Have your strong female character start with conflict by killing your darlings using adverbs

Photo by Mahmudul Hasan Shaon on Unsplash

Let’s face it: the internet is awash with advice — we are drenched in the expertise of the uncertified, and, when it comes to writing, we are submerged. We have dubious rules thrust upon us on social media, subjective style preferences preached like gospel, and tips from successful people delivered with no awareness of survival bias.

But most egregious of all is the novice tutor expounding insight that they have fundamentally misunderstood. …


Stress and self-doubt become a sustained malaise during NaNoWriMo, so why do writers bother?

Every November since 2016 , I’ve attempted the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo – for fans of torturous portmanteaus) – a challenge to write 50,000 words towards a single work of fiction in just 30 days.

I have had varying degrees of success.

In my first year, I won the challenge, writing essentially a Homeric fan fiction, which remains an unfinished ramble of ideas. Fine.

Last year, I won it again, but I came out with the basis for a novel that I spent the following eight months rewriting and refining, and which is now out to beta readers. Fine-to-good.


The 2002 International Oscar Showdown features A Beautiful Mind versus No Man’s Land
The 74th Academy Awards winners for Best Picture and Best International Feature Film were A Beautiful Mind and No Man’s Land

Bong Joon Ho’s movie Parasite made history at the 2020 Academy Awards, becoming the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture.

In this series, in reverse chronological order, I compare previous years’ Best Picture and Best International Feature to see how many other foreign-language films ought to have been given the top gong.

**** This article contains spoilers! ****

You can count on your hands the number of actors who have appeared in consecutive Best Picture winners, a list that features Michael Peña (Million Dollar Baby and Crash), John Goodman (Argo and The Artist) and Victoria Spencer (The Shape Of…


The 2003 International Oscar Showdown features Chicago versus Nowhere In Africa
The 75th Academy Awards winners for Best Picture and Best International Feature Film were Chicago and Nowhere In Africa

Bong Joon Ho’s movie Parasite made history at the 2020 Academy Awards, becoming the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture.

In this series, in reverse chronological order, I compare previous years’ Best Picture and Best International Feature to see how many other foreign-language films ought to have been given the top gong.

**** This article contains spoilers! ****

The 1960s were something of a heyday for the American musical. Four singing and hoofing movies won the Best Picture Oscar during the decade, including two of the most enduring examples of the genre: West Side Story and The Sound of…


The 2004 International Oscar Showdown features The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King and The Barbarian Invasions
The 76th Academy Awards winners for Best Picture and Best International Feature Film were The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King and The Barbarian Invasions

Bong Joon Ho’s movie Parasite made history at the 2020 Academy Awards, becoming the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture.

In this series, in reverse chronological order, I compare previous years’ Best Picture and Best International Feature to see how many other foreign-language films ought to have been given the top gong.

**** This article contains spoilers! ****

There’s an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in which Wesley Crusher is visiting the Enterprise on vacation from Starfleet Academy only to find the crew are all debilitatingly enamoured with an addictive alien game. …


International Oscar Showdown 2005 features Million Dollar Baby versus The Sea Inside
The 77th Academy Awards winners for Best Picture and Best International Feature Film were Million Dollar Baby and The Sea Inside

Bong Joon Ho’s movie Parasite made history at the 2020 Academy Awards, becoming the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture.

In this series, in reverse chronological order, I compare previous years’ Best Picture and Best International Feature to see how many other foreign-language films ought to have been given the top gong.

**** This article contains spoilers! ****

Martin Scorsese’s travails at the Oscars continued in 2005, despite his film The Aviator being nominated for 11 awards — he must have thought his run of Best Picture snubs might finally come to an end…

First, there was Taxi Driver


The 78th Academy Awards winners for Best Picture and Best International Feature Film were Crash and Tsotsi

Bong Joon Ho’s movie Parasite made history at the 2020 Academy Awards, becoming the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture.

In this series, in reverse chronological order, I compare previous years’ Best Picture and Best International Feature to see how many other foreign-language films ought to have been given the top gong.

**** This article contains spoilers! ****

My wife is not a film critic, but she does have a way with words, and this was her immediate assessment of Crash after we watched it a few nights ago:

“That was toilet.”

I’m inclined to agree with her. However…


The 79th Academy Awards winners for Best Picture and Best International Feature Film were The Departed and The Lives Of Others

Bong Joon Ho’s movie Parasite made history at the 2020 Academy Awards, becoming the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture.

In this series, in reverse chronological order, I compare previous years’ Best Picture and Best International Feature to see how many other foreign-language films ought to have been given the top gong.

**** This article contains spoilers! ****

I defy you to find a Best Picture winner similar to The Departed. It stands alone as a plot-heavy cop movie, teeming with blockbuster bombast and clichéd characters. To come close, you’d have to go back to the 1970s just to…


The 80th Academy Awards winners for Best Picture and Best International Feature Film were No Country For Old Men and The Counterfeiters

Bong Joon Ho’s movie Parasite made history at the 2020 Academy Awards, becoming the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture.

In this series, in reverse chronological order, I compare previous years’ Best Picture and Best International Feature to see how many other foreign-language films ought to have been given the top gong.

**** This article contains spoilers! ****

I’ve been a huge fan of the Coen Brothers for more than two decades — an admiration that began when I discovered Oh, Brother Where Art Thou? and Fargo in the late 90s. I was enthralled by the filmmakers’ ability to…


The 81st Academy Awards winners for Best Picture and Best International Feature Film were Slumdog Millionaire and Departures

Bong Joon Ho’s movie Parasite made history at the 2020 Academy Awards, becoming the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture.

In this series, in reverse chronological order, I compare previous years’ Best Picture and Best International Feature to see how many other foreign-language films ought to have been given the top gong.

**** This article contains spoilers! ****

Since the Academy launched the Best Foreign Language Film award in the 1950s, India has been submitting movies for consideration, but, despite boasting one of the largest film industry’s in the world, they’ve only had three movies make it to the…

Tim Kimber

Writer of stories, movie reviews, and sundry other whims. Also a sub-editor, so you are welcome to shout at me about typos.

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