The only secret

Often, the purpose of writing the first draft is to tell yourself the story. By the time you finish, you should have a very good idea of what you want to say in your story. Rewriting is the time for clarifying your message.

Some of the best writing advice I’ve heard is to “Mean what you say, and say what you mean.” Using the correct words to convey your message as clearly and effectively as possible is important because it gives your reader the best reading experience.

Data with a Soul

Data with a soul

Well crafted stories draw in the reader. The best stories don’t let go until they are done. As a reader, you most likely remember a story you wanted to dive deep and stay there through the night and into the next day until you finished. Then, the moment you got to “the end”, you wished you had not read so fast.

It always amazes me when the 26 letters of the English alphabet combine to communicate not just data and ideas but complete, compelling stories which move the heart, the emotions, and speak soul to soul.


There's always room

Readers enjoy all the (armchair) travel for which they can make time. Any place at all will do me, I’m not fussy. Time travel, global travel, travel into the lives of people I will never meet and some I may be fortunate enough to meet someday.

One of the best things about this is that we are only limited by the time available to us for reading, our imagination and the imaginations of writers.

JK Rowling’s quote is good news for writers. Let your imagination run wild. Write a cracking story and readers will find it. So, why are you still here reading? Get to it.

Books v Movies


There is a lot that writers of different persuasions can learn from each other despite their differences. Books and movies both have advantages and disadvantages when we’re talking about story.

Starting with the most obvious, the time taken to watch a movie is (usually) much less than that necessary to read the book of the same story, and a movie gives the watcher more aural and visual information which a reader must imagine. The writer, on the other hand, has much more scope to insert information which it’s impossible to include in a commercial length movie.

Commercial considerations and the particular skills of writers, publishers, screenwriters, directors, actors and editors of each version will shape the final book and movie. Whether the book or the movie of a story is better often hangs on personal preference and those commercial decisions.

A writer of books will always need to read and analyse as many stories as possible to continue learning and keep up-to-date with their craft. However, analysing movies to study story is efficient and effective as anyone who has watched Casablanca over the course of a day with Robert McKee can attest.

I highly recommend Alexandra Sokoloff’s website Screenwriting Tricks for Authors to anyone wanting to learn more.




Yes. Guilty. I read the dictionary. For fun.

Why? I love finding new words to use, coming across old friends I’ve forgotten and learning a word for an idea when I hadn’t known one existed. Zoetic Words are my favourite..

Wonderful words I come across which I’d forgotten all about, or learning the different nuances of meaning expressed by variations of the same root word.

Every home needs a good dictionary and not only for playing the dictionary game (for how to play see Fictionary) or Scrabble. Gift suggestion – a beautiful big dictionary. They are not cheap to buy but make a beautiful addition to a home library. Not something a lot of people, except writers and editors, buy for themselves.

I once gave a gorgeous big gold-edged dictionary as a wedding present to a couple I knew, new Australians whose first language was not English. I was so chuffed when, some time later, the groom thanked me and said it was one of the best presents they received. The bride confirmed that he definitely sat down to read it at every available opportunity. My kind of people.

Do you also look up new words you come across when reading? I do. Modern technology makes it so easy when reading online or on Kindle etc with built-in dictionaries.