Writer T. James' Exploration of Words, on the Internet.

Tag: writing (page 1 of 2)

Dear Social Justice Activist: One Writer’s Thoughts

(Click for origin & fair use.)

(Click for origin & fair use.)

If you’re a social justice activist and we’ve been having an exchange on social media, it’s probably ended in a number of ways. If you’re reading this then you’ve not immediately labelled me a variant of misogynist/bigot/racist/homophobe and blocked me. I applaud you for that and being more open to dialogue than some.

I’ll limit this response to one possible context: you’ve told me that I should read more before I reply to you or express an opinion on our topic of discussion. This is usually based on one of two assumptions:

1. I hold the opinions I do because I am ignorant of the context/issues involved and if I simply read more I would see the world and the topics discussed as you do. Because, what reasonable, caring, intelligent person could do otherwise?

2. You haven’t quite worked out where I am coming from and are one step away from labelling me a misogynist/bigot/racist/homophobe at worst, or a cold-hearted, privileged, white he-devil socialised into prejudice and hatred of women and minorities by the colonial patriarchy. One slip, misunderstanding, or inconvenient fact will, of course, see me blocked. Disparaging comments about me may, or may not, be exchanged about me behind my back with others sharing your world-view, after-the-fact.

If you’re an SJA and have read this far, count me impressed. I’d like to offer a third possibility: I am not completely ignorant or uncaring regarding social and economic disadvantage facing some individuals and sections of society because their life circumstances are less favourable than some of mine. Nor am I a vile person without morals or an ethical/ideological framework through which I perceive the world and act. It’s just my viewpoints and beliefs differ to yours. Continue reading

Review: Grammarly Premium, Grammar Checker

 Interesting Image of a Very Angry Grandmother‘You’re never going to meet my standards, little boy.’

First, a confession:  in order to write this review, Grammarly Inc. provided me with a free upgrade to a premium account. However, I remain unbiased for three reasons:

  1. When I attempted to use Grammarly Premium over a year ago to help proofread my novel, I gave up on it. I’m only now revisiting the software and it has a lot to prove.
  2. I’m not the kind of person that can be bought with a freebie.
  3. It’s taken me so long to get around to this review, my year’s free upgrade ended halfway through writing it. Luckily, I finished the Premium testing last week, but this review has only been checked by Grammarly Basic. (After reading my prose, you may decide Grammarly Premium is an essential purchase after all.) ;)


As one of its most established players, Grammarly is the Old Dear of the automated grammar checking business and is used by students, legal eagles, and writers. I wanted to find out whether it was impossible to teach the premium edition to suck eggs or whether she’s an awkward ol’baggage only fit to bury. Continue reading

Three Unlikely Members of the Elite Group Known as “Writers”

Today I am hosting three writers as part of Michael Brookes’ Elite: Dangerous author interview series for Frontier. Michael has kindly given me permission to use his interview questions for the sake of consistency, but when I told him who the three writers were and asked if he wanted to host their interviews on his blog he muttered something about, “… unprofessional,” and, “… inappropriate,” and, “… a nightmare for Frontier’s PR department.” Then he said, “No!” quite emphatically.

So, going boldly where no one has gone before, let me introduce my three guest writers who are competing for the Elite: Dangerous game’s writer’s pack to help it to reach its Kickstarter funding goal. Just click on their pictures for their bios:

Dee Pression

Dee Pression

May Nia

May Nia

Nic Histrion

Nic Histrion

1. Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?

Dee Pression: I don’t know why you’re asking. Well you’re probably just trying to be nice, but no one’s going to care about me, so you don’t have to bother.

Nic Histrion: I am a writer—of science fiction of the most sublime kind. I will dazzle and amaze. You can ignore these other two. I’m all you’ll ever need.

May Nia:




2. When did you first start playing Elite and why did you come to love it so much?

Dee Pression: I started playing Elite after waiting for what seemed like forever for the game to load from cassette in the olden days: I was young, naïve, and full of hope.

Then I kept ramming the space stations during docking. When I did dock, the prices of my goods were always higher than I’d bought them for. Pirates kept attacking me, even when I only had two cargo canisters of food on board my ship. The graphics were terrible—just lines—and the sound, don’t get me started on the sound. I never loved it. I just didn’t have any friends so I played Elite.

Nic Histrion: Played? I never played! I lived it and through me Élite lived. It and I were lovers. It seduced me with its graphics, and in return I pleasured it with caresses from my fingers.

