My dad and I have a game in which we look at a book (we’re allowed to touch it and sniff it too) and can tell you when it was published. My worst estimate was twenty years out one time but, on the whole, we can date it well within a decade. It’s a great party trick but anyone can do it with the right knowledge and a little practice. To help you out, here are five ways to tell the age of a book just by looking at it.
In my final year of high school, we were set a writing prompt: Shooting Stars. We could do whatever we liked with it as long as we had a story at the end with that title. Looking back, Mrs B. must have dreaded my essays. I never was one for taking things at face value and, needless to say, I dismissed out of hand the common classroom themes of wish fulfilment. That essay is finally coming of age this summer.
Joe the normal soon becomes Joe the Barbarian when he finds himself summoned to Muddle Earth and expected to be a brave hero. He has been summoned by Randalf the Wise, Muddle Earth’s leading Wizard (*only wizard) to slay ogres, wrestle dragons, and bravely confront villains.
Where the computer fails you, there are always editors and proofreaders. A good editor is a writer's best friend. With such good technology these days, do you actually need to be good at spelling and grammar to be a writer?
Ten books and a novella (so far) this year. Here's what I've been reading, but have I kept to my resolution to read better?
Reading is a joy. We read to learn, to relax, and to escape but we only have a limited amount of time. It can be so easy to feel guilty about abandoning a book part-way through but there are legitimate reasons to do so.
Someone keeps leaving cups of tea all over Maud’s house. And for some reason her cupboards are full of tinned peaches. It’s all very strange but she’s struggling to remember. One thing is certain though, her friend Elizabeth is missing and no matter what anyone says, Maud is going to find her.
'Write everyday!' It's one of the most famous pieces of writing advice. I make the case both ways but it's up to you to decide: Is writing every day right for you?
People really do call their children La-a, Fredriel is the new Legolas, and if you can't holler your protagonist's name from your garden gate, you might want to rethink it. Here's five things to ask when you're choosing names for your characters.
We all know life is a bundle of giggles. Here are 21 (perhaps a little comical) problems that writers face.