Seven years on: advice to new writers

Last week, on 9 December to be precise, was what I consider the anniversary of my writing career. In December 2004, I took the decision to take my writing seriously and joined SF-OWW. I’ve done my seven years in the vein of ‘It takes seven years to become an overnight…

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What the… on swearing, and adverbs, in writing

I have to admit that I am rather puzzled at people who declare that they don’t use swear words in writing. Oh, I totally understand why the decision is made, and this post is not to tell them that they should decide differently, or tell them that the sky will…

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The ‘danger’ of writing in first person

When talking about point of view (POV) and writing in first person, inevitably someone will bring up that it’s OK, as long as ‘it’s done well’ and that ‘it’s not for beginning writers’. Invariably also people can’t quantify what is meant by these statements and the sentiment against writing in…

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when to use a semicolon

One of the features of slush and poorly-edited self-published works is poor punctuation. In particular the poor semicolon takes a beating. Here are two simple truths about semicolons, and they are all you absolutely need to know about them: The best and most fail-safe way to use a semicolon is……

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Two spaces after a full stop?

Hmm. I haven’t yet made two posts in any single day, but an issue came up on Twitter that I absolutely have to say something about. It’s a typographical issue, about which I can speak with a bit of authority, since I have done layout work both for books and…

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the 90% rule

following yesterday’s post about writing workshops, there was some discussion, mainly at other venues, about the value of writers’ circles and crit groups in general. There was some talk about writing ‘rules’ as taught in creative writing courses, and whether or not they have any merit. I adhere to the…

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