Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Writing Rule #2: Motivation & Reaction

All novels contain an over riding motivation which is usually clear very earlier on; Greed, Fear, Romance. 

For example, in The Hunger Games Katniss's first and overriding motivation is save her sister from competing in a deadly tournament--Fear for her sister's life. However, the whole of a novel is not only filled with motivations and reactions, it is driven by them. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Quick Five Point Novel Guide to The Comma and "Star Wars"

Okay, I confess! This blog has nothing to do with Star Wars...but neither did my "chew"bacca sandwich I had today.

No, this is about the COMMA from my favorite blogger, Grammar Girl

She has this great little picture that summaries the comma perfectly. This is not an exhaustive guide but if you compare these 15 rules with the Writer Digest Table Top Guide to Writing which has 258 rules for the comma--it is not bad.

If you like this then check out Grammar Girls Writing Guide for Students.

You may have noticed it is more than 5 points...but come on. It is hard enough getting it down to 15.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Writing Rule #1: Make The Protagonist's Life Hell

Rule #1: Make life as hard as possible for your protagonist. 

You have to throw it all at the protagonist. No matter how much shit they are in, you add more.

Let me show you an example:

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Run For The Cure: Canada

Run For The Cure

This weekend, I had the great pleasure of running for the ONE-TIT WONDERS in Run For the Cure in Vancouver.

It was a great day and super warm for October. The team, organized and captained by Megan Lawrence raised nearly $2600 for a wonderful cause.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Landscape your Novel: Hills & Mountains

Landscape your Novel: 

Hills & Mountains
Your protagonist finds themselves hiking up a hill, or is it a mountain. What features will it have and can one word describe the features without a long description?

To help in setting up your novel, or just out of curiosity, read on and discover more about hills (or is it a mountain?)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Pour Over vs. Pore Over

Pour vs. Pore vs. Poor

Come on! We take three “words” our, ore, and oor (okay not a very popular word) with three distinct sounds, but then we add a “P” and suddenly they magically transform and all sound exactly the bloody same!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Amazing Word: Louche

This week my amazing word is:


Louche (pronounced LOOSH) means a something or someone who is not reputable or decent

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Book Review: Concrete Hell: Urban Warfare from Stalingrad to Iraq

Normally, this is not the type of book I ever read. I’m writing a story which has a military battle in Philadelphia and I need to do some research. 

I procrastinated; I read work books, I vacuumed, I mowed the lawn, but eventually I had to read it. And read I did, almost the whole book in one sitting. I haven’t been into war and soldiers since I discovered the opposite sex, yes, not since I was 22, but this book is so fascinating I couldn’t bear to put it down.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

7 Project Management Lessons learnt from my Boston Marathon

I completed the Boston marathon this week. I ran with an injury and had the joy of shivering my way through four and half hours of rain whilst been over taken by 10,000 other runners. 

I have come home and due to a (new) foot injury I am unable to walk more than a few feet. But, I have a medal and I ran the Boston Marathon—the mecca of the amateur marathon runner.

However, I look back and I can’t help but feel there is a moral to this story; lessons learned.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Amazing Words:Amphibology

This week my amazing word is:


Amphibology represents a sentence or phrase that can be interpreted in more than one way. A phrase with more than one meaning can be risqué, as in the classic 'double entendre'. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Art of Manliness

Every guy is “the Man” in his own head but have you ever wondered if maybe you’re not? To find out let’s do a check list:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The 10 Most Misused Words in English

We all know this guy in the picture doesn't look terrific...right? Well, actually he is terrific. Terrific is one the most misused words in the English language. 

Here are the top ten most misused words in English. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Book review: Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland

Have you ever wondered why we enjoy movies so much? 

How directors structure movies to keep you interested in the buildup and then, how they speed up the action or increase the emotional connection at just the right moment? 

