Slow Writing by Chris Galvin

Love this!

QWF Writes

Chris bakes muffins too

Like bread dough, my writing seems to require time to rise in a warm, draft-free place. The long proofing period is necessary; turn up the heat to hurry the rising, or don’t leave it long enough, and I get a stodgy, dense loaf.

Under ideal conditions—solitude, free time and excitement about what I’m writing—the words pour forth quickly. It’s exhilarating. But normally, I write when I can. I like to have control over an essay or story as it forms, and I edit as I write, considering each sentence as I put it to paper—does it say what I want it to say, or does it imply something else? I read what I’ve written aloud—does it have the right rhythm? Is my translation of Vietnamese dialogue as true to the original as possible? Does it sound natural?

The second proofing of the dough is as important as the first. Even…

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I challenge you!

I have a confession to make… I have never read Paradise Lost by John Milton nor Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

It’s not like I didn’t want to read those critically acclaimed novels; I just never had the time. Until now that is(insert dramatic music here).

For me, 2015 will be about doing things that I never had the time to do. Especially about novels that I failed to get my hands on. We all know the benefits of reading, and if you do not, then you need to read my ‘Benefits of Reading’ post. So, today I urge you to join me in the reading challenge.

Here it is:

  • A book from your childhood
  • A book that came out a year you were born
  • A book of short stories
  •  A book your mum/dad/sister/friend loves
  •  A book you own but you have never read
  •  A banned book (how exciting!)
  •  A book you were supposed to read in school but you didn’t
  •  A popular author’s first book
  •  A play
  •  A book that was written in a different language (translated book)
  •  A book with bad reviews
  •  A book that takes place in your hometown or the same country

12 books –  one for every month!

Please feel free to name or suggest the books that you are going to read/have read. Let’s inspire one another! 🙂



Express yourself (correctly!)

Good vocabulary is indispensable. 

I am sure that all of you are aware of the widening vocabulary crevice  between underprivileged  and wealthy families.  Fact: children who come from a lower-income families may hear 30 million fewer words than those who come from wealthier families (read more here: ).

Good vocabulary is also important when expressing yourself. There’s nothing worse than (OK, maybe the use of a wrong homophone is worse) not being able to use the correct word to show your point. I have seen many students not being able to write their essay because they were looking for one word which would express their argument appropriately.

Today’s post is all about using and knowing more complex words. If you do not know these then it’s a good way to start to use them. Also if you are a teacher or a parent, perhaps it would be a good idea to share these words with the children? Let’s inspire others! 🙂

1. Insurgent (noun) means a rebel. “I am an insurgent!”

                       (adjective) to have a rebellious characteristic. “The insurgent child roared at the teacher”.

2. Ascertain (verb) to learn with certainty, to be clear. “They could ascertain that he came from Austria”.

3. Pious (adjective) religious, dutiful, respectful. “Pious literature should be read”.

4. Beseech (verb) to beg desperately. “Ms G realized it was time to beseech children for their homework”.

5. Accede (verb) to take up a new position or to approve/agree. ” Joffrey Baratheon acceded to the throne”

6. Ominous (adjective) threatening. “The ominous dog was watching the children”.

7. Usurp (verb) to take over control with force (to take something which isn’t yours illegally) “Scar tried to usurp the throne”.

8. Venerable (adjective) impressive (due to age), old, in Catholic religion it can also mean holy. “A venerable church”.

9. Confer (verb) to discuss with one another, to consult. “People confer all of the time”.

10. Divergent (adjective) different, unlike something. “They all had a divergent viewpoint”.

So spread these words and remember in doing so you are trying to depress the vocabulary gap.

Have a good day!


For book lovers only!

Love reading but sometimes you are not sure what you should read next?

Today I was standing in the book shop for what seemed like an eternity (oh those similes!) and yet I left empty handed…I  felt disgruntled. But how can you spend a small fortune on books that you have never head of? What if you are dissatisfied?

Fear no more! I have found a great website where you can read detailed book reviews. This might help you to find your next favourite book or your next book adventure. The best thing of all is that these book reviews are updated frequently.

Problem solved! 🙂



Do you know the difference?

There’s nothing more mortifying than realising that you’ve made a mistake and/or used a wrong or incorrect word. Of course we are all human and errors do happen, however, I’ve created a short list of words that sound the same (homophones) but have different meanings. Do you know the difference?

Breath vs. Breathe

  • Breath – (noun) a single inhalation of air. Example: I took a deep breath.
  • Breathe – (verb) the act of breathing. Example:  I need a moment to breathe!

Quote vs. Quotation

  • Quote – (verb) to copy the words of other/repeat something someone has said/write. Example: I like to quote Shakespeare!
  • Quotation – (noun) words taken from a poem/speech/novel and repeated somewhere.Example: This quotation is not accurate.

Loose vs. Lose

  • Loose – (adjective) something that is unattached/not fixed in its place. Example: My shoe laces are loose.
  • Loose – (verb) to set something/someone free. Example: Let him loose!
  • Lose – (verb) to misplace something/not being able to find it. Example: Where did you lose it?

Through vs. Threw

  • Through – (preposition) to go past something/by way of. Example: A walk through the city.
  • Through – (adverb) to the end/to complete something. Example: I read the email once through.
  • Through – (adjective) finished an action/having no concern. Example: I am through with school.
  • Threw – (verb) past tense of throw. Example: She thew away all of the rubbish.

Hope this helps!



Austen’s Pride and Prejudice chapter 4 and 5 revision video

This video is aimed at secondary school students who are studying Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

This video contains:

  • Notes on characters and events
  • Themes
  • Tips
  • Areas for further consideration
  • Important quotations

Please share this post with students who might need some extra help when studying this novel.

Hope you enjoy it!



For the love of idioms!

Idiom: an expression whose meaning is not a literal translation. It refers to a dialect/jargon of a certain group of people (normally from the same location, culture, interest). For example ‘break a leg’ means good luck!

Being an English teacher, I have a high regard for idioms. They make the language more colourful as we use them to express ourselves better in a more interesting and entertaining way. Everyday I hear students use idioms in the classroom: ‘in the same boat’, ‘a piece of cake’, ‘give it a shot’, ‘rub someone the wrong way’ etc. To some international students some of these phrases might sound odd and one might need to explain them further.

I have come across an amazing article by Matt Lindley that I thought I MUST share! It focuses on idioms that are used around the world. Why is it important? To my belief, it is vital to understand different cultures, enlighten yourself to be a more educated person, and of course for comic purposes! 😉

My favourite idiom from around the world must be ‘to have a wide face’! You do not have to go across the pond to find out what this idiom means. 🙂

The best thing of all is that all of these idioms are illustrated too. You’re welcome!