May Nia:







3. Have you reached “Elite” status in game?

Dee Pression: I’ve never managed to achieve anything, so it was never worth trying. I was proud of reaching “mostly harmless”, even though it took me three years.

Nic Histrion: Reached Élite status? That implies I was anything less than the best. Élite is a state of mind, a state of being. Élite is everything I am, everything I do. And, Dahling, I mean everything. *winks*

May Nia:







4. What inspired you to start writing?

Dee Pression: Nothing inspires me. I just get so bored and writing is a little better than staring at the wall, or trying to cut my wrists, or taking those pills, or sitting in the car with the engine switched on. I can’t even get that right, they keep finding me.

Nic Histrion: What do you think? You tell me. There must be something about me you find fascinating—everybody does. How could I deprive the world of this? I was born to write, and the world was born to read me.

May Nia:






5. You’re gathering funding to secure the writer’s pledge on the Elite: Dangerous Kickstarter – how’s that going? And where can people go to support your effort?

Dee Pression: It’s not, going I mean. Stopped. Dead as a dodo. Kapput. Crapped out. Defunct. Busted. It’s stalled a third of the way there. I don’t know why I even tried. It was bound to fail from the start. Me? Raise thousands online? Everyone’s laughing at me, and who can blame them?

Nic Histrion: I am hurt, wounded by the core, that it has taken more than a day to raise a few thousand pounds. I despair for the future of gaming, literature, and humankind in general. I mean, isn’t it obvious what they are missing out on if this doesn’t get funded?

May Nia:





6. Do you have a story idea if you’re successful with the pledge? Can you tell us anything about it?

Dee Pression: No, because I’m not going to be successful because nothing ever good happens to me, so what’s the point in thinking of a plot for a story that won’t get backed, won’t get written, and so will never be read? I’ll be penniless, unknown and unacknowledged until I die—I just know it.

Nic Histrion: Ah… You would love me to share all my most intimate secrets, wouldn’t you? Naughty! *winks again*

May Nia:








7. Do you have any other writing that we can read?

Dee Pression: No. Writing is too much like hard work; in fact if I even think about writing I get a headache. I try to do as little as possible—everyone knows it just gives you arthritis, carpel tunnel syndrome, RSI, and migraines, not to mention psychosis and a loss of connection to reality. Who needs all that?!

Nic Histrion: I have worlds of words and a universe of beauty inside me, but I’m going to make you wait to read it, unless you’re nice to me… *raises a seductive eyebrow*

May Nia:





8. What makes the Elite universe so interesting to write a story in?

Dee Pression: Interesting? It’s set in space isn’t it? Space is empty, except for balls of rock and fire, and some gas and dust floating around in it. I know it’s big, but does that make it interesting? Just sounds like there is more of it to bore you, really.

Nic Histrion: I will make the Élite universe interesting! My main character will, of course, be based on me. What could be more interesting than following my adventures? They’ll be so much scandal: the romance and betrayal of star-crossed lovers intertwining against the backdrop of a beautiful of my fashioning. What reader could wish for more?

May Nia:




9. Why do you think you can write a great Elite story?

Dee Pression: When I’ve saved enough money, I’ll hire a ghost writer who can do the hard work for me. They graft and I get my name on the cover. Nobody is buying books these days anyway, so I might not bother.

Nic Histrion: Are you trying to wound me? I’m a sensitive soul, so you have to treat me gently! I refuse to debase myself by baring my soul to doubters. If you cannot see my talent, then you are a doubter too. *pouts*

May Nia:





10. Do you have anything else you’d like to share with us?

Nic Histrion: After your last question, no. Not until you apologise and make it up to me. You are going to apologise aren’t you? Because you know making it up to me will, well, you know it will be special, don’t you? *raises one eyebrow*

May Nia:




Dee Pression: What, like personal stuff so people can post it all over the internet and laugh at me behind my back? I don’t think so. I don’t like you, or your questions. Now leave me alone.


After reading their responses, I think Michael may have been right… but if you want to help a writer who is more serious about their own Kickstarter-funded Elite: Dangerous book, then please click the link below:

Out of the Darkness, An Elite: Dangerous book, by T. James

Procrastination: The Writer’s Disease. Is There A Cure?

