Fred’s Legacy

We bought a pre-loved camper-van. We’d travelled up by train. The owner’s dog had crept inside and wouldn’t come out again. The lady planned to emigrate. She’d shown us both around, watched carefully by Algernon, an indeterminate hound. . Embarrassed, she said, ‘Take him too.  ‘He won’t cost much to feed. ‘He can’t come when … Continue reading Fred’s Legacy

Tell It Like It Is

Dialogue can be tricky. If you want to make your characters’ conversations sparkle, there is plenty of good advice on the internet. But first, tidy up basics, like punctuation and speech tags, that can distract from your brilliant banter. This is a checklist to help you dust off your dialogue ready for that final polish that … Continue reading Tell It Like It Is

Goblins and Trolls

When goblins denigrate your work, and trolls belittle every line, Don’t even try to understand the labyrinth of their twisted minds.   Trolls delight in others’ pain – seek to destroy, not to create, And leave behind them worms of doubt that stir your fears and feed on hate.   Picture Henson’s Labyrinth creatures – … Continue reading Goblins and Trolls

Sticks and Stones

Remember the old playground chant? Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. Sadly, it’s only true in the physical sense; harsh words from those we love or trust often hurt, but unkind criticism from those who don’t know us should be another matter. Us beginners need to arm ourselves … Continue reading Sticks and Stones

Inspiration Perspiration

My biggest writing challenge is thinking up stories. I read blogs and comments from writers with stories springing like weeds in their heads, jostling to be told. My head is a cerebral wasteland where few shoots flourish. After decades of neglect, my imagination seems to have withered. Advice from bloggers and magazine articles includes keeping … Continue reading Inspiration Perspiration

Another One I Made Earlier

I've just added Postcard from Malta to Commaful – a quick read with pictures. Photo by Artur Roman on Pexels.comThis was my response to a short writing group challenge at a time when we had other tasks to complete around Where the Wild Winds Blow, the anthology we are about to self-publish. Our responses to … Continue reading Another One I Made Earlier

Puzzling It Out

I confess to being a puzzle addict. I started with codeword-type logic puzzles until I discovered sudoku and its variants.   Since I retired, I tackle anything that looks interesting: puzzles I would previously have dismissed as too challenging and time-wasting. Guess what? They weren’t as demanding as I’d thought.     Learning to write … Continue reading Puzzling It Out

Now for Something Completely Different

After a blog full of commas, here’s another Commaful diversion. Commaful website is running a fantasy story contest; you can find details at https://commaful.com/contests/fantasy2018/ Judging is by readers’ votes, and there’s no monetary prize – just postings on Commaful’s social media channels. I’ve posted a story-verse about the Mirlings (little scaled people with gills who live … Continue reading Now for Something Completely Different

Where Commas Fear to Tread

What a comma CAN’T do  ‘Not commas again’, I hear you groan. Well... yes, because I promised (or threatened) a post about semicolons. Semicolons step in where commas (should) fear to tread. Editors frown when two independent clauses (or complete sentences, if you prefer) are joined by a comma. They call this a comma splice... WRONG … Continue reading Where Commas Fear to Tread