Nuts and Allergies

people talking about nutsDo you have nuts?

I saw this sign outside a restaurant recently:

Please advise us if you have nuts and other allergies”.

At first glance they’re talking about two distinctly separate subjects: nuts and allergies. As if they’re expecting you to take the nuts with you to the restaurant and tell them you’ve got them.

Are you allergic to anything?

I suppose it is obvious that this sign should have read: Continue reading

Show, Don’t Tell – Writing On The Right Side Of The Brain


negative_space.1There is a book entitled, ‘The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’, which teaches you to see in a different way.

Where drawing is concerned we often draw what we think we see (left brain) rather than what we can actually see (right brain).

For example, one of the exercises asks you to draw the spaces around and between the object you want to draw (negative space) rather than trying to draw the thing itself.

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The Happy Benefits of Writing

Image - Happy Benefits of writingIt’s not just readers who benefit from a good story.

We writers can too apparently.

There is a fascinating article on the New York Times Blog about research carried out on people through expressive writing (or life-story writing).

It may sound like self-help nonsense, but research suggests the effects are real.

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Write what you know – debunking the myth

If you keep up with any writing advice on social media, or even in books about writing, you’re bound to have seen the advice, ‘Write what you know.’

It implies you should only write about stuff that you know about or have experienced.

Let’s get one thing straight – you already know a great deal. Not necessarily what it’s like to be an astronaut or a potholer but there are things you can tap into that will enable you to write about such things. Continue reading

Write small for a big effect

If I told you that six-thousand people died in an earthquake, how would you feel? Pretty shocked I’m sure.

Have you ever felt numbed to tragedies in the world because you can’t comprehend what is happening on the global scale? That’s the point where you turn the TV off because you feel overloaded with information. When it’s six-thousand people you have no idea what each person suffered.

Make it personal

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Possessive Apostrophe

An apostrophe used to show possession of something to someone can be a complicated thing. Do not confuse a possessive apostrophe with one used for a contraction of two words.

For clarity you should always consult a good style guide, such as New Hart’s Rules: The Oxford Style Guide or The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.

If you are submitting work to a publisher it is advisable to ask for their own house style as some of the examples in this article may differ from one publisher to another.

Show possession to one person or thing (singular noun)

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Homophones: Sound-Alike Words – Whose and Who’s

Who’s versus Whose?

Homophones are sound-alike words. They are spelt differently but sound the same.

Each word has a distinct meaning. If in doubt consult your dictionary or style book. A good proofreader will pick up mistakes such as these but it’s best to get it right in the first place.

So, when do you use who’s and when do you use whose and how do you remember which is which? Continue reading