Sorry for my English, I’m English

I got a few books on grammar recently and have realised just how much I knew and how much I don’t know. It’s very good. It’s appalling.

I thought I had a good grasp on apostrophes, but I seem to have got confused on a point. When a name or noun ends in an s then there’s no need to put an s after the possesive apostrophe. I’d developed a little quirk from this misinterpretation, so instead of saying James’s I would say James’. Although maybe I’m right, and what I hear and read is wrong. Oh dear, I’m confused now.

And now I’ve discovered a little bit more of what to do with colons, semi-colons, dashes and hyphens I don’t know what to do with them I’ve been relying on commas, full stops and brackets in their place. I didn’t even know the difference between dashes and hyphens so all hyphens have been called dashes. And now I’m not sure if I’m constructing my sentences okay. What did they learn me in school? I ask you!

I often encounter people (non-English) that apologise for not speaking English well, which makes me laugh because, at times, I’d have to apologise about the same thing! Or even describe to their unbelieving ears that I know plenty of English people that speak and write worse. If you’ve learnt English as a second language you’re probably more familiar with Standard English than I am.

Never mind about Spanish or French, I should be ironing the kinks out of my English. I think I need to go back to school, so I can learn me to talk proper.

Background or Story?

That is the question!

What’s more important in fiction writing, the background or the story?

I have to confess that I find it much more interesting to build up a whole world, inventing places, peoples, religions, creatures and societies than I do writing the actual story, which can often seem laborious. So whilst writing a story I could easily get sidetracked into explaining the world which my characters are moving around in.

But that’s the challenge if I am to write a novel: how do I keep the story flowing and yet also introduce the context without interrupting the flow? The trick is to do it in little bits so that the reader can build up a fairly comprehensive picture and just keep the characters doing stuff and talking.

And if there’s so much information about the world that I can’t share it all in a novel I can always add it as an appendix a la Tolkein, or even write a special encyclopedia for it! lol


I was interested by this book. I went into the library and found the English section (mostly novels) and saw Erewhon. It had some very interesting ideas, two of which I shared recently in quotes. A man from England finds himself in an unknown land with an unknown civilisation: Erewhon (an anagram of Nowhere). But it doesn’t really follow his story; it’s more of a reflection on Erewhonian society, and underneath this is Samuel Butler’s satire of Victorian society.

If you want to read the book online then go here: Erewhon.