Throat Clearing

Today I want to suggest one way you can improve your short fiction. Stop clearing your throat. Throat clearing is what many writers do at the beginning of a short story. They set the scene. They ease us in. But as the name of the concept implies, much of it is an unnecessary and ineffectual prelude to the good…

Welcome to my new website

I've had a facelift! Welcome to my refreshed website, with a giant photo of me on it. (I paid a professional for that photo shoot, so I'm jolly well going to plaster the results wherever I can.) You'll notice a few changes to navigation: the menu of categories, plus a few other features, are at…

Left Brain, Right Brain – can you be an editor and a writer?

I’ve just launched a new Facebook page – one dedicated to my creative writing. It’s called Patricia A Bell, Author (@thebellbirdwrites). I've decided I need to separate my creative writing and publishing from my proofreading and editing business, and build my author platform. I used to write a blog post here and then post it…

Endings

Today I'd like to say a brief word about endings. We hear a lot about beginnings, and how difficult/important they are. "A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step." (Lao Tzu) "The beginning is the most important part of the work." (Plato) "Every moment is a fresh beginning." (T.S. Eliot) "For fucksake…

Punctuation is SEXY (and using it properly will get you more dates online)

So I have a gripe. A grammarian gripe, if you will. A punctuation protestation. I'm pissed off. I'm aghast. I'm fed up. I'm THIS CLOSE to giving an unsuspecting passer-by a good slap. And you, lucky readers, are about to hear all about it. Read that sentence again. Take particular note of the plural: readers.…

Writing small

I posted this wonderful quote on my Instagram account today. (bellbirdwords). This is so important, and it's an issue I help many of my clients with. It's closely related to the "show, don't tell" rule; another vital principle of good writing that I'm often reiterating to beginner writers. It's tempting to think you have to…