So, I’ve finally been inspired for my new story. Have I made progress? Yes, some, but not as much as I could have done. Halfway through week one I contracted a serious case of procrastination—the writer’s equivalent of cooties. In fact, I doubt any conscientious keyboard-monkey will read this post for fear of catching it, but I hope some are brave enough because I also share the cure that worked for me. Continue reading

NEW EBOOK RELEASE: If Your Writing Sucks QUIT, by Faye Ling

For my sins I have been involved with this project for the last six months, and I am pleased to announce it is finally out. Working on this book with Faye has been a unique experience—one I invite readers to sample for themselves—the cover and the description say more than I ever could:


For readers, writers, and all lovers of books: this is an eBook with a deliciously dark sense of humour…

The writing guide “they” never wanted you to read. In If Your Writing Sucks QUIT Faye Ling stabs at the soft underbelly of the writing world. She casts her discerning eye over many of writing and publishing’s little darlings, before breaking their necks and casting them aside like flaccid rag dolls.

With her rapier wit and sardonic put-downs, Faye is cynicism incarnate—she is like no one you have ever read, and may be someone you wish you never had. Whether you laugh or cry will depend on what you’re made of—but however Faye moves you, reading this book will be an experience you will never forget.

* For readers and book-lovers, this eBook offers a peek into the hairy netherworld of writers, writing and publishing.
* For writers, Faye-as-your-guide will either be your clarion call-to-arms and the challenge you have to meet, or she will be the rock of reality that sinks your little dinghy of hope.

Read her and weep—you, your reading/writing, and your will to live may never be the same again.

Please Note: this tome contains over 85 quality colour illustrations and so may take a little longer than your average eBook to download. (Discounts will not be given to those reading in black and white.)

WARNING: You may come across the occasional use of colourful language and vividly descriptive prose.”

Continue reading

The Writer’s Essential Guide to Mobile Tech, Part One: Lose the Laptop.

Next week I’m on holiday, and this got me thinking… My online writing friends are an unusually mobile and outgoing lot; some of them like to travel, even when they don’t have to. As anyone knows, spending more time on social networks than penning words is essential for the serious writer. But when you are on-the-go, how do you keep writing and hooked up to the intravenous drip-feed of tweets, posts, and comments that we all need so desperately? Today’s interconnected technology would appear to provide the answer, but other’s experiences have found it wanting. In this post you will find the solution—innovation isn’t dead—read on and be amazed! Continue reading

Problems Writing Your Novel Or Story? Maybe A Little Logic Can Help…

So what do you do when your creativity goes to sleep? How do you respond when readers tell you that your character’s actions and speech are inconsistent and erratic? How do you smooth out those kinks in your plot? When your creativity implodes, rolls over and dies; or when it’s buzzing along so fast on turbo-charge that your characters morph and change faster than Play-Doh being pummelled by a hyperactive four-year-old; when your plot has more holes in it than a rusty cheese grater—it’s time to stop writing, give the right side of your brain a rest, and reach for your internal Mr Spock. Continue reading

Self-Publication: The Floodgates Aren’t Open Yet—But They Will Be, Soon.

Since I self-published my first eBook in March this year there has been around 200,000 books added to Amazon’s Kindle eBook store; that’s over 65,000 new titles per month. If my guess is correct, then this may only be the start and the floodgates have yet to open. Continue reading

Self-Censorship Vs. Creativity.

When a writer writes, should they play it safe and live comfortably in the knowledge that no one will be offended? Do they push their craft to the limits of their imagination, even if others hate what they do? Is there ever a valid reason for breaking with ‘good taste’? These are some of the questions I’ve been thinking about this week.

Last month I tried an experiment: I gave an opinionated, obnoxious and thoroughly unlovely character some of my blog space. Most blog posts that feature fictional characters are careful to let the reader know what is going on; in my blog posts I deliberately kept that fact hidden—instead I left some clues in these posts for readers to find. Some clues were discovered, some were not.

I received a wide range of responses: some thought it was clever and funny; others did not like it; still others felt as though it was a joke made at their expense. So my question is, as a writer, do I follow my creative whims or do I censor what I write to avoid offending people? Continue reading

SHOCKING TRUTH REVEALED: Faye Ling Is A Man! Characters Who Take On A Life Of Their Own…

A month ago I posted my first ever guest blogger Faye Ling, who brought with her her ‘special’ personality, way of expressing herself, and unique insights. But no matter how unique Faye is, the strangest thing about that blog post was that Faye isn’t a real person. How many of you this will actually be news to I don’t know, but after a few interesting email exchanges this week I thought I’d better put the record straight: Faye Ling is a man; in fact, Faye Ling is me.

Inspiration for a character can come from the strangest places.
Continue reading

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