The Elements Of Eloquence

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Elements Eloquence Mark ForsythIf you’re into writing or reading in any way (and you probably are, if you’re reading this), then The Elements Of Eloquence – How To Turn The Perfect English Phrase by Mark Forsyth is a must have book.

I was lucky enough to get this as an xmas present a couple of years ago and once I’d started reading it I couldn’t put it down. I now always keep it around and dip into it every now and again (along with some other books I’ll tell you about in another post).

It’s definitely one of those books that’s a lot more fun as a physical version as a digital version as once you start flipping through the pages you’l want to share it with someone else.

For instance, do you know what Anadiplosis is? Here’s an example:

If the soup had been as warm as the wine, and the wine as old as the fish, and the fish as young as the maid, and the maid as willing as the hostess, it would have been a very good meal. – Anon Continue reading →

HORROR? WHY NOT? A LIFETIME OBSESSION WITH THE MACABRE: PART TWO.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

pan book horror stories 7For a few years during my childhood my mother accidentally went out with a man who thought that sending me to boarding school was a really good idea. From the age of nine to thirteen I spent most of the week wondering who I would be going to spend the weekend with, as the man also thought it was a good idea to live in France leaving me unable to see my mother for weeks at a time. It was down to a handful of relations and school-friend’s families to look after me from Saturday to Sunday during the school term.

My grandparents lived fairly close to the school and occasionally my grandfather would rescue me for the weekend in his little white Mini, but this meant two days of keeping myself entertained as grandmother was riddled with Parkinsons disease and watched soaps like Coronation Street and grandfather spent most of his life in the garden shed with a soldering iron and a collection of ham radios. A weekend with the grandparents was a welcome relief from the monotony of prep-school, but it wasn’t exactly exciting. There was nothing else to do but read.

pan horror book 7Behind my grandmother’s large upright chair was a cheap glass fronted bookcase that housed a collection of weathered old paperbacks. Lining the shelves were a pot-pourri of romance novels featuring horses, countesses or heists, the occasional Agatha Christie thrown in for good measure; hardly the tales of adventure suitable for an overactive nine year old. Apart from a few collections of short stories, there was nothing of any interest whatsoever. By short stories I’m talking about The Pan Books Of Horror Stories, selected by Herbert Van Thal. They were interesting.
Continue reading →

Twitter Litter – My Top 20 Twitter No-Nos For Authors (and anyone else promoting something on twitter)

Reading Time: 6 minutes

I’ve been off Twitter for a while, but since I resumed book writing mode I’ve been back with a vengeance, following and reading about what other authors, fans and reviewers are doing these days and how they use Twitter to interact with each other and the wider world.

It’s not pretty.

Twitter today is borderline unbearable. Every other author appears to think that the rules of engagement were written for everybody else to follow, and are confusing conversation with exclamation. It’s like being at the worst literary dinner party ever, each guest shouting out the title of their book as loudly as possible simultaneously, at set intervals, over an infinite number of courses. Even a spot of one-upmanship would be nice, but everyone is so busy composing their next ear-shattering tweet that there’s little chance of anybody noticing what everyone else is up to.

I thought bands were bad (and I’ve plenty of experience with those), but it turns out that authors are far, far worse. For people whose passion it is to communicate, I find it unfathomable that so many authors seem unable to construct any form of cohesive dialogue on Twitter.

If, as a reader, you were offered a free copy of someone’s new book based solely on a months worth of their tweets, whose book would you choose? The repetitive, automated Twitter exclamations of a writer simply telling you to buy, buy, buy his book, or the tweets of someone letting you into his world, tweeting as he writes, being human and, more importantly, actually being there? Continue reading →

Automatic Writing

Reading Time: 1 minute

Automatic writing is writing which the writer claims to be produced from a subconscious, external or spiritual source without conscious awareness of the content. Or all three.

In spiritualism, spirits are claimed to take control of the hand of a medium to write messages, letters, and even entire books. I’m hoping that some kind of spirit turns up and writes mine for me – I may start going to bed with a pencil and notepad strapped to my arm. Would be great if I could get good at Automatic Typing too, and Automatic Editing.

I’m writing a book about being possessed, so it’d be entirely appropriate, surely?

If you want to have a go at some automatic writing yourself, try this link, or see below for more info. You’ll probably creep yourself out. Don’t blame me if you realise you’re channeling Damien.

Automatic Writing – Wikipedia

Testing Spirit Writing