Some Dos and Don’ts in Writing

I found this simple page of Some Dos and Don’ts in writing. Some of the things listed are common sense, but others may not be so well known.

However, one of them I didn’t understand at all and would appreciate some enlightenment. Maybe I’m not fully awake, although I should be it’s almost 1pm, or maybe my brain isn’t working, but the following means nothing to me. It’s complete gibberish.

Case: “There is perhaps no single word so freely resorted to as a trouble-saver,” says Gowers, “and consequently responsible for so much flabby writing.” Often you can do without it. There are many cases of it being unnecessary is better as It is often unnecessary. If it is the case that simply means If. It is not the case means It is not so.

Edit: OK, it’s starting to sink in now. This means less (words) is better.

Book Review: Midnight for Charlie Bone

Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Midnight for Charlie Bone (The Children of the Red King, Book 1) I bought books 1 and 2, brand new, for only $4 on sale, which I thought was a bargain.

First off, I have to admit that I bought these books because I thought (maybe I saw this on the internet somewhere, I’m not sure) that the story was similar to the Harry Potter books.

Yes, there is an 11 year old boy who has a magical “ability”. Yes, there is a special school for children with these abilities. Apart from that, the story is quite different. I had to push the Harry Potter thought out of my head and start thinking Charlie Bone, because wherever I got that idea…I was wrong…and it was wrong of me to continue reading with that thought in my head.

This was a slightly longer children’s book than normal, but it draw me in and captivated me from the beginning. I loved the characters and the setting. Although I never worked out when the story took place, it didn’t matter. It felt “up-to-date” and that was enough for me.

Reading this book showed me that whilst characters need to learn and grow throughout a story, their problems don’t have to be resolved completely. I think this is the main problem with my series. I tried to resolve all their problems and make the world perfect in book 1, which makes it difficult to undo all that hard work in book 2.

As I mentioned before, Midnight for Charlie Bone is the first book in a series. Although the immediate problem in the story was solved and the author gave the impression that everything was fine for the characters, it was quite obvious that it wasn’t and the very last line of the story confirmed this. However, I didn’t feel cheated and I don’t feel as if I have to read the next book (although I will, because I’ve already got it). So this story also showed me that it is possible to have stand alone books in a series, which is something I’ll be aiming for in my series. I never want my readers to feel like I’m conning them into buying more books, because I hate it when I feel that way.

Recommendation: A definite “yes”. Read this book.

Book Review: Secrets

Secrets by Jacqueline Wilson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m coming to the end of my two week holiday (I still haven’t managed to relax yet and I return to work on Monday), and I have managed to read several books. Three, in fact. And that is excellent for me.

This morning I woke up quite early. I wasn’t ready to face the day, but I couldn’t return to sleep so I decided to make myself a cup of tea and sit in bed and read.

Secrets by Jacqueline Wilson is the current book I’m reading. I had already reached the half way point last night and I sat in bed until 9.30 this morning (which is uncharacteristic for me) and finished the book.

Here’s the blurb:

Treasure and India are two girls with very different backgrounds. As an unlikely, but deep, friendship develops between them, they keep diaries, inspired by their heroine, Anne Frank. Soon the pages are filled with the details of their most serious secret ever.

In my opinion, the story started out a little slow. I like to get straight into the action, but the author took several chapters to set up the two characters – Treasure and India. The book is written in diary form – a chapter from each girl’s viewpoint. When the story finally started to unfold, I was completely hooked and the little things that I thought were just page fillers suddenly became important.

The book covers a number of “real” issues too, ie broken families, broken promises, aggressiveness, friendship and more. All these issues are handled well, and they certainly endear the characters to the reader. I was able to relate to the girls and their individual problems. I wanted to see how things would turn out, and to do that, I had to keep reading.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl is woven into the story. I won’t tell you how, because I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone wishing to read Secrets, but I did think this was well done too.

Recommendation: Yes, go out and get this book. You’ll enjoy it.