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Showing posts from December, 2013

How do flash forwards work?

Due to popular demand, I’ve been asked to revisit this subject because it seems to be causing a few headaches for quite a number of writers who are trying to grasp how to use them and where to use them in their narrative. Firstly, flashforwards, or prolepsis, to give its proper name, are quite different from flashbacks, so writers should understand the differences and how each one works with the narrative, specifically in the way they relay information to the reader.

The flashback, or analepsis, that we are all familiar with is a narrative device that allows the character and the reader to step back into a defining moment in the character’s past; one that directly affects the situation in the present. It assists with the main story and can also help move the story forward.Flashbacks are used for all genres. Flashfowards, however, cannot be used in most genres. Why? Because the future has not yet happened. Common sense tells us that we cannot write about something that is yet to happen in…

Creating Character Dynamics – Part 2

Continuing our look at character dynamics (and not dynamic characters), we’ll explore the many ways of creating such dynamics so that the narrative gains greater dimension and depth. As explained in Part 1, remember that real life supports much of what writers learn from and incorporate within their writing. And clever writers will exploit it for all its worth. That means conversations, movements, interactions, reactions, behaviours and many varied perspectives all come into play. Character dynamics revolves around how characters interact with each other, and there are many factors that help create it:- ·Dialogue – what characters say to each other and how they say it. ·Conflicts between characters also creates dynamics - the reader gets to see how characters act with and around each other ·Show a psychological perspective – what characters think and how their thoughts might affect others or impact the story arc and what emotions he or she might have. ·Show a physical perspective – a charac…

Creating Character Dynamics – Part 1

This isn’t about creating dynamic characters, but rather how writers create character dynamics. In other words, it’s the way characters work with and against each other within the story. It’s the dynamics of characters and their relationships with each other that interest the reader and keep them engaged.

It’s about setting up the conflicts with and between characters; it’s about ways that characters actually interact with each other, their actions and reactions, their thoughts and emotions. It’s about ways of bringing the characters to life for your reader through in-depth characterisation. But how do you get your characters to spark off one another in the first place?How do you get them to simmer together, for instance, or to antagonise each other or fight one another?

Writers should first understand the mechanics of character dynamics if they want to create it within their stories. A writer has to enable the subtle undercurrents of complex character relationships to affect their perso…

Self Confidence and Writing

I’ve covered this subject in previous articles, but lots of you have been in touch asking about it, so it’s time for another visit to a common subject that clearly affects a lot of writers. Self-confidence is a bit of an enigma. Outside of writing, most people are confident about many things in their daily lives, but the psychology behind what goes on when that confidence does an about-turn goes much deeper for writers, because often they go from confident and assured about their work, to doubtful and uncertain in the space of days.

But why?Well, it usually happens the moment they have to submit their work for scrutiny by their peers, i.e. sending a MSS to an agent or publisher. The ‘jitters’ set in and they turn on their heels and run for the hills (metaphorically speaking). This isn’t uncommon, however. Plenty of writers lose confidence in themselves (and their ability) when the moment comes to send off their masterpiece to the big bad agents and publishers. Suddenly they are confront…