In Defence of Clichés

I’ve got a confession.

I love clichés. I mean, I really love ’em. I know I’m not supposed to. I’ve heard it said over and over again. Clichés are bad. Delete all clichés in your writing. Clichés suck. Your writing sucks if it is full of clichés. It’s been said so often that it’s almost a…well…cliché.

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What makes an action morally wrong?

It’s the intent of an action that makes it morally wrong, rather than the consequences. 

That’s something I find myself pondering often (obviously in between more important 14796219847_2c79d52c11_bponderings such as “what’s for dinner?” and “Is it nap time yet?”). When does a neutral action become a morally bad one? At its time of conception with the intention or at its conclusion with its consequences? Or even somewhere in the middle? It’s something Roy and I debate quite often too. Whilst he’s firmly on the consequences end of things, I tend to be swayed more by the notion of intention – and not just because being on opposite ends of the spectrum engenders a better debate.

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Audiobooks: Do They ‘Count’?

I’ve never really seen the appeal of audiobooks. Why sit and listen  to something when you could be reading instead? It didn’t make any sense to me, but then neither do other hobbies like…you know…anything that involves moving or going out or talking to real-live people. What’s more, I’d get even more pickled when people say that they’ve ‘read’ so-and-so book as an audiobook. You didn’t read it then, did youI’d quietly ask (more than quietly – I’d ask in silence). I never thought there was anything wrong with audiobooks of course. If you enjoy listening to books, go for it – why not? But it’s not reading is it? It’s listening. Saying you’ve ‘read’ an audiobook is like saying you ‘read’ the movie version, right?

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Sir Pratchett and A Bellyful of Laughs

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Today is Sir Terry Pratchett’s birthday. He would have been 68. That’s not quite a grand old age, but he made the most of his short years. He wrote over 70 novels, in which he skilfully entwined fantasy and humour, and all the while, he made commentary on society and references to all levels of culture almost without you realising.

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Should You Encourage Kids to Follow Their Dreams?

I was talking to a group of authorly friends the other day and the topic of kids came up. One of my friends said that when she was young, she told people that she wanted to be an author but she didn’t get a good reaction. She was, in essence, shot down and told that she needed to live in the ‘real’ world. So that’s what she did for many years. It was only as an adult, many years later, that she realised that she should be following her passion of writing – and that’s exactly what she does now (she’s bloomin’ good at it too).

My first reaction to what she said was “that’s terrible,” and I still stand by that reaction, but the whole conversation got me thinking (and that’s dangerous, I know). Whilst having your dreams shot down completely is not good, is the alternative any better?

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Weekend Edition – Writing is My “Real” Job

This is a great inspirational post. I think that now, after a long while and a whole life change (giving up my job and moving to France), I’m finally starting to say ‘writer’ when people ask me my job!

Hi, by the way. I’m Riley, and I’m a writer 😉 What do you do?

Live to Write - Write to Live

“Real” is overrated.

pin opinion and perspectiveWhen someone asks what you do, how do you answer? Does the label “writer” trip lightly off the tip of your tongue, or do you keep that identity to yourself and instead talk about your day job? It seems like a small thing, but how we “label” ourselves  – to others and in our own minds – has a big impact on what we believe about ourselves and how we behave.

I actually do make my living as a writer, but the writing that pays my bills is not, in my estimation, “real” writing. When asked what I “do,” I usually say that I’m a messaging strategist and content marketer (and, then I have to explain what the heck that means). Even after nearly a decade of stringing one word after another for cold, hard cash, I still hesitate to grant myself the honorary title of “writer.”…

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In Defence of the Oxford Comma

Oxford Comma 1I’m definitely nerdy, there are no two ways about it. I’ve always suspected I’m a bit of a geek too, but it was when I discovered I have an opinion (and a strong one too) on the Oxford comma that I realised it’s true. I’m a full blown grammar geek – and I’m not ashamed to say it! This is not a new realisation, you understand. I’ve cared about the Oxford comma for years now and I really do care. In every single thing I read, I notice whether the author uses the Oxford comma. I don’t judge either way (or not much, anyway), I simply observe whether that little grammatical tadpole is in place.

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When Reading Requires Headphones: The Rise of the Soundtracked Book

One of my favourite activities is being curled up on the sofa in front of the roaring fire as the rain patters on the window, reading an engrossing book. It’s ultimately a solitary activity. It’s ultimately a silent activity too, isn’t it? Perhaps not, claims Paul Cameron, CEO of BookTrack, an app that pairs books with soundtracks. He’s not the only one to think so either. Soundtracked books are on the rise and the BookTrack app has 2.5 million users worldwide. In the UK alone, usage of BookTrack has increased thirteen-fold since July this year[1]. As the ebook share in book sales dropped in 2015 (perhaps as a result of the glut of adult colouring books that took the world by storm), soundtracked books promise a new and inventive way for readers to enjoy a book, and an extra download (3)revenue stream for publishers. Surveys show that around ten per cent of people are willing to pay extra for interactive ebook features, after all[2]. The question is though, is it here to stay, or is just a fad?

