I’ve started a new blog at www.obscurehub.com.
I haven’t really been using this blog. I guess I’ve been too busy with other things, like my SciFi Ideas website. The new blog (Obscure Hub) will be used to link the various websites I’m creating, including SciFi Ideas, and chart their development. I might also use it to provide more writing advice.
I’ve also set up a new ‘business card’ site as a store-front for my writing services. You can see it at www.markballwriter.com.
Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you on one of my other websites.
1. Thou shalt ease thy way slowly into the day
Mornings are for checking thine emails, reading comical blog posts and personal grooming.
2. Thou shalt not observeth the sabbath. Sunday is just another working day
But thou shalt spend much of Sunday afternoon picking hairs out of thine keyboard and cleaning the crud from the underside of thine mouse.
3. Thou shalt drinketh large amounts of coffee
Blessed are those who invest in a cafetière.
4. Thou shalt adorn thy workspace with idols
Images of cartoon characters, toy dinosaurs and empty Pringles tubes.
5. Thou shalt resist the urge to watch daytime TV, sign into Facebook or masturbate
I was recently asked to read and review a novel by an amateur American science fiction writer. The book had been self-published, was riddled with serious grammatical errors and was clearly not ready to published. By the end of the third chapter, I’d had enough. After long deliberation, I decided not to review the book, as I neither wanted to endorse it nor insult the author. Instead, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the mistakes made by Author X, so as to help other writers avoid making the same mistakes.
1. Know the Correct Way to Structure Dialogue
This is basic stuff, and getting it wrong will make you look like a real numpty. Poorly structured dialogue can also cause serious confusion for your readers, making them lose interest pretty quickly. Continue reading
Today, I’ve been writing about how to make characters more distinctive, and thus avoid confusion in scenes with ‘heavy’ dialogue. You can read my article about ‘attributive character tags’ here.
As I’ve been using the tagline ‘writing, rewriting and editing, without the Oxford comma’, I thought it would be a good idea to explain what the Oxford comma is, for those who don’t understand the pretentious grammatical pun.
What Is the Oxford Comma?
When you see three things listed in the following manner – ‘writing, rewriting and editing’, you will sometimes see a comma before the “and”. This is known as the Oxford comma.
Here’s an example. ‘Children, geese, and sports personalities.’ (This is a list of things you should never talk to, make eye contact with or punch in the face.)
Who Uses the Oxford Comma and Why? Continue reading
So, I guess I should start by introducing myself and saying a little something about what I do. I know there’s an ‘About’ page for that kind of thing, but a blog has to start somewhere.
Don’t worry, I won’t be boring you with details of the private life of my cat; he doesn’t look like Hitler, and frankly he’s not all that interesting. No, this blog is purely for the purpose of promoting my services as a freelance writer.
I’ve been writing for a couple of years now – mainly web copy and the odd short story – ever since I left university and realised that I wasn’t going to become a famous novelist overnight (if ever). Of course, becoming a famous novelist usually requires writing at least one novel, but that’s beside the point.
All writers should have a blog, right? That’s what I’ve been repeatedly told, anyway, and I’ve finally given in to the public consensus. It’s like saying that all writers are self-indulgent attention seekers, and I can’t really argue with that. The same could be said of all bloggers too, so I guess writers and blogs go together like chalk and even more chalk. Just add water and you’ve got yourself a pointless slaked lime metaphor.
Or, as they say at wordpress.com, ‘hello world’.