Daily Forest Walk Picture 2

Stuart Aken

Continuing to spread a bit of light and pleasure to those confined during the current crisis. See post 1, here, for an explanation.

This is the second post.

It’ll help others enjoy this bit of nature if readers here would spread the word with the ‘share’ buttons below. Let’s all do what we can for each other during this testing and trying time, please. Thank you.

An Old Road Now Resting.

How many iron-shod feet trod this once road?
In another century this way carried goods,
Transported people from village to town.
These verdant guardians then were
But dreams of what might be,
And the sloping valley walls
Lay raw from disgorged stone, coal, iron,
As the raucous grinds of industry
Made profit for the privileged few
Employment for the serving many.
But that was many decades past
And now the winding way bears
Only narrow pairs of wheels,

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Finding the #Write #Words? No. 20: New Hart’s Rules

Stuart Aken

Continuing the description of books on words and language listed in the introductory post, which you’ll find here.

Book 20: New Hart’s Rules:

Hardback, 464 pages. Subtitled, The Oxford Style Guide, it was first published in 2005 by Oxford University Press. Mine is the 2014 edition and I paid £14.99 for it. The book is a completely revised and enlarged version of the old ‘Hart’s Rules for Compositors and Readers’, which I reviewed here in post 16 of this series.

I bought it because, as a writer, I feel I owe my readers as complete a knowledge of the tools of my trade as I can manage. Much has changed in the worlds of publishing and writing since I acquired the older version of this invaluable volume.

The book begins with a detailed description of the ‘parts of a book’, which explains how a book is constructed. This relates…

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It’s Award Time! – The Liebster Award

The Classic Movie Muse

A few weeks ago Zoe from Hollywood Genes nominated me for the Liebster Award! Thank you so much, Zoe! The Liebster Award is a way to reach out, connect, and encourage each other in the blogging community.

In order to accept this award there are a few rules to follow, so without further delay let’s begin…

The rules for the Liebster Award:

  1. Thank the nominator in your award post.
  2. Place the award logo somewhere on your blog.
  3. You must state up to 11 facts about yourself.
  4. Complete the questions that your nominator provided.
  5. Nominate as many bloggers as you’d like (11 is the maximum).
  6. Ask your nominees a series of questions (11 is the maximum).

11 Facts about Myself:

  1. I watched GWTW as a teen so many times I practically have the movie memorized and can push a play button in my head to “watch it” with sound included.
  2. I…

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Writing A Book Blurb In 4 Easy Steps

I posted this the other day, but it didn’t function as advertised. So without further adieu here is K.M. Allan to explain all about the book blurb. One of these days I’m going to ask her what the K.M. stands for. I’m betting on Katherine Marie or Katherine Margaret.

K.M. Allan

Any writer who’s had to write a query or a synopsis for a submission knows how hard it can be.

Trying to boil the essence of your carefully crafted story to a few paragraphs, or a page seems like the hardest thing ever.

I’m here to tell you it’s not. And that’s because there’s a greater horror: a book blurb.

A book blurb, or the book jacket description, summarizes the best part of your book in only 150 words (yep! one hundred and fifty).

If you’re wondering how to do that and where to start, it involves penning multiple drafts, lots of cutting, losing your sanity, and planning your blurb with the help of these steps.

Writing A Book Blurb In 4 Easy Steps

Step 1:Add A Tag-Line

Open with one catchy line, a question, or a hook.

Step 2:Introduce Your Main Character

Put their name, age…

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4 Signs It’s Time To Dump Your Work In Progress

K.M. Allan

No writer starts a work in progress with the intention of not taking it all the way.

That first sentence is always created with every expectation you’ll type “The end”, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen.

Life sidelines you. A shiny new idea comes along. Or this idea is simply the one that gets away.

4 Signs It’s Time To Dump Your Work In Progress

1. There’s No Spark

Sure, you might have felt all the things when you first got your idea, maybe the excitement even carried over into penning the opening chapters, but now that spark is gone.

If you can’t even make it to the dreaded middle stretch of your book without at least a flicker of a spark, it’s time to consider this WIP isn’t going to work out.

2. Interest Has Waned

And not just a little interest—all the interest.

If the thought…

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#Brexit: A Sad Farewell to the EU.

A bit of emotion on England’s exit from the E.U by Stuart Aken

Stuart Aken

Sad news, but we, the UK, have now left the European Union. Probably the worst decision made in our long existence as a sort of democracy. Certainly not a time for celebration.

We’ll likely pay more for food, lose many manufacturing and service jobs, and reduce our influence on the world stage. As a member of the EU (pop. around 512 million) we had some influence on world affairs, but as a single nation (67 million) in a world with a population around 7,760,000,000, we represent significantly less than 1%. Who’s going to care what we think?