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Should You ‘Write What You Know’?

Friday feels…destructive: should I really write what I know?

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Write what you know…write what you know. What would I write if I only wrote what I knew? I know how to burn toast (it’s how not to burn toast that I struggle with). I know how to trip up the stairs. I know how to stay up way past my bedtime reading (or writing) – and on that note, I know how to wake up dishevelled and late for work. Of course I know all the every-day stuff too: walking and talking, dressing and eating, peeing and…let’s not go there. Write what you know, ey?
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The Beautiful Blogger Award

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Well I had a pleasant surprise this week when I was nominated to take part in the Beautiful Blogger Award by Julie Haiselden, over at her blog. It’s an honour to be nominated and it put a great big smile on my face. And whilst we’re on the topic of jhbooksblog, it’s definitely worth checking out – it’s full of author musings and a gentle humour that’ll have you going back there time and again.

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Friday Feels…Destructive: To edit or not to edit – that is the real question!

 

There are so many ‘rules’ in life. Everywhere and anywhere: rules, rules, rules. Writing is no different. There are a lot of ‘rules’. I didn’t know this until long after I started writing but it appears that I’ve been missing a trick by ignoring the ‘rules’. Now that I know what they are though, I’m beginning to wonder whether they actually deserve to be rules, because rules need to come from some sort of firm basing, right? Right. So although I’m not as qualified as some (like Stephen King) to examine the rules of writing, I want to look through each of them and decide whether or not they are right for me. And hence begins a new series to this blog (a mini-series, if you will, a series within a series of Friday Feels’): Deconstructing the Writing Rules. I’d like to point out though that I am in no way editing these rules in relation to anyone else – if you find some wisdom in this series, then awesome, and if you can relate then that’s cool too but that’s not why I’m doing it. I’m not trying to tell anyone what the ‘rules’ should be but instead, I’m looking at the rules and deciding how they work for me.

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The Importance of Reviews

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I’ve written reviews of the books I read for many years now. My reasoning for leaving reviews was always so much simpler than it is now: I wrote them because I enjoyed writing them (and still do, for that matter)! Now though, things are a little different. As an indie author, I’m beginning to appreciate the power of a review. Reviews are much more influential than I ever really gave them credit for and actually, they are influential in ways that I would never have even thought of. I’ve read some great articles lately about why reviews are so important to indie authors (this one notwithstanding), and it’s been interesting reading. Reviews are great for lots of reasons.

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Announcement!

So this week, I released two short story collections on Amazon!  I haven’t had a chance to share the news until now but if you enjoy the short stories I share on my blog, you’ll love these collections – and they are a bargain at 99p each!  They are fully illustrated by artist Anna Eveleigh too!  You’ll recognise some of the stories whilst others are entirely exclusive.  Here’s a bit more information:

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777 Challenge: Tag, I’m It! Who’s Next?

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I’m not normally one to do these tagged challenges, I tend to ignore them as I do with chain letters and texts (I mean, really, does anyone really believe that if they send something on, they’ll become a millionaire next week?  Or if they don’t send it on, all their fingers and toes will fall off?).  This one though, this one intrigued me!  The idea is that you share a little bit of your work in progress (WIP) and then tag seven authors or bloggers to do the same, thereby sharing the love and introducing readers (and writers) to other authors and blogs.  I think it’s a great idea and really – what could go wrong?  (Well, apart from the fact that I’m not sure I know seven other authors who haven’t previously been tagged, but I’ll try my best!)

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Guest Post: Nathan Elward on Goals for Writers

Today, we’ve got a guest post from Nathan at Become the Monster: a self-help website based around goal setting, motivation, and becoming the person you want to become (be it a monster or not!)  It’s a great website that’s worth checking out!  He kindly agreed to write a post about goal setting and whilst he talks directly about setting goals as a writer, the principles can apply to anything.   
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Donating Books, and All That

WP_20150801_11_05_31_Pro[1]I belong to lots of online groups that are related to books and reading, and one topic that comes up again and again is buying books from charity shops.  I’m always surprised at how much misinformation is out there: charity shops don’t want any more books because they have too many, charity shops pulp 70% of the books that are donated, charity shops shouldn’t charge so much because they don’t have any overheads (and that last one really gets my goat).  There are lots of misconceptions about what happens to books when they are donated to a charity shop and whilst I can’t speak for all charity shops, I thought that writing about what happens to books in my shop may help to dispel some of those myths.  (And when I say ‘my shop’, I of course mean the nationwide charity retail shop of which I am manager.  I’m not going to give away the identity of said shop for privacy reasons, although I will not be saying anything negative, nor passing judgement, but merely explaining the process).

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