Summer Break, Though Still At Home

I’m taking a short summer break from blogging and other online activities.  Recently, I sent out my third novel, and now I have little to do in terms of writing.   I’m concentrating on piano playing and languages.  Just started Russian.  Very difficult.

Back soon.


Giving Up Smoking – Two Years On

I’m a day away from an important anniversary – two years of not smoking. That means complete cessation, no secret cigarettes or drags of cigarettes. As I sometimes tell people, yes, I smoke, but only in my dreams. A pretty unpleasant dream that occurs from time to time.

I took up smoking in my early teens and continued for years – I’m reluctant to give an exact figure.  I smoked during a serious bout of pneumonia and several of flu. In fact, I couldn’t envisage the thought of never having a cigarette again.

Then, two years ago, I went on a special quit-smoking program that required total abstinence from any tobacco product. Everyone had to undergo regular breath tests to see if they’d stuck to the rules.  We also received Nicorette prescriptions to help with withdrawal symptoms, and admittedly I do use small doses of Nicorette now.  People have strong opinions on the use of Nicorette,(for and against), but I personally don’t see how Nicorette can carry any of the risks associated with smoking.  Pretty safe, in my opinion.

Which brings me to the next point. A person has to have a compelling reason to give up smoking.  For me, health mattered more than anything else, especially when a nurse measured my true lung age and found I had the lung function of a seventy-five year old!  Decades out, but horrifying, and this give me the determination to stop smoking and never touch another cigarette.  Since then, the lung function has increased substantially – in fact, after three months of not smoking – and I lost my long-term morning cough after just twenty-four hours of stopping. Pretty impressive.


The Pros and Cons of Going Indie…

Indie…independent publishing.  Indie bands.

In the last few years, the Indie publishing has really taken place as digital technology advances and gets more sophisticated.  But what are the pros and cons of going Indie?

The pros:

Relatively easy to get into motion

Relatively cheap

The artist has full control


The cons:

Hard to market

Huge competition

Requires expertise in IT

Show, Don’t Tell – When This Might Not Apply

Writing instructors frequently urge their students to show, not tell.  Showing deals with sensory input as experienced through the eyes of the viewpoint character.  Showing leaves a lot of the work to the reader. Guessing a character’s background from the way they speak.  Sensing tension or danger from subtle hints in the story or, alternatively, from the acceleration of events part of the way through a story.

Telling, on other hand, is obvious.  The writer spells out the details.  No room left for the imagination.

But should an author always show rather than tell?   Possibly not.

For instance:

  • Sometimes, a chunk of information is so crucial that the story wouldn’t work without it.  Simply using dialogue to cover this might not work.  Sometimes, better just to outline the facts as briefly as possible.
  • A character pays a return visit to a place that has played a significant role in their life.  Short chunks of background information about some past major event connected with the place might deepen the immediacy in the present. 
  • Lots of dramatics events, one following another.  I think taking time out and bringing the reader up to date with a short summary of what’s happened can help calm the pace.

Just a few of my thoughts.