Endings

Today I’d like to say a brief word about endings. We hear a lot about beginnings, and how difficult/important they are. “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” (Lao Tzu) “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” (Plato) “Every moment is a fresh beginning.” (T.S. Eliot) “For fucksake […]

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The most usual lie

I wrote this poem some years ago, but I have taken it out today and dusted it off, editing it here and there. I removed a whole verse and changed words and line structure and some punctuation. It feels more authentic now. Sometimes revisiting a piece reminds us how far we have come, and how […]

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Punctuation is SEXY (and using it properly will get you more dates online)

So I have a gripe. A grammarian gripe, if you will. A punctuation protestation. I’m pissed off. I’m aghast. I’m fed up. I’m THIS CLOSE to giving an unsuspecting passer-by a good slap. And you, lucky readers, are about to hear all about it. Read that sentence again. Take particular note of the plural: readers. […]

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Writing small

I posted this wonderful quote on my Instagram account today. (bellbirdwords). This is so important, and it’s an issue I help many of my clients with. It’s closely related to the “show, don’t tell” rule; another vital principle of good writing that I’m often reiterating to beginner writers. It’s tempting to think you have to […]

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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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