Thursday, October 30, 2014

Amazing Words: Quantum

Each week, I’m going to present an amazing word. A word that has a double meaning either directly or perhaps through origin, where is has evolved into a new meaning, or carries a wonderful Onomatopoeic effect.

This week my amazing word is:

Quantum






  1. Quantum as we all know refers to something immensely small. The smallest amount of many forms of energy.
  2. Quantum as we all know refers to something rather large.  A significant quantum improvement.

Which of these statements is true?

    A. Statement 1
    B. Statement 2
    C. Both
    D. Neither

Well, the answer is C. both of them are true. This seems contradictory and it is! 

You see, Quantum falls in to a category of words called Contronyms--terms that, depending on context, can have opposite or contradictory meanings.

Try this sentence for size:

The quantum leap in human knowledge over the past 100 years has been so immense that even a highly educated person can hope to absorb only a tiny quantum of it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Why did you start writing?


When writing a story, writers receive inspiration in many forms. We have dreams, we see something unusual, we read an article; the list is endless. We then take this to a unique conclusion. 

But what inspires writers to become writers in the first place? What makes a person decide to undertake the art of writing and spend agonizing years fighting crisis in confidence trying to create a novel complete strangers will want to read? I imagine we all have that “a-ha” moment.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

In order to write...read

What do Stephen King and Dilbert have in common?







“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things that I'm aware of, no shortcut.”
― Stephen KingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Novel Writing: Man vs. Machine


Julia was twenty-six years old... and she worked, as he had guessed, on the novel-writing machines in the Fiction Department. She enjoyed her work, which consisted chiefly in running and servicing a powerful but tricky electric motor... She could describe the whole process of composing a novel, from the general directive issued by the Planning Committee down to the final touching-up by the Rewrite Squad. But she was not interested in the final product. She "didn't much care for reading," she said. Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces. – 1984 George Orwell

In 1984 George Orwell introduced the factory that wrote books, but it should be noted that the machines worked with humans, the Planning Committee and the Rewrite Squad.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Amazing Word: Ambrosia

Each week, I’m going to present an amazing word. A word that has a double meaning either directly or perhaps through origin, where is has evolved into a new meaning, or carries a wonderful Onomatopoeic effect.

This week my amazing word is:

AMBROSIA




Ambrosia is applied to something particularly delightful to taste or smell. It also refers to the foods of the gods, said to bestow immortality. It is a girl’s name and sometimes shortened to Amber.


In the novel, Blood Ties, the protagonist’s name is Amber. However, in her passport she carries the name Ambrosia. Amber’s beauty is intensified by the association to the  words reference to delightful food, but more importantly, it connects into the whole context of the novel where her blood is used to try and make another woman immortal.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Avoiding Cultural Mistakes in Writing

This week, I am writing my blog from a train travelling in Northern England, from Sunderland to Wolverhampton. It has been years since I visited England and I’m struck by the subtle differences from my new home in West Vancouver. These variances show exactly where a novel can fall down when you are writing about a place you think you know.


Let’s look at this (English) example:

“Dave ran his dry tongue over his fangs. They felt dirty, blood probably, he had forgotten his toothbrush. He squeezes himself in behind the steering wheel of his two door silver Honda Civic, his belly hanging out of his Puma tracksuit bottoms. He puts her into first gear and pulls away from the curb, facing the oncoming traffic. He blasts his horn at an old woman about to step out on to the road.”

Monday, October 13, 2014

Amazing Words: Tittup



Each week, I’m going to present an amazing word. A word that has a double meaning either directly or perhaps through origin, where is has evolved into a new meaning, or carries a wonderful Onomatopoeic effect.


This week my amazing word is:
TITTUP




Saturday, October 11, 2014

Future Self

Yesterday, I came across this cartoon on the excellent site XKCD. It provides a nice follow up to my piece on the Writer's Mission Statement.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Do you have a Writer’s Mission Statement?


This does not count: “To be stinking rich, win the Man Booker Prize, and be chased on Malibu beach by paparazzi photographing my new found six-pack for the cover of people magazine.”


What can you hope to achieve with a Writer’s Mission Statement?

In my ‘Clarke Kent’ life, where no one knows my alter ego, Writer & Runner, I tell people this is not just about goals or how you will achieve them.

This one statement will force you to think deeply about your writing, clarify the purpose of your writing, and identify what is really important to you. It will be a marker in the sand, to say “here I stand today” and to tell your future self what you expect from them and who you want to become. You cannot measure success without knowing what it looks like.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Amazing Words: Cataract

My Eye Like Waterfall by cynder-lany

Each week, I’m going to present an amazing word. A word that has a double meaning either directly or perhaps through origin, where is has evolved into a new meaning, or carries a wonderful onomatopoeic effect.


This week my amazing word is:
CATARACT





"A cataract of lightness materializes down my legs to imbue me with the urge to skip or twirl” – Blood Ties.

Cataract is most famous for its more ominous definition, an opaque area in the eye, which can lead to blindness. This is the first more subtle use of the word; to define blindness in protagonist to what is going on. The poetic version of the word refers to a waterfall.

In the example above, we can see how the waterfall meaning is used to show the giddy feelings flowing down the protagonists legs. The implied blindness alludes to her ignorance of the dangerous source of her happiness.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Newbie's Cornerstone to Setting up an Author's Platform



There’s the easy way and there’s the newbie way.  

If you are thinking about building toward your platform then you need to read on and avoid my mistakes and wasted hours. Firstly, what is an author's platform? I think Jane Friedman sums it up perfectly in this blog. A platform is who you will become; A proven authority making an impact to your target audience. 

A platform, like Rome, is not built in a day but the cornerstone of your future self starts here and now.