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Showing posts from October, 2015

Chapter or Scene Break? How and when to use them - Part 1

We’ve touched on chapter and scene breaks previously; however lots of people have asked for more information on this subject, particularly when it comes to recognisingthe right moment to either use a scene break or to create a new chapter. Firstly, it’s worth understanding the difference between a scene break and a chapter and what they mean, because while they may form many of the different aspects of writing, they perform different functions and they are not entirely straightforward – the explanation behind how to use them and when to use them is a little more complex. Scene breaks are exactly that – a break in the currentscene, which can happen for a variety of reasons, such as moving the story forward to the next important scene or changing the character POV. Not only that, but scene breaks are also used in order to show the passage of time. Chapters are another way of moving the story forward coherently and cleanly. But chapters represent an entirely new section of the story. Althou…

Tricks to Hook Your Reader

I’ve touched on this in previous articles, but it’s one of those subjects that are eternally popular with writers, especially beginners, who are keen to employ as many tricks as possible to get their novels noticed, and one of those ways is to engineer a good hook – something that grabs the reader from the outset. But how do you grab the reader in the first place? Open some of the books on your bookshelf and make a note of how they begin. What is it that grabs your interest and compels you to read them? Does the book engage your curiosity or fascination? Does it start with a bang? Or does it start slowly and gain momentum, yet at the same time is interesting or quirky? You’ll find the results will be varied – some books are great openers, some take a while to warm up while others are a damp squib. So, what elements make a great hook? The Crucial Moment Start at a crucial moment. Every writer should know this one. If you start at a pivotal moment within the story – the protagonist in a ba…

Why Character Actions/Reactions Are Important – Part 2

In Part 1, we looked at the complexity of character actions and reactions and why they’re an important part of the story writing process. In Part 2 we’ll look at other factors that make this essential tool so necessary – Direct Actions and Emotions.


Direct Action

Without a doubt, a character’s actions have a quite a bearing on other actions and reactions, rather like a ripple effect, and like dialogue, it’s a useful way of revealing character.


Direct action refers to what your character does in response to other characters or what he or she does in order to provoke reactions from others. And provocation is always a good thing; it creates conflict, which every story should thrive on. All this allows the writer to influence how the story evolves. Cause and effect is always in play.


What does that mean exactly? Imagine if Character B reveals a secret about one of the protagonist’s loved ones, and threatens to share this information. How will the protagonist react? And what will that reactio…

Why Character Actions/Reactions Are Important – Part 1

One of the fundamental and complex parts of characterisation comes from the actions and reactions of your characters – their interactions are constantly evolving throughout the story because they are continually acting and reacting with each other and various events and the story. Without action and reactions, there would be no determinable relationship between any of your characters, and therefore little to give the reader.
Why are character actions/reactions important?
Actions and reactions are great way to reveal character without the need for lots of explanation or large info dumps. As writers, we can show, rather than tell, by virtue of how they respond. Everyone is multifaceted and complex and your characters should be no different.
You can show a reader as much as you want through character revelation; what they do, what they say, and sometimes what they don’t do or don’t say.
The action/reaction equation is complex on many levels, because responses rely entirely on actions, which…