It is all in the structure, a formula for film and books which has been around for hundreds of years. In her book K.M. Weiland reveals the secrets behind the best movies and books.  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to COMPARATIVES vs. SUPERLATIVES

It seems every day we come across a new record, the best run ever, the best summer ever, the best twin...can we have a best twin. 

Let's look at the imaginary identical twins, Jayne and Lisa. Jayne has the best hair and the best taste in boyfriends...or does she? You see, here we are confusing Comparatives and Superlatives.

Let me explain in a Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to Comparatives vs. Superlatives

Sunday, March 15, 2015

How to improve your child’s creative writing skills

Being able to write well is vital.  Nowadays almost any job requires the skill of writing, even if only to send emails.  
Following these simple steps at home will improve your child’s creative writing skills and help make her a better writer.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

10 Secrets Why this is the Best Blog to Read on Grammar Day

Today is Grammar day, the day every writing blog waits for to tell you how to improve your grammar, and there are about 1,200,000 fighting you’re your attention—yes YOU!

You have opened this because you want to improve your grammar and I bet it is to do with work. Okay, there will be students and a few writers, but I’m going to focus to the office working masses. 

I will give you 10 secrets to improve communication with your boss, your boss’s boss, and the annoying guy or girl who is your “peer”. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The head transplant: Elixir of Life or Pandora’s Box?

In my new novel Blood Ties, I explore the real world of mass blood transference for cosmetic treatment. 

Already, my book does not look like science fiction, in fact it might be old news compared to the announcement that we will be ready to perform a full human head transplant by 2017.

Sergio Canavero, an Italian doctor, is looking to assemble a team this year to make it happen. As science progresses, at ever increasing speed, I ask you, is this potential break through an Elixir of Life or Pandora’s Box?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Amazing Words: The Wonderful Story behind Serendipity

This week my amazing word is:


SERENDIPITY was first coined by Horace Walpole in 1754, who was referring to the “silly fairy tale” The Three princes of Serendip

A tale I will re-tell to you shortly. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to SOME vs. ANY

There are many occasions where you seem to be able to use the word SOME or the word ANY without changing the meaning of a sentence. 

The use and rules of the words SOME and ANY are somewhat (there is no ‘anywhat’) vague to say the least or so impossibly complicated that a PhD is required (see point 5 below.)

However, you know it sounded right when Oliver asked Mr. Bumble, “please sir, I want some more” and not “please sir, I want any more”. 

I looked at these two words more closely and there is an easy pattern which will help you. No PhD required.

Here is a 5 point novel guide to SOME vs. ANY.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

How Cannibalism Can Fix a Migraine

I am back after a two week siesta brought about by a severe migraine followed by a bout of malaise topped off with writer’s block.

My migraine led to me being unable to use my laptop\phone\iPad for three days. Now, some of you might be throwing your hands in the air in horror at such a thought, no technology, but this was not like I had them taken away and I sat in the corner rubbing my bald head repeatedly saying “precious”. Those of you who have suffered migraine will know the technology was irrelevant—along with pretty much everything else in one’s life.

After hiding in the dark, slowly making my way out behind sun glasses all the way to the malaise which often follows one of this attacks, I eventually made it back to the real world. I headed out of the tunnel straight into a strickening bout of writers block.

All this made me think of how I might better manage migraines in the future.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to LESS vs. FEWER

We have all seen the sign in the super market that says "10 items or less", but do you ever wonder if it is grammatically correct?

Well, let's find out in:

A Quick 5 Point Guide to LESS vs. FEWER

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Amazing Words: Do you know who first coined the word Yahoo?

Each week, I’m going to present an amazing word. This week I will present FOUR. 

Introducing the amazing Jonathan Swift at the ripe old age of 347.

Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels is one of the better known works of the 18th Century and one of the earliest examples of science fiction. 

In particular, the floating island of Laputa, which is dripping in symbolism depicting the English rule over the Irish at the time—Jonathan Swift was a High Church Anglican and Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. Laputa, which is Spanish for the whore, represented England.

