Showing posts from April, 2018

Should You Follow Fiction Writing Rules?

as suggested by Susan Uttendorfsky. All writers are aware of some of the most common rules in writing – don’t use too many adjectives or adverbs, don’t rely on passive writing, use nouns and verbs for stronger narrative, don’t overuse ‘ing’ words, don’t overdo he said/she said dialogue tags and so on, but should they even be considered rules? That all depends on why you want to write. If writing is no more than a hobby, then rules are hardly going to affect what you do. If you want to be a published writer and you want to be taken seriously, then isn’t it best to keep to some of those rules? The best way to approach this is to remember that there are no ‘rules’ as such, other than those governing grammar and syntax. Those are rules we must not ignore. But fiction writing rules don’t really exist in the same sense. Everyone calls them rules, but instead they are more like guidelines and instructions. Everyone knows the ‘show, don’t tell’ mantra. We all know the ‘use nouns an

Writing Slump – How to Avoid Them

Every now and then, all writers suffer from a writing slump. But what exactly is the slump? Is it writer’s block? Is it general apathy with writing? Is that moment when the novel stutters to a stop and you don’t know what to write next? The slump in question refers to a period when writers seem unable to write because they’re not feeling creative, they’re not inspired or they haven’t any ideas to work on. It’s an apathy of sorts, sometimes created by life in general and sometimes by negative influences. It’s a creative dry spell. The writing slump shouldn’t be confused with writer’s block. They’re not the same. One is the inability to write, through various things the writer has done to cause the block, while the other is a lack of motivation to write in the first place. From time to time, writers have to refocus. Slumps occur when other things take over – social media, family, other work commitments etc. The time writers normally spend being creative and inspired is constric

Writing in Past Tense and Present Tense

There is no golden rule that a novel can’t be written in both past tense and present tense. But there’s an unwritten rule that says you shouldn’t mix them. So what’s the difference? Which one is right? This unwritten rule is often confused by writers as meaning that present can’t be used with past and vice versa. But the unwritten rule refers to the writer mixing tenses within the same chapter or scene. This generally doesn’t work well and can look untidy, and it may appear confusing to the reader, unless it’s expressly a flashback and hinted to the reader. But there is nothing stopping a writer from writing one chapter or new scene in past and others in the present, or some in present and others in the past, if done correctly. This approach keeps things tidy and allows the reader to follow the writer’s intentions. Present stories sometimes rely on past events to show the reader certain things – we know these as reminiscences or flashbacks, and these are permissible bec

Turning Ideas into Stories

Ideas come in all manner of ways.   Inspiration is the atom that starts it all. From inspiration we get ideas and from ideas we start to create. And when we get creative, we get productive. Ideas often happen without us having to try. Sometimes they pop into our head fully formed, while others are but small seeds and need some nurturing and development. They might happen because of a memory or personal experience. They might form because of something seen on the TV. Or an incident. Maybe a time period inspires writers. Sometimes they feel strongly about something and they need to write about it. Ideas can come from anything, anyone and everything. And the best ideas come when we don’t force them. But even with the smallest of ideas, bigger things grow from it. We do this by adding more ideas, because everyone knows that ideas create even more ideas. That’s how we form plots and characters and so on. But how do you turn that single idea into a story? Start at the beginning

Starting Points

There are few things more frightening than a blank page. One of the most difficult things to decide is where to start a story. The fear is that if you don’t know where to begin, you’re not going to be able to start a story. But starting your story isn’t something to fear. So let’s take the fear out of the equation. Writing fiction is a complex process and can seem overwhelming, but the more writers understand these processes, the less daunting they will seem.   Part of the fear of the blank page is that writers assume they must have a fully-fledged, all singing and all dancing tale just ready to pour onto the page and they must start at the beginning. But that’s not true – it’s a myth. There are no rules here. Every writer is different, so every approach is different. In one way or another they all eventually end up at the same point – a completed story. Normally we have a vague idea of the story we want to tell when we sit down ready to write. And that’s the most importa