Today’s Recommended Resource

I’ve just completed reading the summary and analysis of one of my much-loved books: The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham – on LitCharts website. The summary and analysis, which sit intelligently side by side on the same page, are thorough, concise, and enlightening.

For an in-depth summary and analysis of your favourite works of literature, visit LitCharts via the link below.

If you can’t find your favourite title put in a request on their site!

My Hibiscus Tree- Wisdom Diaries

The most beautiful and poignant blog I’ve read this year. An ode to the spirit of trees.

Beyond... A Journey Within

Published in New York Spirit


My childhood hopped in my grandparents’ garden. The entry gate of the house was arched with fragrant white jasmine and pink Rangoon creeper flowers that curtained half of the outer wall. It was an identity for the house as there were no assigned numbers on that small street comprising of fifteen houses at that time. “That flower vine house”.

The small flowerbed inside had flowers, herbs, succulents and vegetables as per the season. In spring, it was full of colorful flowers that had the power to mesmerize anyone who saw it. There was a guava tree, Poinciana tree and a red hibiscus tree. I adored the hibiscus tree. So did the squirrels, bees, hornets, hummingbirds, sparrows and butterflies. I played games around him, talked to him and adorned him with lights on Diwali. He was the best friend amongst other plant friends. I used to…

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Five tips for writing good prose

Read this great blog from Roz Morris, and develop your ‘literary ear’.


Nail Your Novel

How do we learn to write good prose? Indeed, what is it? How do we develop our use of language, play our literary instrument with more elan and flair?

We were probably all encouraged at school to use difficult words instead of simple ones. I see plenty of work that still seems in thrall to that, thinking that ‘printable writing’ must mean to use the thesaurus as often as possible.

Now I’ll happily use a thesaurus to find the bon mot that’s slipped my mind. But we’ve all seen writing that waxes far too lyrical, looks self-conscious and overdone.

The other huge sin is tortuous obfuscation, as if the writer is trying to prove they are clever. Just for a giggle, look at this example in The Philosophy and Literature Bad Writing Contest. Here’s a taster:

If, for a while, the ruse of desire is calculable for the uses…

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The first draft is done and Formations as a title has given way to Becoming.

I have a soggy feeling in the pit of my stomach that, instead of writing a novel, all I’m doing is searching for a word that describes the journey of every Earthling on the planet.

According to the first draft, here is the novel in a nutshell. I’m not a designer – oh, you already got that, okay – but this attempt helped me to focus on Bay’s essential story, and to remind me that she’s not alone.

Becoming Nutshell

From Breaking Bread to Formations

The title of my… I hesitate to call it a novel. Work in Progress could mean anything. We Earthlings are Works in Progress. It’s more like the first draft of an Un-nuanced Laundry List of Philosophical Ideas Hung On An Uncertain and Confusing Outline That Only Focuses on the Main Character’s Tortuous Arc Over a Meaningless Journey That… God, I’m bored.

Well. It seems that the Inner Saboteur and the Evil Critic have come out to play today. If anyone has – let’s say – a leaf-blower out there, perhaps you would be kind enough to distract them while I tiptoe over here, open this heavy door that leads to their private quarters – then if you could blow them over here… excellent, thank you! *Sound of heavy metal door crashing behind them, and lock being set to: “And Stay In There!”*

This Opus – stop laughing in there – has been developing and changing for a couple of years. I was beginning to panic that the novel would never come in spitting distance of growing into a first draft.

Things I’m learning:

  • Panic stifles creativity and should be invited to join Inner Saboteur and Evil Critic in their sound-proofed (forgot to add that before) private quarters.
  • Reading too many ‘How To Write’ books eventually leads to adding items to that growing internal distractor list headed: Brilliant Ways to Procrastinate.
  • Slavishly following the outline/structure/beat sheet formulae of other wonderful best-selling authors (even when they tell you that they are simply showing the methods that have worked/still work for them) restricts one’s own cognitive and creative processes.
  • We all tell stories, everyday, to ourselves and others as we try to understand the whys and wherefores of the life and times in which we, as works as progress, search for meaningful answers to all our myriad questions.
  • Questions asked by other writers online, in writers’ groups, are enormously useful. If another writer is kind enough to ask for clarification on a point/idea raised in one of our posts, it helps to clarify and develop that point or idea. It helps with that process of looking for ‘holes’ in one’s writing. Sometimes, I don’t know what’s missing (it’s all there in my head!); a question helps me to get important information, that the reader needs to know, out of my head and onto the page.

The new title for the Opus – you heard me – has changed from Breaking Bread to Formations; from breaking something to forming something.

That feels suspiciously like progress.

P.S. Thanks, my leaf-blowing friend, Lisa, link below, for helping me today with those disruptive antagonists – and for inspiring me to start blogging again.