Gulliver’s Travels is an amazing book for a number of reasons, but I will focus here on a couple of the amazing words Swift made up in his book that are now used in the English language. Then I will introduce a couple of very "modern" words first coined by Mr. Swift. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Passion does not excuse not Proof Reading

Okay, I had a bit of a bad post on Saturday's Blood ties is no longer science fiction.

I rushed to publish my post, not because I was pressed for time but because I was so excited to share. 

This mistake reminded me, after the fact, of one of the best pieces of advice ever given to me: 

"Your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness, so watch out.” 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Blood Ties is no longer Science Fiction

In King Lear, Shakespeare wrote: 

“Jesters do oft prove prophets”.

I argue that so do novelists. 

In my novel Blood Ties my protagonists battle with moral dilemma of the youth giving properties of blood. 

This same discussion takes place in the latest issue of Nature magazine, where they run an article called, Aging Research: Blood to Blood

The headline reads: 

“By splicing animals together, scientists have shown that young blood rejuvenates old tissues. Now, they are testing whether it works for humans.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Monty Python: Novel Writing is the Last Great Spectator Sport.

Now, who said novel writing wasn't a spectator sport. I feel it is definitely up there with most sports played on, curling, dancing. Though it might challenge cricket for longevity. 

Monty Python always knew how to challenge the more fringe articles in life.

Novel Writing Day Opening Day

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to WHETHER vs. IF

Firstly, here we are not discussing the weather, though I will use weather related examples. 

This is examining the other WHETHER.

WHETHER vs. IF is important to remember because the meaning of a sentence can sometimes be different depending on your use of WHETHER or IF. 

The formal rule is to use IF when you have a conditional sentence and WHETHER when you are showing that two alternatives are possible.

Here is a Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to WHETHER vs. IF

Monday, January 19, 2015

Amazing Words: Tintinnabulation

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, January 17, 2015

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to the Semicolon

I want to start by answering a quick question I received. 
What is the difference between a colon and a semicolon? 

A lot! 

Do not let the fact the share the same surname make you think they are closely related, they are barely second-cousins, if they were royalty they could marry. 

The better question is: what is the difference between a semicolon and a period? They are almost brother and sister, if they were royalty they would need to limit their relationship to nocturnal incest.

But there is so much to a semicolon, I felt it deserved its own Quick 5 Point Novel Guide.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Amazing Words: Discursive

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:


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Who Wrote the Quote?


Who wrote the quote? 

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."              

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to LAY vs. LIE.

Okay, I am the first to put my hands up. In my novel, Blood Ties, I made a mistake regarding the use of LAY. 

When my friend pointed the error out, I had no clue I had used LAY incorrectly, then and all previous times before—I’m forty...something—and that is a lot of errors.

But don’t you worry because I will make sure you do not spend the next forty plus years using it incorrectly.

A quick 5 point novel guide to LAY vs. LIE.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Charles Hebdo: What of Qisas?

For me, this cartoon speaks most deeply.

By the French artist Delize. 

The text reads:

"Believers hurt by non-believers" (the man crying on the left) and "Non-believers hurt by believers." (the man lying in the pool of blood on the right).

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Amazing Words: Canoodle

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:


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to WHOM vs. WHO

A great deal has been written about the use of WHO vs. WHOM, most of which revolves around the incorrect use of WHOM. 

If you correctly say WHOM people can think it snobbish or even superior, regardless of it being correct; however, if you use WHOM incorrectly you can sound superior and stupid.

As it is common for people not to know the correct usage of the word WHOM, it is usually forgivable to use WHO incorrectly…usually! If you work in advertising or anywhere where your incorrect use of grammar can affect you negatively, it is important to get this right.

It is easy to work out whether to use WHO or WHOM once you know the subject and object of a sentence.

Here is my Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to WHOM vs. WHO.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Friday, January 2, 2015

Amazing Words: Sanguine

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: