Write Once, Then Link

If I’ve got something to say, I write it and then link to that post: Write Once, Then Link.

Follow this link if you want to read more about the thinking behind these posts. If you’re digging around and looking for the topics I’ve covered, you’ll find every page is categorized and tagged with either or both person tags and content tags.

If you’re unsure how this tagging can help you, then read this article.

last updated: 6 September 2018

When you’re away from home or the office, it’s great to leave the computer behind. But what if you want, or need, to do the computer thing when you’re not in familiar surroundings? The most obvious answer is to drag a laptop along. I have a preferable option…

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Category: tools
Tags: mobile   bluetooth   keyboard   iA Writer   Dropbox   Word  

...continue reading: Computing On the Go

last updated: 6 September 2018

Five questions can reveal the core of a story. These five questions are my canary in the coal mine—unless I can answer the questions, then I don’t have a grasp on the story. And once I do have a grasp, then these questions are my map and guiding star to ensure that I focus on telling that story.

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Category: story
Tags: five questions   story kernel  

...continue reading: Five Questions

last updated: 6 September 2018

Any winner-takes-all election has a simple implication: If you can’t get your side elected, then you lose. If you lose, then there are consequences. This is neither good nor bad—it’s simply how it is and the same principles apply irrespective of which side of any party divide your loyalties lie.

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Category: politics
Tags: fundamentals  

...continue reading: Politics 101

last updated: 3 September 2018

Per-Olov Kindgren is a guitarist and arranger, who brings familiar material to a new instrument, taking advantage of the unique nature of the classical guitar to offer a new perspective to familiar melodies.

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Category: music
People: Per-Olov Kindgren   Tomaso Albinoni   Johann Pachelbel  
Tags: guitar   classical guitar   canon   adagio  

...continue reading: Per-Olov Kindgren

last updated: 2 September 2018

I use Pocket several times a day. For me, it’s a tool much like a video recorder…but for reading. It allows me to save articles so that I can read them at a time that suits me.

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Category: tools
Tags: Pocket   Instapaper  

...continue reading: Read It Later

last updated: 29 August 2018

Hugo uses a command-line interface so you need to type text to make things happen—there’s no graphical interface to click with a mouse. While the command line is scary, it does bring some flexibility. However, to use the program, you need to get familiar with the commands that Hugo will understand.

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Category: tools
Tags: Hugo   website   command line   batch file  

...continue reading: Hugo: Draft and Future

last updated: 24 August 2018

RSS is a tool which allows you to make your content widely available. You can publish once on your website and then see the content republished on many other sites and through other channels. This can give you access to a wider audience than you may be able to reach on your site alone.

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Category: tools
Tags: RSS   website   podcast   syndication  

...continue reading: Why RSS matters

last updated: 23 August 2018

Content marketing is a practice that has been employed for a long time but which has acquired enhanced utility in the internet age. Here’s a brief introduction and some thoughts about how you can adopt this simple, yet effective technique.

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Category: strategy
Tags: content marketing  

...continue reading: An Introduction to Content Marketing

last updated: 22 August 2018

When building a website, there are two main choices if you don’t want to hand code: a static site generator to create a static HTML site or a database-driven content management system. You can choose one or the other, not both. Here’s how I think the comparison comes out.

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...continue reading: Which to Choose: Static Site Generator vs Content Management System

last updated: 21 August 2018

If you offer a search tool on your website you probably think that it’s helpful. It’s not. It’s an abdication of responsibility on your part and is covering up a bigger problem with your website and how you think about the information you provide.

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Category: tools
Tags: search   website  

...continue reading: Reasons to Avoid Site Search

last updated: 10 July 2018

Have you been watching The Bridge? If you haven’t, here’s why I think you should…

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Category: books, tv, and movies
People: Sofia Helin   Kim Bodnia  
Tags: The Bridge  

...continue reading: The Bridge

last updated: 12 June 2018

For every book I have written there’s always something special for me as the author. Sometimes I’ve just tried something different and it worked and at other times it can be a character that I feel was realized especially well. Whatever the book, if it’s been published, you can be sure that in addition to me being happy with the story there are some things in there that I will like that you might not notice.

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Category: writing
People: Clementina  
Tags: High Five   Bag Man   Paris  

...continue reading: A Certain Satisfaction

last updated: 12 June 2018

It’s very easy to come up with a situation for a novel. It’s much harder to come up with a story. People often confuse the two and the difference is significant.

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Category: story
Tags: Bag Man   conflict   stakes   ghostwriter   situation   protagonist   antagonist  

...continue reading: Situation vs Story

last updated: 8 May 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry on 19 May 2018. It may seem inopportune to suggest that Miss Markle could become the Queen of England, but once you understand the rules around royal succession, you will see that it is quite possible that an American born non-royal divorcee could become Queen—it just takes one death at a certain time.

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...continue reading: Meghan Markle, Queen of England

last updated: 8 May 2018

I am a British subject and my language is English, but let me suggest a heresy: American English spellings (and grammatical practices) should be preferred over British spellings.

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Category: writing
Tags: British English   American English  

...continue reading: Spelling: UK vs US

last updated: 10 April 2018

When I was writing Tattoo Your Name on My Heart, I had a need for a minor character—a guitarist who plays in the fictional rock band Prickle. Luca Parzani is that character. In crafting Luca, I took inspiration from real life.

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Category: background
People: Michael Schenker   Boniface  
Tags: Tattoo Your Name on My Heart   UFO   guitar  

...continue reading: Needing a Guitarist

last updated: 10 April 2018

I’m going to take a controversial line for someone who makes his living by scribbling down words: Spelling doesn’t matter. At least, it doesn’t matter as much as people make out and it doesn’t matter for the reasons they think it does. What matters is the ability to be understood.

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Category: writing
Tags: spelling   British English   American English  

...continue reading: No One Cares If You Can’t Spell

last updated: 13 February 2018

In 2010, when I first started outlining The Murder of Henry VIII, I had an idea for a 500-year-old conspiracy theory about the murder of Henry VIII. The notion of the Russians trying to influence an election just didn’t seem that much of a stretch. The scenario felt plausible to me. In fact, it wasn’t simply plausible—it was something that I expected to happen (assuming it hadn’t already happened). Events since then suggest that my fiction is quite plausible.

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...continue reading: Interference in Foreign Politics

last updated: 13 February 2018

John le Carr√©’s 1974 novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was adapted to be a movie and tv miniseries. Seek out all three.

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...continue reading: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

last updated: 9 January 2018

From time to time I get questions about bad language in my books. There are variants on this question, but it mostly boils down to: will I be offended by something in one of your books, Simon? In short, maybe, but I hope not. Or at least, I hope you will agree that any offense reflects what the character feels and is justified within the context.

Filed under

Category: writing
Tags: bad language   offense   Ofcom  

...continue reading: Causing Offense