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Showing posts from October, 2010

Writing and Rules

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been reading around in the Miles VorkosiganSaga by Lois McMaster Bujold, all available installments in the Richmond Tweed Regional Library.

It is interesting to me that every so often I get hold of an excellent read, in this case six so far excellent reads, and it breaks a lot of the writing rules I’m learning to negotiate. For example, the one that says adverbs are a no-no. I did recently read someone on their blog doing a pass over their latest w-i-p, cutting out adverbs and replacing them with ‘stronger’ verbs.

I’m frequently stuck for ‘stronger’ verbs and I’m forever looking for a verb dictionary. If such an species exists. Yes, the thesaurus is good sometimes. But I also find myself making up words (another no-no) and making them up from nouns (n apparently serious no-no) or retrieving words gone out of use. Anglo-Saxon is a good source. Reading an old dictionary is a favourite way to spend the odd spare ten minutes

So far, one of my favourite…

Digital Publishing

The Next Text seminar (at Northern Rivers Writers Centre, Byron Bay) was a little like a cyclonic wind picking up and disarranging all my previous ideas about digital publishing …


Kate Eltham, CEO at QWC and of IfBooks Australia, after a short history of the book so far explained how content is being separated from container, and all the different ways the content can now be contained – and it is the early days yet.

While books as objects (first editions, art books, limited editions, etc) are still important, Kate says, content released from the constraints imposed by print enables a much closer relationship between readers and writers. Eg blogs, websites, alternative reality games, social media.

The book as a never ending conversation – Kate’s question, will it still be long form narrative? Who knows. But it was great to have my ideas confirmed. All I have to do now is work out how to make it happen.

Things to talk about, for readers: access, ownership, new cultures. For writers: …

A Novel: Boys of Blood and Bone

The contrasting treatment of the two protagonists, Henry and Andy, in Boys of Blood and Bone made me aware, again, how writerly writing can add depth and meaning to a character’s point of view.
A great title. The plot is awkward to say the least. My problems reading it began with Henry. He comes across as such a lightweight. What he thinks and does seemed unnecessarily weak. Anything would contrast with Andy’s theatre of war and blood and guts and mud and cold. Trot, a secondary character in the modern arena, is much more his own man.

Henry, driving through the countryside breaks down and must seek help at the nearest little town. Trot gives him a lift in and introduces Henry to Janine, Trot’s girlfriend, and Miss Cecelia, Andy’s fiancĂ©e all those years ago.

Henry is drawn into a mystery about Andy. Janine encourages him to read Andy’s diary and he seems to agree out of mere politeness. Andy’s diary is non committal to the point of being uninformative. As a carrying device into Andy…