All posts filed under: Writing

Fabulous Free Fiction For a Friday!

For those of you who don’t know, and, for the one or two who do know, I also write fiction, mostly science fiction. Though the broader term, speculative fiction, might be more accurate. The evidence is there … go on, look up to the top right of this website, in the navigation section, where it says FREE FICTION. Go on, click on it, and you’ll see what I’m about to talk about. Myself and long time writing collaborator and friend, Mark J. Howard, started posting our short fiction—for free—over on the Wry Writer website last year and, as of this summer, will be posting excerpts of longer fiction, and serializing some of our novels. Again, most of this will be free to read. But we’re also looking to monetize the serial fiction, as in, first chapter will be free to read (as a teaser), with subsequent chapters available at a price—with the whole novel being available, afterwards, as a downloadable ebook. What I’m asking—other than letting you know about the website—is, who among you might …

The gentle art of writing

Tracing the line back from author, to clerk, to scrivener … Today’s post is inspired, in part, by my latest read, The Fire Court, by Andrew Taylor. And all about people and the great art of letter writing. And more specifically, the kind of letters written back in the day when this particular novel is set—the 17th century—just after the Great Fire of London. What Taylor’s book features, and features a lot of, is the rich detail of what we can assume daily life was like during these times. And the reason the author is able to write with such depth and accuracy is not just because he might be a great researcher. But because of the wealth of material at his disposal to research to begin with. The wonderful collections of documents that survive from this, and so many other eras akin to it, are testament to the fact everyone had to do everything by hand; including everything and anything that needed writing. And it wasn’t just about sending notes, documents, contracts, or personal …

The Indefinite Article

Unlike the Definite Article The, A and AN refer to someone or something whose precise identity is not specified. And, although they are among the most common words in the English language, confusion still arises as to which should be used when. So here’s a reminder. A is used: (i) before all consonants: a woman, a tree, a rock. (ii) before an aspirated h: a horse, a hero, a humorist. (iii) before the letter u when sounded like ‘you’: a unit, a use, a union. (iv) before a diphthong eu: a European, a eulogy. (v) before words beginning with y: a year, a yellow balloon, a youth. AN is used: (i) before a vowel sound: an animal, an example, an umbrella. (ii) before a mute h: an hour, an honest woman, an historian. See, it’s as clear as mud. Now, I wonder who is going to be first to ask me, is a diphthong the same as a bikini thong? Hmm…

Grammatical Bad Habits

These are just a number of the most common mistakes we all do when writing, and, as such, I thought to share them with you in one easy-to-copy primer. all ready/already; all right/alright; all together/altogether We were all ready by the afternoon. I had already written to my accountant. Do you feel all right now? (Note: You should only ever use the American slang term alright in dialogue.) We were all together for my mother’s party. They kept three cats altogether in the house. get Get is one of the most overused verbs in the English language. Try to remember not to use have got for have or possess. AVOID: She’s got three cats. INSTEAD: She has three cats. AVOID: Will you get the prize? INSTEAD: Will you win the prize? however Try not to start a sentence with however. Its best position is second in the sentence, after whatever it qualifies i.e., I must, however, tell you… If placed further along in the sentence it loses its force and simply clouds its function. AVOID: …