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Is Your Squibbling Phizz-Whizzing?

June 3rd, 2016

jabberwocky-blogHave you picked up on the fact that a Gobblefunk Dictionary is being released to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth? As you probably know, he loved using made-up words in his writing – because it added colour to the stories and also to keep his readers on their toes.

My favourites include delumptious (delicious), ucky-mucky (messy) and squibbling (writing).  The dictionary will contain over 8000 words – many that appear in his books but also some from the archives, which never saw the light of day – and it’s taken five years to put together. Read the rest of this entry »




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How Good Is Your Grammar?

May 13th, 2016

books10a-768x156-blogI’m rather tired of all the hoo-hah about sats exams. They were interviewing some children on BBC’s One Show last Monday and the majority of them didn’t seem half as ‘stressed’ or up-tight about the issue as their parents and teachers.  Plus, when they asked parents, grandparents and children to sit a mock exam the children romped into the lead.

But the most interesting part was the fact that the person conducting the report for the BBC only achieved 43% (the average for the children was 74%)but when the studio guest, German comedian Henning When, took the test his mark was 73%. Does this show that the Germans are ahead of us in the league tables? Or does it just go to prove that having to learn a foreign language (in his case English) helps you to get to grips with grammar? Read the rest of this entry »




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Another One Bites The Dust

May 6th, 2016

newday-blogThis week is something of a miscellany because there are a few things I want to mention. First, I can’t say I was really surprised when I heard that the two-month old newspaper, New Day, from the Trinity Mirror group was closing down.

I’m a hybrid when it comes to getting my news fix. I pick up what I want online, still enjoy sitting down and watching bulletins on TV and then I buy a big, bulky, satisfying newspaper on Sunday and thoroughly enjoy it. I love the supplements, the in-depth features and the fact that the coverage it gives is still truly international. There’s a postal strike in Venezuela that’s been going on for the last month? Wow, how could I live without that snippet! Read the rest of this entry »




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Make Crime Pay

April 22nd, 2016

debut-blogI can’t say that I’m particularly interested in reading crime novels, though if one is recommended or catches my eye I’m more than happy to give it a go. But I have noticed, when I visit my local library, that the crime section seems to be growing and there’s an insatiable appetite for it on Amazon. Plus every time you turn on your TV the channels seem packed with crime dramas, both original and based on books.

So I thought I’d have a look at The Crime Writers’ Association Not everyone can join – you have to have a crime novel or non-fiction book published before you can apply for membership. They don’t accept self-published books or ones where you’ve contributed towards the cost. But they do accept plays, screenplays plus radio and TV work that has been professionally produced.  And if you’ve got a valid contract for a book that will be published within the next two years you can become a Provisional Member.  Benefits of being a member include networking with other writers and useful contacts; conferences and other events; their monthly magazine; a free tax helpline (not to be sniffed at when you’re starting out) and the opportunity to sell your books through The Crime Readers’ Association. Read the rest of this entry »




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Streamlining Your Research

March 4th, 2016

corset-blogYou’ve probably heard the advice: write about what you know.  This is sensible as far as it goes but no-one – whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction – can produce informative, authoritative, realistic writing without doing research.

The good news is that most of us find researching one of the most enjoyable and rewarding parts of the job.  In fact, the real danger is that you become so engrossed in your research that you keep going deeper and deeper rather than getting down to the writing.  You’ll also have to make sure that you don’t let yourself get side-tracked.  It’s a fact that most research projects take longer than you originally anticipated; so always make allowances for this.  It’s particularly important to avoid the trap if you have deadlines to meet.  Plus, you don’t want to spend so long on your research that you end up working for next-to-nothing. Read the rest of this entry »




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