Showing posts from April, 2021

Creating Tension – Part 1

Tension is an important aspect of storytelling – it helps to create nail biting moments within the story and works in tandem with suspense and atmosphere to keep the reader turning the page. It not only heightens the reader’s sense of anxiety, but it toys with their emotions – it keeps them gripped to the story.   Tension comes in different guises, but works like an elastic band – it can be stretched to make things taut and then slackened to ease things. In much the same way, writers continually stretch and slacken certain elements within the story. They create quieter, calmer scenes which are interspersed with faster paced, exciting, atmospheric or suspenseful scenes. This keeps things interesting for the reader.   There are different ways to create tension in your writing – from making use of description, characterisation, problems and obstacles, to injecting pace, emotion and conflict to create that mixed sensation of unease, pressure and friction.   One thing to do ea

Keep Your Main Character Front and Centre

Do you keep the spotlight on your protagonist? One of the keys to good storytelling is to ensure your main character is front and centre – he or she is the star of your story, so whatever happens, that person should be the main focus of the story, even if they’re not in some of the scenes or chapters. The story must always revolve around this character. It’s common, however, for writers to lose sight of the main character. That’s because some scenes swallow them, or they’re overshadowed by other characters. I recently edited a story where the main character vanished after the first two chapters and didn’t re-appear until midway through the story. In that time, other characters had taken over the story and had grown more prominent. This meant the main character had inadvertently slipped into the background and had almost become forgotten. The spotlight had shifted. When that happens, the main character stops being a main character and they become a secondary character. Then wh

The Perfectionism Trap – Part 2

For writers, perfectionism is all about irrational fears and self-doubt – fear of rejection, fear of criticism and fear of not being good (or perfect) enough for success. For those who strive to be the best they can be, that need for perfectionism can sometimes prove to be non-constructive and can limit them from achieving their goals, because they always feel the need to keep tweaking their work, to keep (in their mind) improving what they’ve written and constantly keep adding stuff.   One draft soon turns into ten drafts, and so on. Fear is the primary cause of perfectionism. I know writers who have spent years writing, editing and polishing their novels, which are never submitted to agents or publishers. Why? Because they’re fearful of rejection, that the work isn’t good enough, or that it just isn’t ‘ready’ yet. The only thing that does is take the writer in ever decreasing circles, and why many are very apt at self-sabotage. There are ways, however, that could help you avoid