Showing posts from May, 2013

Creating Subtext

I’ve written about this subject previously, but I’ve been asked to revisit this much underappreciated aspect of fiction writing, so therefore it deserves another look. There are so many elements that go into fiction writing that writers really should take the time to understand them, because writing is not an easy, instant process.   In fact, it’s quite difficult to conceive, develop, plan, research and write a novel.   And that’s because there are many technical things a writer should be aware of - not just creative ones - if they want to succeed.   So how many writers actually consider subtext? Surprisingly, not many. Writers have a tendency to race through their novels without considering the more mechanical aspects such as symbolism, simile, metaphor and so on.   And they do so because often, they are not aware that the story needs them. This is the difference between a serious writer and one that suddenly wakes one morning and decides they want to be a ‘writer’. Se

There are two sides to every story

Whatever the story, whatever the genre, there are always two sides to every story, and story tellers need to show that. But what does this actually mean? Put simply, writers are not just writing about their main character.   The story may be about them, but there are also other characters that share that same story.   In truth, it is not entirely about the main character.   That means that while every story must have a protagonist ; it must also have an antagonist .   The antagonist – otherwise known as the ‘bad guy’ (you might have more than one) – has a specific, important function in fiction writing.   If you don’t have one, then there will be little or no conflict in the story, and without conflict, there is no story to tell, because fiction (and life) is all about conflict. Primarily, any story will be about your main character – it’s about their journey, what happens to them, the decisions and dilemmas they face and the obstacles they have to overcome.   It is told,

Novel v. short story – is there a difference?

The answer is yes, there are some very clear differences between short stories and novels.   There are also clear advantages to writing and working with these different story types. Some writers love writing short stories, while others balk at the idea.   Other writers only write novels or novellas, and wouldn’t even entertain the thought of writing short stories. But why can some people only write one specific type, where others have easily diversified and can write anything from flash fiction, poetry, short stories, longer stories and novels? The answer probably lies in a writer’s own misconceptions and fears:   “I can’t write short stories – I don’t know how to…” or “I just can’t seem to write short stories, they never seem to work…”   There are other excuses, such as, “I can only write novels – short stories are too limiting…” or “Only serious writers write novels…” If a writer can write a 1000 word story, they can also write an 80,000 word novel – they just don’t realise

Ways to Avoid Wooden Characters

Whether you write short stories or novels, having fully rounded, believable characters always complements a strong story and therefore makes the experience of reading the story more enjoyable. The one thing that can let a story down is clichéd, wooden characters that have little depth.   This often happens with first time writers who have not yet learned how to characterise, and often their first creations tend to fall flat. Another reason why characters might be somewhat like cardboard is the lack of attention to full characterisation. This is where writers tend to neglect characters for a plot driven story.   In other words, the story is great but the characters are thinly sketched. All primary characters need to be fully realised and, above all, believable, regardless of plot driven or character driven stories.   That means they have to relate to the reader like a real living, breathing person.   In effect, they have to leap from the page.   Every writer should aim to ma