Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Anomynous Vigilante Rises Again

The recent attack on the North Korean web service for their alleged, and probably unlikely, attack on Sony has been attributed to the hacktivist group known as Anomynous. 

One month ago, I talked about the dangers of a group like this potentially having an agenda which could draw the U.S. into a major war; see The Anonymous Vigilante.

With this attack, we are seeing the arrogance of this group grow, made worse by the fact that the North Koreans may well be innocent in this matter. In fact, I wonder if both sides of the attack were not Anomynous.

The current trend in teenage literature (which has a greater following in post-teen readers) is for post apocalyptic dystopian worlds, and we should worry that they maybe an element of the current hacktivists who confuse the fantasy for a "better" reality.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to AFFECT vs. EFFECT

When do you use AFFECT rather than EFFECT, and vice versa? 

This can be one of the trickier challenges. It is a mistake I see quite often.

Here is A Quick 5 point novel guide.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to AN vs. A

There are two things we know about the relative usage of AN and A:

1. We use AN before a vowel

2. A word uses AN or uses A no matter where in the world you are, it never changes.

…well, no and no!

Here is a a quick 5 point novel guide to AN vs. A.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Amazing Words: Oxymoron

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:


Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to using THAT vs. WHICH

One of the most confusing aspects of writing is the use of that instead of which? I am going to give you are easy way to remember.

Here is A Quick 5 point novel guide.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to Using i.e. and e.g.

We all use i.e. and e.g. but do we use them correctly. I received a report at work the other day and in seven references to i.e. or e.g. five times they were used incorrectly--I think the other two were luck. 

So, here I present the fool proof 5 point novel guide to e.g and i.e.

Friday, December 12, 2014

10 Paths to Write Great Fictional Dialogue

I love writing dialogue. There are lots of blogs on the technical aspect of dialogue; I want to discuss the foundational essence of dialogue. 

One of the greatest writers of dialogue has to be John Steinbeck, the Pulitzer prize winner. Here is an extract from one of my favorite books, Of Mice and Men:

'I forgot,' Lennie said softly. 'I tried not to forget. Honest to God I did, George.'
'O.K.—O.K. I’ll tell ya again. I ain’t got nothing to do. Might jus’ as well spen’ all my time tell’n you things and then you forget ‘em, and I tell you again.'
'Tried and tried,' said Lennie, 'but it didn’t do no good. I remember about the rabbits, George.'

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Amazing words: Tabard

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:


Monday, December 8, 2014

Amazing Words: Bouleversement

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:


Saturday, December 6, 2014

7 Rules On How To Write A Flashback In A Novel

Every story is set in a period of time. In a story, any reference to backstory or action that has happened in the past to explain something within this period of frame is referred to as a flashback.

When writing a novel, a flashback can be a powerful tool in the development character motivation. In my novel “Blood Ties” I have a couple of flashbacks to build up the foundation to why Amber is desperate for a new life and a mother she misses.

However, there are a few rules around writing good flashbacks:

1. Use Sparingly

Every time you use a flashback you risk losing the audience.

2. Have an emotional trigger to go into the flashback

For the flashback to occur there must be a trigger. For example, in Blood Ties, a man stalking Amber triggers a memory of when she was fifteen and a guardian tried to rape her.

3. Let the audience know the flashback has started

If you are writing in the present tense then this is relatively easy as you can just switch to the past tense. However, if you are writing in the past tense, then you have to start the flashback a little differently, you need to start the flashback in the past perfect tense.

The Past Perfect expresses the idea that something occurred before another action in the past. It can also show that something happened before a specific time in the past.


I had never met my wife before I moved to Jersey. This is a completed action before something in the past.

By the time I met my wife, I had been in Jersey five years. This is a duration before something in the past.

Once, you are a couple of sentences into the flashback, it is okay to revert to simple past tense as it is easier to read.

4. Have a trigger to end the flashback

In Blood Ties, Amber is pulled from the flashback by the train arriving at the platform.

5. Let the audience know the flashback has end

Again, if you novel is present tense it is easy to show you have ended the flashback by reverting to back to resent tense.

If your novel is in past tense, then you need to revert to past perfect tense for the last couple of sentences to give a hint that the flashback is ending.

6. The effect the flashback had on the reader

Does the flashback effect how your reader views your character? If not then dump it, A flashback must add something to explain a character motivation or to their personality.

7. If possible lose the flashback

Make sure you fully understand the reason why you need the flashback and you are sure you cannot get the information across without it, because every time you slip in to a flashback you risk losing the reader. Before using the flashback, make sure the reader is hooked in the story but do them early in the novel not in the main part of the book.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

10 No Bull S*** Rules to Success

I have been relatively successful in pretty much everything I have ever done, be it work, hobbies, or pleasure, and it comes down to ten priceless, no bull, rules.

These are pretty good things to do if you ever want to successfully lead people too! 

1. Take ownership

If you don’t feel you own the problem, you will never work hard enough to solve the problem

2. Never give an excuse

If you own it and something goes wrong, even if it out of your control, do not, ever, give excuses. The truth will come out in time and your reputation will be enhanced.

3. Do not talk negatively about others

They will find out and others will assume you talk about them too

4. Say “No”

Only do what you have the skill and time to do. It is better to say ‘no’ and give the person asking the option to go elsewhere.

5. 80-20 Rule

Never seek perfection

6. Be humble

Don’t brag and look to compliment others

7. Be nice

Karma man!

8. Be honest

If you are always honest in mistakes and praise, people will trust you and that is a powerful ally to have

9. Listen to feedback openly

I am a writer, I get better by listen to feedback openly. I may not follow all feedback but I consider why the other person feels the way they do.

10. Listen to others ideas and give credit

No one person will know everything, and the best ideas usually come from collaboration with others.

Monday, December 1, 2014

7 Things You Must Do To Write A Novel, or Run a Marathon, or Do Anything Cool in Life

I am about to give you a gift which, if used wisely, can change your life. The secret of absolute success in anything in life worth doing. 

This is what all those self help books go on about in 250 pages, I will give you in 700 words. This is What Successful People do, What Millionaires do, What Marathon Olympic Champions do, and this is What Stephen King Does.