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Showing posts from January, 2015

Sorting Fact from Fiction

Sometimes it’s very easy to get so carried away when writing a novel that the lines between fact and fiction often become blurred. It means that writers sometimes end up mixing fact with fiction (otherwise known as faction), which isn’t a new phenomenon; it’s been done for years and is extremely common. There is nothing wrong with using real places or events as a backdrop or setting for your fictional characters. There is nothing wrong with using historical figures within the story, but bear in mind that you can’t really put words into their mouths and treat them as you would fictional characters, because you cannot truly know their personalities, so you can’t presume to know what they would say or do. Also, you can’t write about what is unobserved. It’s a very thin line to tread, so for beginner writers, it’s best avoided. Writers blend fiction with fact because they can apply a fair amount of artistic licence to the story, but mixing known facts with fiction requires attention and fo…

A Novel is More Than Plot or Characters - Part 3

In the last part of this series about a novel being more than just a plot or characters, we’ll take a look at some of most overlooked elements of novel writing, the kind of things that are either simply ignored or barely shown by writers – Setting, Background and Time. Setting Does it matter about setting? Is the reader likely to care even if the setting is hardly mentioned? Again, setting is one of those elements that writers pay less attention to, but shares equal importance with any part of a well-constructed novel. The setting tells the reader where and when the story takes place – whether it’s just one location or many. They can be real settings or fictitious, but whichever they are, the setting gives the reader more information, instead of an empty story.The more information the author can supply, the stronger the story. Many writers make the mistake of either not making the setting known, or they go overboard with far too much description that the result is badly written and quite …

A Novel is More Than Plot or Characters - Part 2

Part 1 looked at some of the more obvious elements that make a novel, things like plot, characters, subplots and viewpoints. Part 2 will look at those elements that are less obvious to writers, ones they wouldn’t normally stop and think about. Themes A good novel needs themes. Themes form the moral fibre of the story. Plenty of writers worry over what themes – if any – should be included, or how they should be used, but more often than not, some themes grow organically with the story. You might have a couple of themes already in mind. For romance writers, themes of love, betrayal, deceit and happiness are usual staple fare. For thriller and crime writers, themes of revenge and death or hatred tend to be top of the list, for horror writers main themes might be death, resurrection, the black arts etc. But the interesting thing about any story is that, aside from main themes, smaller sub-themes also emerge. Themes help to connect the reader with the story and the characters, because they are…

A Novel is More Than Plot or Characters – Part 1

There are many parts that make a novel and without them, the structure of a novel wouldn’t exist. Every writer knows that there should be a plot – the basic story structure – and that the story will have characters, but they won’t always know about the other ingredients that make a good novel. In the first of this three part series, we’ll take a look at the obvious elements that all would be novelists will either already know or should have some basic knowledge about. These are the easy ones for writers to concentrate on. But of course, there are others, less well known, that help make a novel whole. So let’s look at the basics: Plot A plot is the skeleton of the basic story. It involves a series of events that happen throughout the story, through the eyes of its characters, and happens in a certain sequence. A basic plot would be: ‘The hero has 24 hours in which to solve a series of puzzles set by a psychotic killer, who is holding his family hostage…’ In simple terms, it’s how the hero go…