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 […]

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Dandelion Clocks

It’s nearly spring; my favourite time of year. I wrote this story after I had witnessed my precious cat Lucy being run over in front of me. I wanted to commemorate her in some way, and I also wanted to reflect on the immense power that throwaway words and small gestures can have, particularly when […]

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The Magic Thread

My last post, A Letter to my Daughter, got me thinking about the connection between parents and their children, and how it never truly breaks, even when tested by conflict or emotional damage or grief or fear or numerous other challenges – and even when either or both parties think it has been irreparably damaged. […]

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Never Too Late

After a difficult year during which I felt no creative impulses whatsoever, I have started work on my novel again, rewriting and editing my way through a second draft. It had been sitting in a drawer for over two years. I’m excited, if a little rusty. I feel very out of practice and I have […]

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Inaugural NZ National Writers’ Forum

Stuck in a room full of writers for an entire weekend? It would be some people’s idea of a nightmare. It was my idea of Heaven at the inaugural National Writers’ Forum in Auckland. The forum was the brainchild of the New Zealand Society of Authors (of which I’m a member). Sometimes inaugural events have […]

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Me and my big mouth

It’s interesting what you do if you just have to. I’ve been having some ongoing shoulder issues, so I’ve been learning some hard lessons about slowing down and adjusting my work habits. I won’t bore you with the details, but I had a steroid injection in my right shoulder on Monday and I’m having to rest it […]

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Choosing a Title

A short thought today on titles – specifically, choosing one for your story or novel or poem. Each time I start a new post here I am invited to fill in the “Title” section at the top. I used to struggle with this. I tried to come up with something creative and intriguing and clever, […]

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Show, don’t tell

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” This quote by Chekhov may be familiar to some of you. It encapsulates perfectly one of the rules of good fiction writing: Show, don’t tell. Even my eight-year-old daughter knows what it means – they’re taught it at school. […]

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A trio of poems

In honour of World Poetry Day (which was actually yesterday), I thought I would re-publish three of my own poems – poems that are dear to me in very different ways. The first I wrote for my daughter, the most precious thing in my life. It tries to capture those moments in the wee small hours […]

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Great new blog for book lovers

My dear friend Sara has just started a new blog, and it’s going to be fantastic. She and her dear friend, Joanna (whom I like very much but don’t know very well), interview each other about books they’ve been reading, then transcribe the interviews. What a fabulous idea! And why didn’t I think of it? […]

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