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What’s In A Name?

November 16th, 2018

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to names over the last couple of weeks. My son and his wife are expecting a little boy in December and they’ve been trying to decide what to call him. At the moment Theo and Archie seem to be the front runners, though I’m not completely sure about either of them. But looking at a list of the 20 most popular boys’ names in 2018, they’re both in there and seem to be moving up the popularity rankings.

Of course, that got me thinking about the names of characters in books, short stories and plays. Choosing the right names for your characters is crucial if the reader is to empathise with them. You can suggest a great deal about a person’s age and background by the name you give (and this is particularly important in a short story where words are at a premium). All names have popular connotations and associations which the reader subconsciously tunes into – they create instant mental pictures of people. Read the rest of this entry »




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Steampunk Literature

November 9th, 2018

My last blog was rather lengthy, so this week I’m going to try to keep it a bit shorter.

As we’re coming up to Remembrance Day on Sunday I’d like to recommend that you have your own few moments of silence and read ‘The Wound In Time’ – a sonnet that Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, has written to commemorate the centenary of the Armistice.

She was invited by film director Danny Boyle to write the poem as part of his 14-18 NOW commissioned piece, Pages of the Sea, which will see thousands gathering on beaches as a national gesture of remembrance. I found it very moving – see what you think. Read the rest of this entry »




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Where Does All The Time Go?

November 2nd, 2018

Last week I promised that I’d try to give you some sound advice for ensuring that you actually find time to write. I know that many of you lead busy lives, but others use ‘lack of time’ as an excuse for not settling down and getting creative. So whichever category you fall into, read on….

Do you have days when all you seem to do is run around frantically and then collapse at the end of it all, wondering what you have achieved? There’s an important lesson to understand here:

Being busy doesn’t mean being productive.

Time management strategies are all about getting more done in less time. It’s about being more efficient with your time. In some ways, referring to these strategies as ‘Time Management’ strategies is a little misleading. We can’t manage time, but what we can do is manage ourselves better. Read the rest of this entry »




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NaNoWriMo Comes Round Again!

October 26th, 2018

First, thanks to Aileen for last week’s blog. I can’t imagine how difficult life would be if you struggled to read instructions, had difficulty filling in forms and didn’t have the amazing pleasure of sitting down to read a good book. So, I take my hat off to all the people who help those with literacy problems. And it’s lovely to hear of someone using their own writing to make this happen.

Every year, towards the end of October, I give a mention to NaNoWriMo the scheme by which would-be novelists are encouraged to write a complete novel in the month of November.  How time flies – it really seems to have come round quickly this year! I don’t think this is an easy challenge – and one not to be undertaken lightly. I suspect that you already need to have a pretty well-formed idea of your book’s plot before starting and you will definitely need the help of friends and family if you are to find enough time to get everything down in the month. One thing that makes it a little less daunting is that your novel doesn’t have to be perfect by the 30th November. It can be the first rough draft and then you can spend all the time you like polishing it to perfection. If you sign up at the official website you will get tips on how best to go about it and encouragement from like-minded people around the world – but it’s still up to you to make it happen. Read the rest of this entry »




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Engaging Learners Through Writing For Fun

October 19th, 2018

Most confident writers (I’m guessing the majority of people reading this) take these skills for granted. So it might surprise you that approximately one in five adults in the UK have less than functional literacy and struggle with tasks such as filling in forms, reading instructions or supplying correct information at the Doctors’.

Social Media often sees negative comments regarding spelling or misuse of English, with the implication that such mistakes suggest the writer is stupid and their opinions, therefore, of less value.  Poor spellers seem to be fair game. But in fact, the problem is seldom generated by stupidity but usually by interrupted schooling: elderly people removed from school to work or care for younger siblings, middle aged folk who were never identified as Dyslexic or had periods of absence due to illness, to teenagers who have dodged school or moved home frequently.  Of course, statistically speaking, there are strong links between other socio-economic factors and low literacy skills but affected people are not a ‘type’.  Sadly, more young people than ever are now leaving school with inadequate literacy skills. Read the rest of this entry »




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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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