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Showing posts from June, 2011

The Greek Unities

There are lots of tools and strategies at a writer’s disposal to create strong, well-structured stories. For those writers not familiar with the Greek Unities, this is a concept where a writer can use three practical elements within fiction writing to help give balance and structure to their short story and to strengthen what might otherwise be weak areas.

The idea of the unities derives from the classical Greek Unities of drama. Based on a passage from Aristotle’s Poetics, they act as benchmarks for use in drama to aid better performances and sage direction, but fiction writers can also use these principles for their stories.

The idea behind the unities is to keep the story ordered, just as they would have done within drama. They are best used when writing short stories, but that is not to say that these cannot be applied to a certain degree to some novels, too, but on the whole, when you are writing a short story these three elements really do help with the composition.

There are th…

Creating Imagery - Part 2

When we use imagery in creative fiction, it’s not just description, simile or metaphor that makes it work. Writers can employ other imagery skills such as assonance, alliteration and structure in order to make their writing vivid.

Assonance and alliteration are other tools at the writer’s disposal. Assonance is basically the sound of the words you create, the sound of the vowels in the sentences you write, working well together. Think of poetry, the way verses almost sound like music. This is assonance, and it works just as well within prose. 

Here’s an example of simple assonance: ‘He stared at the moon; his thoughts fraught with fear and caught in a swell...’

The words ‘thought’, ‘fraught’ and ‘caught’ give the sentence assonance because they sound similar.  Not only that, but 'fraught with fear' contains assonance, and when strung together with 'caught in a swell', both phrases conjure clear images in the reader's imagination.

Alliteration is the repetition …

Creating Imagery - Part 1

Often we come across people who have read a great novel and comment that it was full of imagery. But what does that man exactly?

Writers use imagery to convey a sense of scenes and characters. It is used as a support tool to enhance description, to engage the reader on a deeper level with their writing, to involve the reader to the kind of level where they imagine themselves right there within the scene.

Imagery is a key aspect of fictional writing, it allows the writer to connect with the reader, but it also connects the reader to the story on many different levels. You are allowing the reader to visualise your fictional world.

In essence, it is about emphasis. So, how do you go about creating the right imagery?

One strategy any writer can use is the use of metaphor and simile intermittently embedded within the narrative. (Don’t overuse them; otherwise, your writing could become cliché). The idea with metaphor and simile is to create new ones to resonate with the reader, rather …

Creating Suspense in Fiction

Many writers ponder what how to create suspense in their fiction and I’ve been asked this question by new writers because they wrongly assume it’s very difficult, when in fact it isn’t. My answer has always remained the same: creating or building suspense, and maintaining it, will only work if the writer understands the very core of the story they are telling within the genre they want to write.

Crime novels, for instance, have a sense of mystery and therefore they keep a lot of the secrets from the reader until the end, in order to keep them guessing, while some novels, like thrillers, set out their stall early on by letting the reader know most of the facts and building tension and conflict around the succeeding events in the story in order to create suspense.

Suspense is the thing that keeps the reader turning the page to find out what happens next...

Mention the word suspense to most people and they will automatically think of fear, after all, it’s used to great effect in horror…