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.
Continue reading The Balancing Act
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.
Continue reading Quantity Still Matters
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.
Continue reading Writing Musts: Use Your Characters Again
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.
Continue reading Lost in Ways
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.
Continue reading The Plan Plan Worksheet
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…
Continue reading Writing Musts: Escalate The Conflict
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.
Continue reading Said, Ever Unassailable
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.
Continue reading Why NaNoWriMo?
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).
Continue reading Writing Talk: A Slow Build
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.
Continue reading The Importance of Self-Confidence in your Writing
We keep rewriting.
Continue reading Every sentence must have purpose
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.
Continue reading Writing Musts: Start the Clock, then the Story
Short one today. This seems to be the state of much advice, ie, that you must cover both points below…
Continue reading Writing Talk: The Two Must-Do Things
There’s no point arguing – you’re going to procrastinate. I know it. Your friends know it. Everyone knows it. Except… maybe you.
It’s okay to procrastinate.
Continue reading Writing Musts: Procrastinate Effectively!
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.
Continue reading A Better Sense of Place
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.
Continue reading Writing Musts: Be Human
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!
Continue reading The Flashback Episode
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.
Continue reading Beyond the First Draft
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.
Continue reading Writing Musts: The Premise is a Promise
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.
Continue reading It Makes Sense To Me
Writer’s Block. The Wall. That general Ugh feeling. Everybody hits a point where their writing gets bogged down, refusing to move forward.
Maybe you don’t know what should happen next.
Continue reading Stuck in the Mud
The novel I started for NaNoWriMo this year is one of the most adult pieces of fiction I’ve ever written, and though it does, that’s not intended as code for ‘contains sex’. But yes, it does.
Continue reading Latent Moral Tendencies
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.
Continue reading Timing, The Many Worlds Theory and Revision
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.
Continue reading Cue the Nays