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A Question of Perspective

Last year we rearranged our house, and ended up with a spare computer desk. We tried to sell it on Gumtree, but the one person who emailed never turned up. It sat in our living room for several days, and then I wheeled it into the room where I write (a conservatory off the living room.) I thought it might be …

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Jury Service For Absolute Beginners (Sorry.)

This is the second in my Absolute Beginners series. (Being an absolute beginner at “absolute beginners” posts, I had no idea I was going to write a second and can’t promise there will ever be another in this “series.” I can promise this is just as informative as the first.) I had jury service this week. I sort of couldn’t …

Scottish Politics for Absolute Beginners

[I originally wrote this post on the eve of 2015’s General Election, which was for the UK parliament, but since it’s been getting a bit of traffic over the last few days (probably due to Scottish Parliament elections) I’ve made a couple of updates.] In Scotland, everyone is a Tory. In Scotland, everyone hates the Tories. (Maybe that means we all …

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This Post is a Waste of Time (or maybe not)

here is a saying that you teach what you need to know. I often write about ways to get beyond writer’s block. Guess why? Actually, it’s because I want to pass on my awesomeness to you. I’m super-uper-duper at writing fast and furious without a moment’s hesitation. I get out of bed at 5 am every morning and I’m at …

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When Writing Won’t Come – A Pig of a Post

So you want to start writing, but you don’t know where to begin? Or maybe you have started, and now you’re having a pig of time? You feel stuck, blocked and can’t come up with another word. Staring at the blank page or screen won’t do it, neither will reading about writing. (Although of course you should read what I write …

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New Lucrative Genre of Fiction

A while ago, “experts” predicted that novels set at the school gates were about to become the next big thing. The main idea behind these novels is that women meet at the school gates, get coerced onto committees (or bully others onto committees.) And everyone worries about what everyone else thinks of them. The launch of Hive by Gill Hornby …

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How Ambiverts Can Recharge When Life Gets Busy

ome people thrive on interaction with other people. It makes them feel more energised and alive. They’re extroverts! Others, including many writers, feel exhausted and anxious in large gatherings. And by large gathering I mean, oh, maybe three people. They are – of course – introverts. Introverts get their energy from time spent alone. The classic idea of writers is …

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Judging a Book by Its Cover

That familiar saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” has had its day. Everyone judges books by their covers now, so it seems. According to Book Baby your book cover is the most important part of your book. That’s kinda a shock to those of us who spent years, years and years completing our first novels. You mean what’s …

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How Can We Overcome Stigma About Indie Books?

Once upon a time the only people who went it alone in publishing were those whose books would never get a publisher. Their books were of little interest to anyone except the author and their Great Aunt Mabel, proud parents and less proud teenage kids. The self-publishing author forked out hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds or dollars, handing it …

The Friday Review: The Economist Style Guide

A book on writing by The Economist magazine may not seem the obvious choice for someone who mainly writes fiction. And yes, I am pretty sure The Economist Style Guide is primarily aimed at writers of articles. Nevertheless, I found it useful. Now in its 10th edition, the book was first published in 1986. Each new edition is updated to …