“Said is dead,” says one camp. “Only use said,” says another. So which rule should we follow?

Writing Rules Explained: Said is Dead / Only Use Said

“Said is dead,” says one camp. “Only use said,” says another. So which rule should we follow? The erroneous death of said Some writers think said is dead because it’s overused, but if using a word a lot means we need to expunge it from our vocabularies, why are irregardless and misunderestimate still kicking? As … Read more

Books and movies can teach us a lot about storytelling. These are the lessons Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope has to offer.

4 Storytelling Lessons from Star Wars: A New Hope

I’ve always had a problem with criticism of the Star Wars prequel trilogy because what most people think are problems really aren’t, but after reading criticism of Rogue One, I’ve decided to break my silence. Let me preface by saying that I was introduced to Star Wars by my parents when I was a child in the early … Read more

Every Friday I read the first chapter of a book I've never read before to see what I can learn about writing great first chapters.

First Chapter Friday #9 (December 2016)

Don’t know what #FirstChapterFriday is? In the Skin of a Monster, Kathryn Barker The good The voice in this book was immediate and fantastic. I knew this girl immediately and was interested in what she was doing and what she had to say. I learnt about how three years beforehand, when they were both fourteen, … Read more

Every Friday I read the first chapter or a book I've never read to see what I can learn about writing great first chapters.

First Chapter Friday #8 (November 2016)

Don’t know what #FirstChapterFriday is? Biblical, Christopher Galt In the last eight months of doing #FirstChapterFriday, I’ve found that it’s easier to be unimpressed by a first chapter than it is to be impressed by a first chapter. This prologue was only a few pages long—long enough for me to be able to form a negative … Read more

'Make every word count' means that every word you use in your story should contribute to the story in some way. I'm not just talking about individual words here, but also sentences, paragraphs, scenes, chapters and subplots. Everything you write about should contribute to the 'big picture' of the story. Why?

Writing Rules Explained: Make Every Word Count

Video transcript ‘Make every word count’ means that every word you use in your story should contribute to the story in some way. I’m not just talking about individual words here, but also sentences, paragraphs, scenes, chapters and subplots. Everything you write about should contribute to the ‘big picture’ of the story. Why? Let’s start … Read more

Every Friday I read the first chapter of a book I've never read before to see what I can learn about writing great first chapters.

First Chapter Friday #7 (October 2016)

Don’t know what #FirstChapterFriday is? Cinder, Marissa Meyer Engaging first sentence? The screw through Cinder’s ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle. I found this sentence to be a classic “I overestimate how much my reader cares about my story and its characters”. I could picture something, which was great … Read more

If you're subscribed to my newsletter, you're probably aware of how I can't stand the question "How do I find the time to write?". As part of the online writing community, I see this question asked at least once a week and I'm a little tired of it because ...

Why You Shouldn’t Ask How to Find the Time to Write

If you’re subscribed to my newsletter, you’re probably aware of how I can’t stand the question “How do I find the time to write?”. As part of the online writing community, I see this question asked at least once a week and I’m a little tired of it because … you can’t actually find time. Time … Read more

As a book editor, I'm going to set the record straight about writing rules.

Writing Rules Explained: Should We Follow Writing Rules?

(Video transcript) Not a fortnight goes by that I don’t read the comments section of an article about writing and find a comment spurning writing rules and advice of any kind and it grinds my gears. “Rules stifle creativity!” they proclaim. “They make you write for editors and not for yourself! Writing is an art and … Read more