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

Continuing Commas, Part 2: Comma Categories

I started making notes about commas after a former colleague asked for help with a job application. I made notes for him on my edits and when I wasn’t sure why I wanted to change something, I checked online. That was when my investigation ran away with itself; there was much more to commas than … Continue reading Continuing Commas, Part 2: Comma Categories

Comma Conundrums, Part 1: Rotating Sentences and the Oxford Comma

Do you remember when they told you at school that commas indicate a pause in the sentence? Wrong! (Okay – maybe it was only primary school…) I have a piece of editing software. (Mine is ProWritingAid; other editing software is available.) I use it for a final check, and its reports regularly tell me I’ve … Continue reading Comma Conundrums, Part 1: Rotating Sentences and the Oxford Comma

Swimming with Sharks

I spent a lot of time searching blogs and support websites for advice when I began writing my ‘practice novel’. (Of course, I didn’t realise back then it was a practice novel.) It was daunting to discover how much I had to learn, but reassuring to find I wasn’t alone in trying to swim before … Continue reading Swimming with Sharks

Looking for Clues

Since taking to the keyboard, I've found that basics I thought mastered at school have deserted me. When did commas become so complicated? I don’t have all the answers, but they're out there somewhere. Here are some things to keep in mind while you're looking for them. Seek a second opinion – or three. Some … Continue reading Looking for Clues

Laughter Lines

I was into my sixties when I began writing. Most successful writers took half a lifetime to hone their craft. Us silver scribblers have less time to smooth out those wrinkles in our writing that identify an apprentice wordsmith. This blog is about my own writing wrinkles. (You may prefer to call them laughter-lines but … Continue reading Laughter Lines

Absolute Beginners

I once thought proofreading might be a suitable retirement occupation, and signed up for an online course. I don’t know why I thought proofreading was for me. At work, whenever I penned an instruction leaflet or drafted an all-staff email, someone would read it through and always – every time – find errors and typos. … Continue reading Absolute Beginners