ProWritingAid Tutorial




ProWritingAid Tutorial by me.

So, I’ve been going on about ProWritingAid for the last few weeks and it’s because I love it so much. I just finished editing Legion with it and it saved me so much time and improved my writing so much. Many of my colleagues have already grabbed a copy for themselves, but I realise that making a purchase ($35 per year, although you get 1st month free) is difficult without seeing a product in action. Because I know how useful this tool will be to new and old writers alike, I have put together a video explaining some of the main tools in use on my Scrivener manuscript (Word and Google Docs plugins also included).

It really is fantastic for improving your sentence structure, word choice, and style. It has already improved me as a writer after just a few months (really wished I’d discovered it five years ago). Anyway, this is the first video tutorial I have ever done, so go easy on me in the comments.

Please know that the links at the bottom are affiliate links and I will get a small commission if you do end up buying a copy. If you don’t like that, no problem, I still recommend the program and all you need to do is google ‘Prowritingaid’ to get to the website without my affiliate link. Otherwise just click either of the two banners contained within this post.

Writing Improvement Software

UPDATE: ProWritingAid are currently offering a free ebook about editing. FYI, downloading it also comes with a hefty discount off the price of the software if you were considering getting it: http://prowritingaid.com/en/Landing/Ebook?afid=2379

Writing Improvement Software





Legion: Chapter 1





The room stank of death. A syrupy sweet odour melding with a brown, noxious rot. Sweat, blood, piss, and filth. It was all there. The blanket stench of the infirm.

Hospitals. If ever there were a place John Windsor loathed, it was hospitals. Prime Ministerial obligation was the only reason he inhabited one now, and the last time he had entered one voluntarily his granny Margaret gave in to the smoker’s curse and let lung cancer take her. He’d been twenty years old, but he remembered it as being the very last time he had cried. His Law degree completed not long after, he had begun his journey to the courtrooms, where emotion was a hindrance. Now, twenty years later he was the youngest Prime Minister of the 21st Century, the prospects of his own hospital stay still many years distant. Being faced with other people’s impending death was an unwelcome task, even if a necessary part of the job, and he was counting the minutes until he could leave.

A sycophantic nurse waddled over, a proud grin on her chubby face. No doubt she felt important, getting the job of shaking the PM’s hand, but the truth was she would be forgotten the moment he turned his back. Some people held such small ambition, yet he did not deny her the small moment of victory. Leaning forward, he paired the hearty handshake with a peck on the cheek that sent the woman giddy. He fought the urge to wipe his mouth on his sleeve afterwards.

The plump woman gushed. “We’re so glad to have you here, Prime Minister.”

John smiled, certain he could taste the woman’s sweat on his lips. “It’s my pleasure, Joan.” Good spot on the name badge. Plebs love it when you used their names. “It’s a wonderful job you’re doing here.”

“We do what we can. It’s a hard job, but so vital. We had our funding cut last-”

“Shall we take the tour?” said John, waving a hand towards the ward. Cramped tent cubicles filled it, and likely housed various dying occupants. So much money just to park the nearly dead. So inefficient.
“Oh yes, of course, the tour.” The nurse nodded. “This is the oncology ward where we care for stage 4 patients. I would introduce you to our guests, but most will be sleeping. Best not to disturb them.”

John nodded gravely although it was great news. He had held little desire to look upon the diseased. “Of course, Joan. You are an angel to these people.”

“Me? Oh no, I’m just one woman doing what she-”

“Shall we move on?”

“Yes, Prime Minister, of course. There is lots to see.”

And lots to see there was—a dreadful amount in fact. John endured over an hour of sweaty handshakes and prattling small talk. In the children’s ward, he had to go so far as to kiss a collection of clammy foreheads (his PR Secretary’s idea, not his). By the time John looped back around to where he had begun, exhaustion had set in. Two bodyguards accompanied him the entire time and looked just as bored as he was.

It was time to go. Continue Reading →

Should you self-publish in 2016?




Should you self-publish in 2016?

Yes, so long as you set realistic expectations. Wanting too much too fast will deflate your passion quicker than a monkey in your underwear drawer (I have no idea what that means).

So, what is my story of self-publishing? In early 2011 I was in my 5th or 6th year of being a mobile phone salesman in a shop. For the last few years, I had flittered between companies and into and out of management positions (I was never any good at cracking the whip). I was constantly stressed and miserable–mostly because I loathed what I did. Everyday, I grew more and more irritable with the public, and a little bit lazier with my efforts to sell to them. Every morning, I wanted to cry rather than go in and face another day. And don’t even get me started on the immoral area managers who expected results at any cost (Simon Little I am calling you out, bitch!) and felt it was right to treat staff like dirt. Phones4U went bust a couple of years ago and I can’t say I wasn’t a little pleased to see such a dishonest company fall. By that time I was already earning a shit load of cash doing what I love. Charlie, I was winning! Continue Reading →

Interviewed by fellow author, Ken Hughes


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Today I was interviewed by fellow author, Ken Hughes (www.kenhughesauthor.com). Here’s how the conversation went:

1. Let’s start at the beginning: how did you know you wanted the kinds of supernatural forces you use in your writing?

tumblr_nvnvq7PkG61t8w028o1_500Growing up, I loved the X-Files, theOuter Limits, Dawn of the Dead, Buffy and Angel, and lots of other horror/fantasy products. I was also reading the books of Stephen King and James Herbert. For some reason, these were the things I loved, and I wanted to live in these scary worlds all the time. By writing my own worlds I get to spend even more time in the place I love to be—fighting for my life against monsters and ghosts. Maybe I love the thrill, but I also love the themes of death, loss, and adversity ever-present within the horror genre.

2. Magic can open a whole set of doors (and pitfalls) in the plot of a story, with new opportunities for characters. How has your concept of the supernatural meshed with your plots?

I have a tendency to weave my plots and characters together, which makes things very complicated to keep in order. I am slowly building a multi-verse which will have characters jumping between worlds. It’s hard work. When the rules don’t apply then you have to restrict yourself or your plots will end up unravelling all over the place! Continue Reading →

Tools to write with…


Tools to write with…

grammar_o_892749I am not a classically trained writer, and I never finished University. If you want a teacher to tell you about the finer intricacies of grammar and style, I am not your man. Without sounding arrogant, however, I will state that I am a successful ‘popular’ author and that I make a good living selling books. Many of my ‘classically’ trained contemporaries do not.

My training came through the experience of jumping right in the deep end. My first novel, The Final Winter, succeeded because of its story. As an avid horror fan, I was able to create a plot that other horror fans enjoyed. Technically, though, it was a bit shoddy. I’ve since rewritten The Final Winter, and it is a better book today than it was then. The reason being that I am a better writer. I’ve learned from experience, feedback, and reviews. I’ve fixed some of my flaws and gotten better at putting forward my strengths. That doesn’t mean there are not things I still struggle with though.

Below are a few examples of the intricacies of writing that took me a long time to find peace with. These are all now a part of my established style, and not necessarily the most correct ways of doing things, but I have learned that a writer only needs to be consistent. Find your way of doing things and then stick to it. Readers won’t care as long as you do it your way.

So without further ado, here are a few tools to write with…

Continue Reading →