Insta Bellbird

Who knew Instagram could be such a useful platform for a writer/editor? For a long time I discounted it, thinking that I was a words and ideas person, not a pictures person. But eventually, with the help of my daughter, I succumbed. And I’ve been surprised at how useful and interesting it has been. I […]

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Writing tips: come and get ’em

I’ve just added a new string to my bow: as part of my business I now offer a Writing Advice service as well as proofreading, editing and writing assistance. Check out the services I offer here. This came about because in the course of proofreading and editing book manuscripts and other documents, I found I was spending […]

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Show, don’t tell

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” This quote by Chekhov may be familiar to some of you. It encapsulates perfectly one of the rules of good fiction writing: Show, don’t tell. Even my eight-year-old daughter knows what it means – they’re taught it at school. […]

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Show Business for Shy People

Lee Child once said that “writing is show business for shy people”. This quote resonates with me, particularly at the moment, as I am performing in The Phantom of the Opera at the famous Civic Theatre in Auckland. I’ve been doing musical theatre for many years, but a year or two ago I pulled back from […]

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The Book Exchange

I’ve achieved some rather major literary goals this year, and last night I celebrated with two lovely women. There’s me in the middle. (Those holes in my top are a design feature, not a result of drunken undressing in the dark. I wish.) On the right is Joanna, and to the left is Sara: the […]

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How to Avoid Huge Ships

I want to share with you a marvellous book I was gifted earlier this year. I’m the first to admit I am a little anally retentive. That’s one of the reasons being a proofreader is the perfect profession for me – I love finding mistakes and correcting them. (Friends and acquaintances reading this: you may now scrape […]

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10 things I learned from writing a novel

After six years, I have a manuscript. It’s not perfect. I have no doubt that a professional assessment will highlight a number of areas I still need to work on. But I’ve got a complete story, and I love it. The last few years have been quite a ride. Here are ten things I have […]

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It Is Finished

Well, well, well. What could that intriguing pile of paper be? Looks like a book manuscript to me. Looks like the blood, sweat and tears of 6 long years poured out on 187 pristine white pages and printed off today. It looks like the finished* manuscript of my first novel. Excuse me while I pop […]

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Why good grammar matters

“Sticklers Unite!” is the rallying cry from Lynne Truss in her #1 New York Times bestseller for grammar nerds, Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. I’m a stickler and proud of it. And not a closeted one, either. My profession—proofreader, editor and writer—is just a tiny giveaway, for a start. Then […]

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The Best Writing Advice I Ever Received

I’ve had absolutely no time to look at my novel lately. That’s what comes from starting a new business. (For those of you new to this blog, I have my own proofreading, editing and writing business. Check me out at http://www.bellbirdwords.com.) I’m so busy proofreading, editing and writing other people’s material that I have no time to do the same […]

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