for writers and readers….

Z is for the end of the A-Z Challenge

Z is for… ZANI an Italian clown, a stock character – this is where the word zany comes from… Z is for… ZEITGEIST – time ghost in German – the … Continue reading

April 30, 2013 · 4 Comments

Y is for YO-HE-HO and why we have words

I didn’t expect Y to be so difficult. For awhile I thought I would be stuck with yarn, the old English word for a rambling story, similar to the Chinese … Continue reading

April 29, 2013 · 2 Comments

X is for….a X rated short story

One look told me that this dame was a no-holds barred xanthippe. It was a slow day in a month busy with final demands so when my office door swung … Continue reading

April 27, 2013 · 8 Comments

W is for Writing Workshops

The case against  Author and editor Louis Menand writing in the New Yorker in 2009 was deeply skeptical about the traditional workshop method. “Creative-writing programs are designed on the theory … Continue reading

April 26, 2013 · 2 Comments

V is for the VISAGE so irksome to a writer’s sight (or falling out of love with your manuscript)

ANNE BRADSTREET was America’s first published poet. Born in Northampton, she became part of 17th century Massachusetts aristocracy – the men in the family were state governors and founders of … Continue reading

April 25, 2013 · 4 Comments


In 1963 the British novelist and critic David Lodge was a student working on a satirical revue for the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. The cast included the soon-to-become iconic actress Julie … Continue reading

April 24, 2013 · Leave a comment

T is for TRICOLON – the power of three

A tricolon is a sentence made up of three clearly defined parts. It’s often used in speeches Veni, vidi, vici (I came; I saw; I conquered.) Julius Caesar “with malice … Continue reading

April 23, 2013 · Leave a comment

S is for SPOILER

In 2011 the University of San Diego’s psychology department researched the way readers react to stories where the end is revealed at the beginning. Subjects were given a dozen short … Continue reading

April 22, 2013 · 2 Comments

R is for REBUS

A rebus is a visual pun – see below Rebus is also one of the most interesting and dysfuctional detectives in criminal fiction – created by Ian Rankin. I have … Continue reading

April 20, 2013 · 6 Comments

Q is for QUEM QUAERITIS (oh, yes…!)

QUEM QUAERITIS is a question: Whom do you seek? It was asked by the angel guarding the tomb where Christ’s body had been buried, when the three Marys came visiting … Continue reading

April 19, 2013 · Leave a comment


Personification gives objects or abstract concepts a human voice or quality. We all use it in everyday speech: time races by, shoes kill us, the wind moans. Advertisers use it, … Continue reading

April 18, 2013 · 2 Comments

O is for Ode (part II)

I tried to find a video of Lucille Clifton reading her poem ODE TO MY HIPS when I posted my ‘O’ contribution to the international A-Z Challenge earlier today and … Continue reading

April 17, 2013 · Leave a comment

O is for ODE

The classic Greek ode was a serious literary form that publicly celebrated the achievements of a noteworthy individual – an Olympic athlete for example. Much later the English Romantic poets … Continue reading

April 17, 2013 · 6 Comments


FIVE RULES YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN’T BREAK 1)  If your character is based on a flesh and blood person make sure the name is radically different to their real life one. … Continue reading

April 16, 2013 · 11 Comments