue Reading

Figures of Speech

Figures of speech are literary devices which writers use to spice up their work. They add colour, heighten an effect, paint a picture more vividly, and – we hope – sometimes bring a smile to readers’ lips. Nearly all writers use similes and metaphors, but how many of us go beyond those two? How many… Continue Reading

Why Does Grammar Matter?

Before answering the question, I should explain the background. At the end of 2016, I was asked to run a short course at Swanwick on grammar. Since this is such a vast area, I decided to concentrate during the Swanwick course on error analysis. That meant examining writing and speech from various sources to find… Continue Reading

Alpha Readers, Beta readers, Albie Readers and more

This article is about checkers. Everybody needs them, from the first-time storyteller to the seasoned novelist. There is a bewildering array of labels for those who check others’ writing. I offer simplified definitions below. Imagine boiling carrot soup in a non-stick pot for twelve hours. You end up with essence of carrot. My definitions don’t… Continue Reading

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