Correct English sentences are formed of some basic rules that start simple but allow a lot room for manoeuvre. Especially true of more complex, longer sentences, we have many options to rearrange what has been written, and to explore varieties in word order. This is useful if you want to restate something, to add some variety, or to add emphasis to particular points – all options when you want to present the same information, just a little…different. I decided to produce an article exploring basic word order in a more advanced way, originally aimed at foreign learners – but I think this has a place here, too, to show how a solid grasp of the fundamentals of English word order can offer a lot of room for creativity. So, here I’ve demonstrated how a single example sentence can be deconstructed and reconstructed. Over and over again… Continue reading
When describing speech in creative writing, it’s tempting to rely on simple verbs like “to say”, but while this can keep your text fairly neutral (and I would never advise consistently using different verbs just for variety’s sake), you may want a few alternatives to keep things interesting – and to add a bit more depth to described speech. The following article was a vocabulary building list that I produced for my English Lessons website, which seems pertinent to post here too. With, of course, some different examples. So if you’re looking for a range of different meanings and emotions when describing what someone is saying, try a few of these alternatives to the verb “to say”:
If you feel like you repeat yourself a lot, and that everything you can say has already been said, every word has already been heard, there are a few simple tricks that you can use to spruce up your use of the English. Life hacks, as the children are calling them these days. These tricks can be applied at all levels of learning, to ensure that you get new reactions to the things you say – and to make sure people are really listening to you. Or just to amuse yourself. So, here’s how to make English more exciting: Continue reading
I don’t know who’s responsible for the summary of Mad Max: Fury Road that’s currently loitering on the film’s IMDB page, but it’s got too many words and reads like someone’s trying too hard to sound dramatic. It may be that some random Joe has written this summary, someone with nothing to do with the film itself. Or it may be the production put it forward themselves. Whatever the case, it’s a good candidate for improving. So here’s a little challenge – can this descriptively over-the-top summary be improved simply by removing some words? Have a look below, and you decide: Continue reading
For the past few years, I’ve been trying to reconcile the prospect of a waking each morning to the indulgence of a Lindt chocolate Christmas treat with the expense of such an advent calendar. £6 seemed an awful lot considering it’s a piece of card with a moderately feeble gram value of chocolate content, especially as it’s really aimed at children and a grown man shouldn’t be partaking in such tomfoolery. But hey, this year I thought I’d go for it. And received a sharp, burning lesson in everything that is wrong with Christmas. Continue reading
A long time coming – I’m finally releasing my new novel, Gun City Bohemian. This urban fantasy charts the early days of a student romance, as layabout Will Carter falls for hard-working medic Lucy Shelling. And their new found bond inevitably leads to hellish conspiracies rising up around them. With an eminently readable narrative and a delicately complex plot, it bridges a rampant mix of genres, from romance, to thriller to horror. Continue reading
It’s a splendid the feeling, as an author, of seeing a pile of your books in print. Even more so when you know all those printed books are going to (hopefully…) good homes. Even when you plan on giving them all away.
This is a bundle of printed copies of my new book, The English Tenses Practical Grammar Guide – a short reference that covers the aspects of English, for English learners. With colourful pictures and examples. It’s a specialised book, for foreign students reaching towards fluency (and for the eminently curious) – but I think its nice matt cover and fantastic artwork would make it desirable on any bookshelf. Maybe I’m biased, though.
I did a print run of these books specifically to be given away – each of these copies will be offered as part of upcoming promotions over the next few months. If you’re interested in being in with a chance of winning yourself a copy, be sure to follow me on Goodreads for updates, or (important if you’re really interested in the world of learning English language!) join my English Lessons Brighton mailing list. Fun times ahead!
A while back, I took all of my most complete manuscripts and, for curiosities’ sake, tallied up the number of swearwords in each. I made an interesting discovery – that the new novels seemed to have increasingly higher number of swearwords, and, rather surprisingly, my most light-hearted and least violent novel had the second highest total. As I am now re-editing that novel, Gun City Bohemian, for publication, I thought it a prudent time to step back and ask why these patterns emerged – and to muse on appropriate levels of swearing in creative writing in general. Continue reading
Getting back to some gritty basic English grammar, it struck me that it would be useful to publish some of the tips from The English Tenses Practical Grammar Guide to help with general creative English writing. Though aimed at foreign learners of English, these fundamental building blocks of the language offer some handy tips for anyone trying to master the craft. For example, a solid understanding of the past perfect can be essential to building an effective narrative. The past perfect helps to create atmosphere, feeding new information into a narrative at crucial moments. Continue reading
Con artists and their elaborate cons are rife in fiction and film for obvious reasons. Tales of trickery and the sort of guile it takes to pull off a good con are clear fodder for suave characters, a bit of danger and a good old-fashioned twist in a story. And they’re rich in interesting vocabulary that is, of course, always exciting to pick apart. If you’re into that sort of thing. Part of what makes the language of cons so interesting is that a lot of it has filtered out of criminal, underground and travelling circus slang. Which are areas whose origins aren’t normally well documented. Continue reading