Showing posts from March, 2011

The Room to Write

Should it make a difference where you write or how you write? Would it make any difference to your work if you were tucked away in a little cubbyhole under the stairs and surrounded by a mound of clothes that need ironing, or in a well-lit spacious area and sitting comfortably at a desk? Writers are very good at adapting to their environments in order to write, and sometimes there is no choice, but is it enough to be creative? Not all writers are lucky enough to have an office to work in. Most have to make do with a corner of the dining room table or the kitchen counter or even the bedroom, but do small spaces crammed with junk or toys or boxes or clothes provide a productive environment for creativity? Some writers say they don’t mind it, while others wouldn’t be able to open their minds if surrounded by clutter or cramped by lack of space to work. The way we work as writers is important, and where we work is just as vital to how we work. All writers are different; each of us h

Tips to strengthen your novel or story

There are many things a writer can do to make a story stronger and more effective. This isn’t just down to the correct use of grammar or spelling, or about having the right theme and plot of story, but often it’s those overlooked little things that really count. There is so much to remember when it comes to writing that it can be daunting trying to create that ‘perfect’ masterpiece. There are ways, however, to help tighten your prose and strengthen your stories, a general checklist that should prove useful whatever your story. Realism – Fiction is about imaginary people, it’s make-believe, but within that imaginary world you have to create a sense of realism for it to be any good. It needs to feel real for the reader, whether or not the town or city in your story really exists or not. Characters, setting and events need to feel real, something that makes the reader think they are there, right at the heart of your story. Make sure you have a strong plot – a weak plot invariably m

Why Research is Vital

How easy is it to just make everything up when writing? Very easy. But how easy is it to give dimension to what you are saying? How easy is it to back up your beautiful, vivid descriptions with the right facts? As writers, we can create anything we want. We create the characters that inhabit our fictional world, we can create fictional towns or cities, we can turn the weather on and off, we can create life and we can destroy it, we can transport our characters anywhere we wish. What we can’t do (unless you are writing stories set in the future/sci-fi/alternative or fantasy) is change history, nor can we change places that already exist. If your story is set in New York, you must research and know your facts in order to bring your prose to life and make the setting feel real. The same is true of any city or country. Know your facts. But is it okay to gloss over the reality that sometimes has to enter fiction, just for the sake of being creative and artistic? In other words, you’re m

Three R’s - reduce, reuse and recycle.

Most writers have, somewhere, a drawer full of stories or half-finished novels, not to mention numerous scraps of paper with snippets of story or plot ideas scrawled across them. Some writers still have their very first novel, written earlier in life, tucked away somewhere and collecting dust. Early stuff, to give it a non-technical term, is the unpublished work you have produced since you began writing. Looking back on these stories and novels, you can probably see why the work you produced then was never published – poor writing, terrible characterisation, lots of telling and no showing – and yet for some reason you couldn’t bear to bin them. That’s probably because they formed the basis of your fiction-writing learning curve; they made you the writer you are now. There is an important reason for not throwing any manuscript or half-finished story in the bin. In fact, the reasons are twofold: Firstly, by revisiting those old manuscripts and stories you will be able to see how flaw