The Balancing Act

It’s not easy to find that sweet spot that provides exactly the right amount of information.

The line between spoon-feeding information and being clear is a troublesome one, especially when you want to maintain some air of mystery about what you’re writing. Nobody wants their story to be predictable, though it should without equivocation be justifiable.

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Quantity Still Matters

The one thing that hasn’t changed with the word is that content is still king. It governs almost everything in terms of audience and reach, though it’s true that marketing (or promotion, brand, or whatever other stand-in term it is you cling to) plays a part too. The maxim of Quality over Quantity is still true, but when everyone is a content creator in some way, the saying becomes more of a tendency than a fixed rule.

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Writing Musts: Use Your Characters Again

I don’t do this very often. Yes, blog (shush), but also follow up a previous must. In Use Your Characters, I extolled the virtues of being lazy, and by being lazy I mean using the characters you’ve already built up in ways that makes sense for them characters, instead of trying to force a new path through your story.

That’s still true, but there’s more.

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Lost in Ways

You can read that title over and over, stressing a different word each time, and find the glimmer of another meaning. Even within a single word, the intonation could be subtly altered, and so too would the meaning be altered. I suppose that’s the purpose of punctuation, but they’re never quite right in a title. Besides, I love a bit of ambiguity.

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The Plan Plan Worksheet

Minor one, this. I’ve reworked old NaNoWriMo worksheet I did of the long version of The Plan Plan, cutting the number of pages down to 9. It’s a little streamlined, but should hopefully be just as useful to those that liked the previous version.

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Writing Musts: Escalate The Conflict

Tuesday saw the first event of the NaNoWriMo 2014 Calendar take place in Sydney, and in keeping with the idea I generally have about how the course of everyone’s NaNoWriMo should run, the first event was a planning session…

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Said, Ever Unassailable

For a part of my writing that I’ve always put a lot of stock in, the absence of posts on dialogue rings peculiar. As it’s been so long since the last time I wrote about it, I feel a bit less wary about treading the same ground. The way we express ourselves, that special inner voice we all have when we’re not trying to be literary or profound, that’s a big part of it – yet that’s a matter of expression, and isn’t the same thing.

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Why NaNoWriMo?

Why What?

In eighty-eight days, it will be the first of November. Novembero Uno. When that first second ticks from Halloween into All Saints Day, people will start writing. With every hour that passes, and each timezone enters the beginning of a new month, more and more people will join in. Ones, tens, hundreds and then thousands. Last year there were 598,009 participants, all striving to write 50,000 words within a month.

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Writing Talk: A Slow Build

It was almost fourteen years ago that I went to Europe for the first time (out of three). I was a newly minted twenty-one year old, still at university, only just working (comparatively) and an occasional dabbler in writing (much as I was until more recent times).

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The Importance of Self-Confidence in your Writing

This was originally written as a guest post for the readful things blog, and was published there in July 2013. I tweeted about it during the week and as the response was positive, it seemed worthy of a re-post. As with all my blog posts, it’s especially relevant to me at the moment – so consider it a pep-talk for you and I.

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Writing Musts: Start the Clock, then the Story

I wish I could remember which book introduced me to the term in medias res. We’ve all been exposed to stories that use the technique, but having a name for it made it real. It’s been (at least) fifteen-plus years since I read about it, but it’s still one of those pieces of knowledge that infest my writing. I’d even consider it formative.

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A Better Sense of Place

When we tell stories, verbally, in writing, or through other mediums, we attempt to transport our audience to a place or time where our story could conceivably happen. We have the characters, events and plot points that are vital to telling the story, but in many ways, the setting of a story informs the tone of what’s to come.

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Writing Musts: Be Human

The biggest caveat with writing advice is that you should treat it as a suggestion, rather than an unalterable truth. It’s a point I belabour here whenever the topic of writing advice comes up, in a general, non-specific sense: If it doesn’t work for you, ignore it.

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The Flashback Episode

You remember the sitcoms where they’d start showing a collage of moments from various episodes in the past, just plugging in old bits of content as filler, and otherwise taking up room? They try and push the jokes and punchlines that out-of-context make little sense. Well, that’s what this post is!

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Beyond the First Draft

It would be easy to blame NaNoWriMo for the extent with which this blog focuses on what is essentially first-draft stuff. The lessons are chiefly targeted at getting your story written, embracing the creative process in a way that maximises your output (by stopping you from stopping), and I have no problem with that being the case.

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Writing Musts: The Premise is a Promise

Grr, Endings!

On the outside looking in, endings seem so simple. We read a book that ends in an unsatisfactory manner, watch a season finale that seems to go nowhere, or finish a game that somehow drives us to making demands of its creators.

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It Makes Sense To Me

Over the weekend, yesterday, I was I was going through the process of teaching my son about comedy. He’s almost seven, so EVERYTHING is hilarious, and he’s also very keen to make jokes of his own.

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Timing, The Many Worlds Theory and Revision

A lot of writing, the physical act of writing anyway, is not really writing. Technically it is, but there’s often more time spent on rewriting, which is a special type of writing that’s meant for a specific purpose. So long as we’ve learned to let go of hang-ups with perfectionism, we’re aware that the bits we write down first are going to need fixing.

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Cue the Nays

It happens every November. Every year there’s someone that thinks they’ll be amazingly cutting edge, and question the value of NaNoWriMo. I’m a firm believer that people should be able to think what they want, but I start to take issue when these ideas become so ingrained with the process, that we get into a separation of writers (I’m picturing air quotes), and real writers.

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