I’ll be at the Blackheath Halls in London on March 12 to give an audio-visual talk about The Killing, the character of Sarah Lund, and my thoughts about the series and its adaptation to books. Some clips from the series will be included too in order to illustrate a few points (and make it not the usual author-yaks-about-his-new-book act).
This will be based upon two similar talks to be given at Nordicana on February 1 and 2 — more details on them later when the full schedule, which will include the launch of the book of The Killing III, is finalised.
Here are two wonderful little tricks for making sure you make the most of that all-important revision process. The first is to put a status mark on each document in your book. There are presets for the status feature you’ll find in the Inspector. But you can add your own. Just choose the edit option in the status dropdown.
It’s amazing the things that people argue about on the internet. Here’s a typically spot-on review of the last Dan Brown book by Clive James in Prospect Magazine. In it James cites the following criticism of Brown’s prose…
Dr Sienna Brown, described as a “pretty, young woman”, in keeping with Dan Brown’s gift for inserting the fatal extra comma that he or one of his editors believes to be a sign of literacy.
Ah, commas. Awkward little things. We’re all guilty of overusing them sometimes. Me included. I now include a ‘get the commas’ routine as part of every revision process, though I doubt I catch every one.
What fascinates me here though is the argument that ensues in the comments on that article. This begins with someone pointing out…
I think Brown got his comma right in “pretty, young woman.” Like that, it means a woman who is both young and pretty. No comma (a “pretty young woman”) and it would have been a woman who was only approximately young.
And it descends into some pretty heated bickering after that. I’m not going to try to rule on this argument. I’m not qualified. If I wanted to use the phrase I’d write ‘pretty young woman’ because it seems to me to make more sense. ‘Young woman’ is a connected idea. You wouldn’t write ‘distracted, young woman’. So why throw in that extra comma for the adjective ‘pretty’?
There’s a tip there, by the way. When faced with a dilemma it’s often worthwhile to think of it from a different perspective. Ask yourself ‘what would I do if I changed a word or two here?’
An awful lot of writing questions can be answered by common sense, a little work and a determination not to write ugly. Honest.
I’ve been weighed down with other matters (that thing called ‘work’) of late and not posted much here. Now I’ve finally managed to catch up with stats and links and all the stuff that tells you what people are looking for.
The answer’s one word: Scrivener. Hard to believe no one had heard of Keith Blount’s wonderful writing invention a few years ago. Now it seems to be the mainstream app for lots of creative writers and much else besides.
This blog has a fair number of Scrivener posts which you can browse through the tag here.
But to start off newcomers I thought I’d list what I think are my top five Scrivener tips about novel-writing with the app (in no particular order and please note some may be Mac-only).
- The Unplaced Scene folder
- Four keyboard shortcuts to remember
- A quick way to find your characters in scenes.
- Creating a story bible
- Counting scenes in a chapter
And don’t forget I’ve a free Scrivener template to accompany Writing A Novel With Scrivener too (not that you need the ebook to use it).