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Showing posts from September, 2017

How to Move the Story Forward

One of the universal principles of good fiction writing is the need to move the story forward. If you don’t move the story forward, then the story can’t evolve. A story that doesn’t go anywhere or do anything isn’t a story. Every story depends on the development of the main plot and the characters, as well as themes and subplots. A good story can’t exist without these elements. There are numerous ways to move things along, for instance, dialogue, characterisation, description, exposition, plenty of conflict and transitional scenes. Dialogue Dialogue is present tense and active, so it’s a good way to move the story forward. It works because it’s selective. In other words, it should only divulge information that is necessary. That means characters interact with each other and impart necessary information that relates to the plot and what might happen. You can also use dialogue to exchange clues and hints and to foreshadow events. Description Writers don’t always think of description as somet…

What Makes a Story Dark?

If you’re a horror writer or you love to write dark, psychological stories and thrillers, or moralistic tales, this is the one question that needs an answer. Wanting a dark story and writing one are two different things, so how do you actually make a story dark? To answer that you first have to understand what is meant by ‘dark’. We usually define ‘dark’ as quantifiable elements that we know and are familiar with, but it’s more than that. Dark doesn’t necessarily mean scary or gory with a crazy psychopath going around chopping people into bits. Instead we have to think of ‘dark ‘as anything outside our accepted rose-tinted reality. Dark is the underbelly of our society; it’s the handling of ideas, themes, social issues and behaviours that would be seen as morally unacceptable. It’s less about fictional monsters but more about the real monsters that lurk in the shadows, something that is underscored by our fears and anxieties. It’s the unknown, because the things we don’t know or canno…

How Do You Improve Your Writing If You Don't Know What Your Weaknesses Are?

It’s a conundrum that all unpublished writers face – how do you know how to improve your writing when you don’t know how good or bad you are, or what your strengths and weakness are? It’s difficult to know just how well you’re writing if there is no benchmark or yardstick to measure it, especially when you’ve spent so many months working on something. For new writers in particular, it’s hard to detach from the work and remain 100% objective and, to a degree, self-critical, so it’s always important to gain some kind of feedback on their writing. But how do you know how well your story reads? Does it make sense? Is the story strong enough? Does it have the right pace? Is the characterisation good enough?Is the writing good or bad? What are your strong points, and more importantly, are there any weak areas? Weak areas of writing aren’t and shouldn’t be seen as negative – it just means you haven’t perfected certain areas of your writing just yet. Every writer has weak areas, until those are…

Should Main Characters be Flawless?

One of the most common mistakes among new writers is that they often make their protagonists perfect. They say the right things, they act impeccably and seem unruffled by anything and no matter what is thrown at them, they seem to be able to cope magnificently. And of course, they always win the day. But of course, the reality is that none of us is perfect. We all have flaws and imperfections and very often we make mistakes. This is real life, so your protagonist also needs to reflect this, to a degree. Realism has to play a part in fiction. Characters are so much different and realistic when they’re flawed. It’s what makes them so interesting and endearing. We see in them as reflections of ourselves. We might love the fact that the hero is shy. We might empathise if your main character is a weak leader or perhaps is vulnerable and frail. These are recognisable traits. Characters don’t especially have to be nice, either. They have off days, just like real people. They’re human, after al…