Showing posts from November, 2012

Getting to Grips With Short Stories - Part 1

Writing a short story might sound easy – after all, it’s only a few thousand words, right? Actually, the process is just as complicated and as technical as writing a full length novel.   It still needs a lot of thought, planning and preparation.   Short story writing doesn’t come naturally to some writers.   This might be because they’re not sure how to even tackle one, and because some have never written a short story, they naturally think they’re no good at it.   That means lots of opportunities like short story competitions and submissions for magazines pass them by, simply because they won’t attempt to write one. Sometimes they’ve failed to get to grips with it for one reason or another, and subsequently they translate that as not being able to do it.   And of course, to a writer, not being able to do it automatically means failure. But it’s mostly to do with fear.   Some writers just fear tackling the short story. These are common psychological barriers. To overco

How Writing Evolves

As writers, we never really think too much about how our writing develops or progresses as we write, but it does.   Writing is an ever changing, continual fluid process; there is always something new to learn, there are better ways of approaching writing and there are always different ways to improve our skills.   But how does how our writing evolve?   Do we notice it? Over the course of writing a novel, for instance, you will notice how your writing develops during this process if you were to compare later chapters with your earlier chapters.   You will see a significant difference between them – the writing at the beginning might seem raw and unstructured or a little less cohesive, but towards the end it is much better – it has better structure, it’s more unified and more refined.   Descriptions might seem fuller, characters might seem deeper and more complicated, dialogue has improved and the general writing structure is enhanced.     Also, you will notice that more c

General Fiction Cliches

We’re all aware of different narrative clichés which creep into our writing, and we know ways to avoid them - phrases and words such ‘all of a sudden’ or ‘or hell broke loose’, ‘just then’ and ‘suddenly’ etc, but there is also another kind of cliché which crops up from time to time without a writer even realising.   These are general fiction clichés. So what are they?   Unlike the usual hackneyed words and phrases, these general clichés can be situations, characters, places, events or even set scenes.   The best way to illustrate this is to give you some examples of common fiction clichés: a) The creepy/haunted house/log cabin in the middle of the woods or near a lake, enveloped by a ghostly where have we seen that one before? b) The hard-bitten cop with emotional problems, who doesn’t conform to the many books and movies have this kind if main character? c) The woman alone in her house, who for some inexplicable reason forgets that the light swit

Are there such things as Flashforwards?

We all know about flashbacks – the often used device for writers to tell a back story or fill in gaps of information for the reader by dipping into the past, but what about flashforwards? The case of the flashforward is debatable among writers. But there are such things. Flashbacks tell us what has happened in the past . Flashforwards, on the other hand, tell us what happens in the future , but since most writing takes place either in the first, second or third person, flashforwards should not exist because you can’t predict what might happen in the future. Or can you? This is the sticking point. Logic tells us that we can’t talk about the future, simply because the future hasn’t happened yet, so how can writers write about future events that are yet to take place without making the story sound trite and over the top? There are some circumstances where a flashforward is desired and wouldn’t seem out of place – science fiction and fantasy writing for instance.   These genres al