Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Document Changes and Comments

At the moment I’m going through the professional edit of my second novel, and it occurred to me that some of you out there may not know about the facilities offered by word processing software (Microsoft Word and similar) for critiquing work.

I use Libre Office, which is a free Microsoft Office clone, so the explanations and screen shots will be from there, but the principles work in most word processors. Once you know what’s possible, you just have to find your own version on the menus.


When you critique a piece of writing, you want to be able to suggest changes in the text to improve it or correct spelling or grammar errors. You do this with the menu option Edit/Track Changes/Record Changes. I think Microsoft Word may call it Track rather than Record.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Philip K Dick (1928-1982)

Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American writer notable for publishing works of science fiction. Dick explored philosophical, social, and political themes in novels with plots dominated by monopolistic corporations, authoritarian governments, alternate universes, and altered states of consciousness. His work reflected his personal interest in metaphysics and theology, and often drew upon his life experiences in addressing the nature of reality, identity, drug abuse, schizophrenia, and transcendental experiences. Dick was married five times and had three children.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Why I’m Not Looking For a Publisher

Why I'm not looking for a publisherWhen you start out, it’s every writer’s dream to have your novel accepted by a publisher.

Then you learn that some publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts, so instead you dream of getting an agent. But really, the dream is the same – you want somebody to say your writing is good enough to publish.

For years, struggling writers have shopped their manuscripts around from one place to another, collecting rejection slips and despair. Then came ebooks.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Frank Herbert's Dune Saga

Frank Patrick Herbert, Jr. (October 8, 1920 – February 11, 1986) was an American science fiction writer best known for the novel Dune and its five sequels. Though he became famous for science fiction, he was also a newspaper journalist, photographer, short story writer, book reviewer, ecological consultant and lecturer.

Dune is one of my favourite science fiction books, and though I have read most of the later books, the one that started it all is still the best in my opinion.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

11 Things I Learned in Malta About Writing–Roundup

A few years ago my husband Michael and I went on holiday to Malta. Thanks to British rule before they became independent, much is like home. The main language is English and they drive on the left. But, in more than distance travelled, it's a whole different world.

I saw many things that could help me with my writing. As I wrote them out I realised I could say a lot more, so I expanded each point into a post of its own, which I have been posting over recent weeks. Here is a summary, and you will find the full blog post linked to each point.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

The New Wave of Science Fiction

We’ve spent time looking at the Golden Age of science fiction, but it couldn’t last. Many young writers entering the field came to feel, either instantly, like Thomas M Disch, or after some years' slogging away at conventional commercial science fiction, like Harlan Ellison and Robert Silverberg, that genre science fiction had become a straitjacket; though widely supposed to emphasize change and newness, science fiction had somehow become conservative.
As the 1960s arrived, in the minds of many, it was time for science fiction to 'grow up.' A New Wave of authors began to experiment with literary and artistic form, and to break away from the earlier 'pulp' science fiction as adolescent and poorly written. The magazine New Worlds, under Michael Moorcock, who became editor in 1964, was prominent in this new movement.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

11 Things I Learned in Malta about Writing-a Warning ‘It’ll Do’ isn’t Good Enough

On a 2014 holiday in Malta I saw many things that could help me with my writing. I have been sharing one each week. This is the last one, and it’s a warning:

‘It’ll do’ isn’t good enough

2014-09-18 17.32.56

When something needs fixing, the Maltese seem to have a very casual attitude to standards. The overhead electric cables strung from house to house gave an electrician friend a fit when he saw the mess, and we saw blocks of stone wedged into buildings as repairs.