January 30, 2015 @ 6:57 PM

Finding the right title for your book can be among the most important but elusive aspects of a writer's life. At least it is in my experience, and I often wonder if other authors feel the same?

Sometimes it's easy. A phrase ... an unusual word you come across, may not only trigger the idea for a novel, play or short story, but stay from the outset as the title of the work. I once wrote a novella Spindrift from just such a beginning.

YOUNG DIGGER  coverAnd it's true that a title will occasionally emerge from story as it evolves on the page. A nickname ... a phrase in common parlance used during the writing can suggest itself as a title for the tale. Soldier Boy and Young Digger are two examples from my backlist.

But at other times it can be the .........

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January 23, 2015 @ 7:28 PM

Last week’s post about Editing in Another Medium led to the further thought: what’s the method most writers prefer when setting down their original composition –  writing that tantalisingly difficult  first draft?

Are we still pen and paper people – Edward Gibbon’s “scribblers” – at heart? Or have we adapted completely to the electronic revolution, and happily compose as well as edit on the shining screen? Indeed, for many of us to publish, market and earn an income from our books in a strictly digital way?

Belt and braces – or, The best of both worlds…

Personally, I try to straddle both worlds, though the balance of late is tipping to the new way of doing things. In .........

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January 16, 2015 @ 9:22 PM

Liberté. Egalité. Fraterinté. Solidarité. Parlez.


There’s been some interesting discussion on Linked In and Goodreads about my recent post “Cut, Cut, Cut” and the editing down of my current book.

Most comments agreed  the original example I gave was far too wordy, and  that the edited version – where the copy was cut by almost half to 35 words – was much better.

Yet even here, Vin Arthey rightly pointed out there was still  ambiguity in the phrasing. It suggested  the influenza pandemic of 1918 in fact originated in Spain and spread from there (as opposed to being first reported there, hence the name “Spanish Flu”.)

It was a simple matter .........

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January 9, 2015 @ 6:31 PM

Where do you go to write when you REALLY need peace and quiet?

Every author has a space where most of the writing is done ... the kitchen table, an office desk, if we're lucky a room of one's own like Virginia Woolf. On a tablet in bed ... during the commute to work. Wherever. But where do you go when you absolutely have to concentrate on the work, free of other distractions?

A few months ago I thought I was going mad with interruptions. Because I work from home, there are always other calls upon my time. Tradesmen, deliveries, telephone calls, emails, letters, bills, visitors, a pressing household job... All part of daily life.

Yet I'd reached a difficult stage with the new book, and really had to apply my mind to the work .........

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January 2, 2015 @ 6:42 PM

What are you reading in 2015? With the first draft of my new book finished and cutting for the second draft well under way, I’ve got a stack of books waiting to be devoured. In fact, I’ve already launched myself into the first of them: Patrick O’Brian’s Master & Commander, volume one of the famous Aubrey/Maturin seafaring novels from the Napoleonic wars.

I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those writers who find it almost impossible to read other people’s books – apart from those necessary for the current research – when I’m composing my own.

Editing is different. It's generally easy enough to cut, revise and rework a manuscript when reading somebody else's .........

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