Posted on Oct 18, 2017 in blog | No Comments

  With red suns by day, dark nights looming and a frenzy of fake blood and drunken zombies promised for Halloween, it seems like a good time to go gothic. Ghost stories, horror movies, thrillers and crime fiction need twists, turns and tension. In fact almost any genre, any narrative needs tension so here are […]

How Much Truth Do We Need?

Posted on Jul 13, 2017 in blog | No Comments

Fiction writers are always facing the question of how factual we need to be, how much should we respect the actuality, as Alan Clark termed it so memorably.  Do we, for example, refer to real life celebrities in our work or do we employ sound-alike names or even resort to the coy dash favoured by […]

Their Finest: Passing the Bechdel Test

Posted on Apr 22, 2017 in blog | No Comments

Based on Lissa Evan’s novel Their Finest Hour and a Half and directed by Lone Scherfig, this film is delightfully feel-good nostalgia with just enough clear-sighted realism to save it from schmaltz. Bill Nighy’s brilliantly louche portrayal of an ageing actor, downgraded from romantic lead to drunken old sea salt, provides the laughs, but the […]

Easter: Time for a Writer’s Rebirth and Redemption

Posted on Apr 13, 2017 in blog | No Comments

Easter seems much nicer than Christmas to me with its pagan emphasis on bunnies, bonnets and chocolates. It takes place just as the weather perks up and the birdies start their flirty chirping among the early blossoms. The austerity and self-sacrifice of Lent is over for those of us who renounced box sets and Haagen […]

Like Language just changes soooh much! Annoying new ways with words

Posted on Mar 7, 2017 in blog | No Comments

“So going forward,” said my Chalk colleague Jo at our last meeting, “you could like really rock a new blog.” I almost snapped my pencil in half. Then I noticed the twinkle in Jo’s eye. “Like something on new ways of speaking that irk the over-forties, you know?” Jo’s voice rose in an inquiring Australian […]