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Showing posts from September, 2010

Revealing Characters through Dialogue

When we speak we reveal a little something of ourselves. Your characters should do the same. Dialogue is an effective way of demonstrating who your character is by revealing their personality through what they say and how they say it, but fictional dialogue is different from everyday real life.

Think of real life dialogue. It’s full of interruptions, breaks, repetition and superfluous and irrelevant information. Lots of ums and ahs and a bucket full of different slang words. Most everyday conversations are, in reality, pretty dull and mundane, but the difference with real life dialogue and fictional dialogue is that with fictional dialogue you have to cut out the mundane, the waffle and the boring bits and get to the very essence of your characters and story. Readers are not interested in what your character had for dinner last Thursday, or that the garden needs doing, or the car needs washing…

Readers want information, immediacy and action.

Dialogue changes the flow of the narrative;…

Metaphor and Symbolism in Fiction

Metaphor v Simile

Why use metaphor, similes or symbolism in fiction? Because they are just some of the useful tools available to a writer to add extra dimension to their work, to make it interesting, more palpable and more entertaining.

A metaphor is an analogy, a figure of speech, to convey an idea or object. It compares dissimilar things without using ‘as’ or ‘like’

This shouldn’t be confused with similes, which are used to convey something that is very much like, whereas metaphors state that something is.

With metaphors, you don’t have to write ‘like’ or ‘as’.

For example:

‘His eyes were fireflies’. (Metaphor)

‘His eyes were like fireflies’. (Simile)

Both examples tell us the character’s eyes glittered or glowed like fireflies in the dusk, because the fireflies are used as an analogy.

‘John was a tank’. (Metaphor)

‘John was like a tank’. (Simile)

Both of these tell us that John is very strong and stocky. Used correctly they can add a bit of flair to the narrative, but if used po…

Effective Prose

Writing prose is easy. Writing well-crafted prose isn’t.  It’s not just about having the raw talent to write, because although it helps, there are still skills and technicalities to learn. In essence, writing is about the balance of talent, capability, learned skills and the love of the written word.

There are two literary structures for creative writing: prose and verse. The latter is a vital ingredient in poems, and rhythm plays a part in that for verse to work. The same is true for prose. Sentences need rhythm to work. Poems keep to a metrical structure, and don’t necessarily have to rhyme. Prose can also work with metrical structure to a certain degree because conventional rules don’t bind effective prose writing, since the act of writing is subjective and integral to the author’s own style. As already pointed out, style and voice is as individual as a fingerprint.

There are several ways to bring prose to life:

• Choice of words, phrases and sentences
• Rhythm and Pace of descrip…

Story Writing Process

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The process of story writing isn’t easy. Not only do you have to contend with what to write, but you have to know a little about how to write for it to work. It’s an art form, a way of expression, but it’s also a discipline. You can write for love of writing, the simple enjoyment of words on paper, or you can become a master storyteller.


Writing encompasses many processes, not just actual writing. It’s about imagination, thought, a keen eye for observation, planning, structure and shape, form and genre, writing strategies, research, knowing your audience, knowing the market and, rather importantly, recognising one’s limitations.

People often wrongly assume writing is easy. It’s not.

Writing a great piece of work doesn’t happen at the click of your fingers. Being a good writer takes years of hard work and discipline. It’s a constant learning process, the kind of art form that allows you to grow and flourish the more you write.

Writing needs a concise and clear direction and a well-str…