Setting Writing Targets

When you’re working on a big, long-term writing goal – perhaps becoming a published novelist, or making a living from your writing – it’s easy to get discouraged or distracted along the way. Sometimes the gulf between where you are with your writing and where you want to be can seem like an impassable chasm. … Read more

12 Greek Words You Should Know

Along with Latin, Greek is probably the language that most influenced other languages around the world. Many English words derive directly from Greek ones, and knowing their origin and meaning is important. Below you will find 12 Greek words that are commonly used in our society. The next time you hear someone saying “Kudos to … Read more

Theory vs. Hypothesis

I have a theory … or do I? Perhaps what I have is an idea, a hypothesis or a conjecture. In science, a theory is a set of related hypotheses that serve to explain or provide rules for certain phenomena. If these hypotheses can be linked together to predict behavior or events, then they form … Read more

Stephen King’s On Writing

One of the best books I’ve read about writing and being a writer is Stephen King’s On Writing. Written whilst he was recovering from a horrific accident (a van driver hit him while he was out for a walk), it’s a fascinating book combining autobiography and advice. If you’ve not heard of Stephen King, he’s … Read more

Is That a Noun or a Verb? I’m Confused

The main reason why sentences are confusing is that they are too long. Shorten them and your readers will thank you. But another leading reason for confusing sentences: uncertainty about what part of speech a word is: noun, verb, adverb, adjective, and so on. Why should I care about parts of , if I’m not … Read more

Writing An Effective Fiction Query

I’d rather write a 60,000 word novel than a one-page query letter, but I know that a query letter is my chief tool for winning the attention of a literary agent. Here are some things to consider when pitching your novel in a query letter. Keep It Brief One page is best. Two pages are … Read more

How to Generate Hundreds of Writing Ideas

Do you ever feel completely out of ideas? Sometimes, I’ve got time to write – but I’m just not feeling inspired. I might want to write an article for one of my blogs, or work on a short story. I may just want to write something personal, perhaps a letter to a friend, or a … Read more

Short Story Competition: The Winners

The competition is finally over. We had some controversies along the way, but overall I think the event was successful. I am sure that the writers enjoyed the opportunity to showcase their pieces, and that the readers enjoyed the opportunity to read stories coming from all sorts of backgrounds. A big thank you therefore for … Read more

The Question Mark

The question mark is used at the end of a direct question. Example: ‘What is your name?’ she asked. It may also be used at the end of a tag question, which changes a statement into a question. Example: He left early, didn’t he? Question marks should not be used at the end of indirect … Read more

Word of the Day: Dystopian

Dystopian [dĭs-tō’pē-ən] (or dystopic) is the adjective form of dystopia, a place in which people live in misery. It derives from the literary invention of Utopia, an imaginary place in which human misery has been eliminated. The terms are common in film criticism. The end is nigh in Children of Men, the superbly directed political … Read more

Dirt and Filth

In today’s paper I read: Moisture and filth on the video detection camera’s lens can cause it not to detect cars… I wondered why the speaker hadn’t used the more appropriate word for the context: dirt. To me the word “filth” conveys something nastier than mere “dirt,” something not likely to make it to the … Read more

How to Structure A Story: The Eight-Point Arc

One of my favourite “how to write” books is Nigel Watts’ Writing A Novel and Getting Published. My battered, torn and heavily-pencil-marked copy is a testament to how useful I’ve found it over the years. Although the cover appears to be on the verge of falling off altogether, I’ve risked opening the book once more … Read more