for writers and readers….

A screenplay…is merely the scaffolding for a building someone else is going to build – John Irving QUOTES FOR WRITERS

There is no (literary) language in a screenplay. (For me, dialogue doesn’t count as language.) What passes for language in a screenplay is rudimentary, like the directions for assembling a … Continue reading

April 19, 2020 · 2 Comments

Why we bother with words… the last item from the archive

I’ve discovered that three main theories attempt to explain why language developed. Supporters of the BOW-WOW theory are convinced that humans first began to communicate by imitating the sound of … Continue reading

August 31, 2017 · Leave a comment

The writer’s most natural style…Kurt Vonnegut Quotes for Writers (and people who like quotes)

The writing style which is most natural for you is bound to echo the speech you heard when a child. English was Conrad’s third language, and much that seems piquant … Continue reading

May 24, 2015 · 4 Comments

You can learn a lot from films…

On Fridays I am returning to some of my favourite posts from the past. To paraphrase BBC radio: this is your chance to read again…This post comes from April 2013 … Continue reading

March 13, 2015 · 2 Comments

Why English teachers are important – John Cooper Clarke: Quotes for Writers (and people who like quotes)

English teachers are valuable because language is the stuff we all deal in every waking hour. Unlike logarithms. To use language in a powerful or persuasive way is in everyone’s … Continue reading

May 4, 2014 · 4 Comments

“Language, as a vehicle, is a lemon…” Quotes for writers (and people who like quotes)

We writers aren’t sculpting in DNA, or even clay or mud, but words, sentences, paragraphs, syntax, voice; materials issued by tongue or fingertips but which upon release dissolve into the … Continue reading

February 23, 2014 · 5 Comments

Quotes for Writers (and people who like quotes) Philip Pullman on what back to basics really means

We often hear politicians talks about the basics, by which they mean the ability to spell correctly and write grammatically. But that’s not basic at all. You can correct that … Continue reading

October 20, 2013 · 4 Comments

Quotes for Writers and people who like quotes STEPHEN KING on why bad writing is good for you

What could be more encouraging to the struggling writer than to realize his/her work is unquestionably better than that of someone who actually got paid for his/her stuff? One learns … Continue reading

June 30, 2013 · Leave a comment

PRADA international short story competition

Prada – the high fashion luxury brand based in Milan – is running an international short story contest with Italian publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Editore. The theme is wide: “views of … Continue reading

June 6, 2013 · 3 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

K is for KENNING

I wasn’t familiar with this word before (except in its Scots form to ken, to know). It has its origins in the Old Norse phrase kenna eitt við, which means … Continue reading

April 12, 2013 · Leave a comment


JUSTIFIED is the word given to text where both sides are nice and neat and aligned. It is achieved by adjusting the space between words which can look ugly if … Continue reading

April 11, 2013 · 1 Comment


All from the 1995 film Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead. BOAT DRINKS was the good luck phrase used by a group of ex gangsters when they said … Continue reading

April 2, 2013 · 13 Comments

SAFARI FRIDAY searching the web for writers and readers WORLD WIDE WORDS

Safari = Swahili for long journey. I am on the look out for anything accessible from a keyboard that educates, entertains, intrigues, raises a smile. Anything that helps a reader … Continue reading

March 29, 2013 · Leave a comment