Showing posts from March, 2015

Fundamentals of Novel Writing – Part 1

There are some things that every writer should get right before any thought of publication (either through self publishing or traditional). With the onset of self-publishing, especially, there is a tendency of complacency (and lack of writing ability) in so much that a writer can write however they wish, because there are no ‘rules’ to follow. While this is indeed true, it is also misleading. There is also no quality control with self publishing, so if writers do break those ‘rules’ then the result will be a terrible, unreadable mess. Fact. That is why there are guidelines in place, to ensure a writer produces a quality written piece of fiction. If you want to write a novel then you have to know the fundamentals. If you ignore the fundamentals, then you’re not going to achieve much as a writer. The Fundamentals: Planning – a little planning goes a long way. A lot of planning goes even further. The less prepared you are to embark on a novel, the more problems you will encou

Writing Short Stories

How different are they from writing full length stories such as novels or novellas?   Despite their similarities, short stories are quite different, certainly where structure and content is concerned. Unlike novels, short stories have a limited amount of space in which to tell the story; usually around. 1000 – 10,000 words, so how the story is told is dictated by its length. In contrast to novels, there is a lot to cram into the short story, without it feeling too cluttered, rushed or contrived. There are no hard and fast rules where short stories are concerned, but there are certain aspects writers should consider and a number of things they should pay attention to, especially as there is a limited amount of words to work with. That doesn’t mean writers have to be so economical with words to the point that description suffers and falls prey to ‘telling’, rather than ‘showing’ but instead it means writers have to be very careful about which scenes require more description an

The Primary Causes of Character Conflict – Part 2

Part 1 looked at some of the main causes of character conflict, the kind of things that give our characters motivations, things that make them act and behave in certain ways which raise the tension and keep the reader interested - such as love and hate, the need for a character to reach his or her goal, desire, the good guy versus the bad guy effect, making choices and facing dilemmas. In this concluding part, we’ll look at a few more causes, ones that we don’t always readily give a second thought to, but they are important ones nonetheless, because they are elements that can cause conflict, and where there is conflict there is tension and emotion, the very substance of stories that readers love. Ignorance might not seem an obvious choice of the cause of character conflict, but characters, like people in real life, have a tendency, and a great capacity, to be ignorant of a lot of things, and when someone doesn’t see the truth or refuses to believe something or someone, that’s w

The Primary Causes of Character Conflict – Part 1

No story is without conflict. It’s a driving force not only for the plot but also for the characters. It makes characters do things they wouldn’t normally do. It makes them behave in ways they wouldn’t normally behave. But to understand why characters react to conflict this way, writers should learn the fundamental primary causes of character conflict and why they’re so important in fiction writing, the kinds of reasons that universally make sense and provide the catalyst to create such tension and conflict. You have the characters, you have the plot layout, you have a rough idea of the ending, you have scenes plotted and prospective subplots, but your novel lacks the tension and the conflict, so you might wonder: exactly what kind of conflict do I create for my characters? That depends on the plot, other characters and the surroundings, because there are certain types of conflict to help writers: Man v Man – This is external conflict Man v Himself – This is internal con