At a time when the world needs the greatest possible unity to fight the growing climate emergency and mass extinction, we’ve decided to abandon a group that at least had some clout to set against the idiocy of Trump. Seems like a form of suicide to me.

From my teens, I’ve considered myself…

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Why You Should Never Use the Google Translator by Anna Mocikat

Official Author Website of Ari Meghlen

Today I welcome author Anna Mocikat onto my blog, who is discusses just why you shouldn’t use Google Translator if you want to include any other language within your novel.

Big thanks to Anna for being today’s guest poster, please make sure to check out her links and details at the end of this post. 

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Finding the #Write #Words? No.1

This post was written by one of Britain’s greatest wordsmiths Stuart Aken. For the last few years he has taken us on a journey about words that are difficult to pronounce, misused, abused, or simply misunderstood. Of all the titles mentioned my favorite is “The Grouchy Grammarian”. He has used this title among others in search of “just the right word”. Take it away Prof. Higgins…

Stuart Aken

For a few years I’ve been posting about word choice here. It seems timely to let you know the sources for the information and ideas I’ve presented. Before I started writing seriously, which preceded mobile phones, personal computers, and even electronic typewriters, I developed an interest in words: a fascination for the huge variety of words available and the way in which the English Language has stolen from other languages to form a vocabulary capable of great subtlety. I then began to buy books that took word usage and choice as their topics.

Below, is a list of books I now own
on the subject; a small personal library. 36 titles are listed here. They range
in size from the petite softback ‘American English English American’, at 47 pages, to the weighty,
hardback, two-volume Shorter Oxford English Dictionary with its 3,743 pages. In
price, the cheapest was the free Reader’s…

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Should You Hire a Professional Editor?

If you write for a hobby or maybe a living (we should all be so lucky) read this article by Milly Schmidt. It took a lot of courage to write this. Can anyone offer some words of wisdom?

The Cat's Write

All self-published authors must face this question at some point in their publishing journey. I am no exception. I have toyed with the idea of simply going through a few beta reader rounds and utilizing a program like Grammarly premium before finishing off the process with a proofread from a professional.

I have also contemplated hiring a professional editor for every stage of the process – copy/line editing, structural editing, proofreading etc…

In the end, it comes down to budget.

How much professional editing can you afford?

I would bet that most writers (if they had the money) would jump at the chance of hiring an expert – you would be crazy not to. But what if you will never be able to afford a professional editor? Should you throw in the towel and return to submitting your manuscript into that void filled with silence and a litany of…

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First draft completed–86,655 words – Holy Cow!

I finished “Blue Cottage” a couple of weeks after my mother passed away. After she passed I will admit there was a period of time when I wanted to chuck the whole thing in the nearest garbage can. But my mum got a kick reading about Cassie Carter and Peter Christopher so I decided to soldier on. In order to improve it I enlisted the help of a friend. She suggested I collect all the chapters I published on WordPress, put them in chronological order from Chapter 1 to Chapter 13B, so I could better see the problem areas. After doing all that I discovered two things about my first draft. First it was 86,655 words long (single spaced) and secondly it was 291 pages long. Up to then I had no idea it was novel length.

To honour my parents, who both got a kick out of my stories since grade school, I’m going to write a second draft. I conducted an experiment when I was writing “Blue Cottage”. I usually try and do some sort of outline but “Blue Cottage” I decided to write to write by the seat of my pants. I found the experience mildly liberating but I soon found myself mired in a sea of details. Some people may be able to write by the seat of their pants but I can’t. I said to another friend this morning that writing without an outline is akin to Herman Melville writing Moby Dick completely without an outline.

I already know a number of things. The second draft will not appear on WordPress. I want this draft to be ready for a publisher. I think its a real loss that publishers will not touch anything that has appeared on-line. I also find this attitude puzzling because Andy Weir, author of the book “The Martian”, originally had “The Martian” on his web site long before he had a publishing deal.

Not only will there be an overall outline but there is going to be an outline for every single chapter. I don’t intend to make the mistake of having someone being 5’ 5” then two chapters later have them be 5’ 8”. I’m going to work on one chapter at a time meaning I won’t go to chapter two until I’m positive chapter 1 simply can’t any better. And if takes until doomsday to get story ready for publication I’ll wait. I’m not going anywhere. And there won’t be any of this chapter “13B” nonsense. All chapters will have numbers. To paraphrase actor Charlton Heston they’re going to have to pry this laptop out of my cold dead hands before I begin my final sleep.