Here’s a quote from a book I very much enjoyed: “My bow is a rarity, crafted by my father along with a few others that I keep well hidden in the woods.” (The Hunger Games, Chapter 1) How many bowyers is Katniss hiding in the woods?[i] Did she free them before the bad guys destroyed […]
I just finished the second full draft of a novel. I’m going to take a couple of weeks of for Christmas, then get started on the third. But the titles “second” and “third” don’t refer to a number of revisions (I have worked through each chapter many, any times). Rather they refer to specific stages […]
English is a subject/object structured language. A normal English sentence goes like this: Subject -> Action -> Object. But, because English is a wonderfully flexible language, we are allowed to re-order our sentences. We can hide both subject and object within subtle layers of meaning. So how do you choose your sentence structure? And why […]
I am close to finishing the first draft of a novel on which I have been working for nearly two years. But close, as Rene Russo mysteriously observed in Lethal Weapon 3, is a lingerie shop without a front window[i]. What possessed me to write a novel? Why a fantasy novel? Will anyone take me seriously […]
Recently I was involved in an accident (I got hit by a car). I’m ok, I’m not badly hurt, but I’m taking a fair quantity of prescription pain-killers and they’re making me a little groggy. What does that have to do with anything? Well, I try to get at least one article a month up on […]
I'm a doctor of law and economics, a qualified barrister, and a retired British naval officer. I have written for journals, collections of academic writing, and newspapers including The Economist. I also write scripts, short stories, and am finishing a novel just so I can throw it on a bloody bonfire. This blog charts my efforts to avoid fiction-related fire hazards.