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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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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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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Writing Musts: Except Your Brilliance

After toiling away at the first draft of a novel, pouring so much enthusiasm into the beast, heaping tremendous amounts of your own brilliance into your storytelling with an assortment of carefully chosen words and plot development, expectations can run high.

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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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A More Precise Place

When writing in a setting beyond personal experience, research and exploration can steal months or more. Whether it’s a real location or one that’s come from the imagination, there is always more that could be known.

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Writing Musts: Getting Wise to the Whys

Questions about why writers write are one of those things that will never go away. Some do have stated reasons that they’re aware of, while others have a draw to the medium that is inexplicable to them.

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The Wavering Mind’s Eye

One of the recurring lessons when it comes to writing, and the pursuit of that final draft that becomes something we’d be proud of having published, is that not all sentences start perfect.

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The Love Story

The relationships between the characters can be worth more than the characters themselves. Lifelong friendships, sibling rivalry, a nemesis – a speck on the palette of what can be done. Love itself is a part of fictional worlds much as it is our own, and there are many kinds of it.

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Why Getting It Wrong Is Right

For the sort of thing I’m about to say, I spend way too long trying to work out the right opening line. In the end it didn’t matter, because this post is not about reaching for perfection, but not doing so. I’m not advocating that we strive for mediocrity, or set a hole-ridden plot of flaws and cliches as our goal. We should instead be working toward completion, errors be damned.

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Those that Loom and Lurk

Given the choice between the known and unknown, the unknown is often scarier. It’s the more exciting of the two when it comes to a chance to explore or engage in an opportunity, but when it comes to an obstacle between us and our goals, it’s best when it’s a known quantity.

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Overcoming Writing Hurdles

I’ve been working on a rewrite for a while now. I didn’t want this to be a straight edit, because the original opener for this was something I’d written hastily. I also struggled with rewriting the original first scene of the novel, and for some reason, convinced myself that if I got past this ridiculous scene, I would unlock my chakra or chi or muse or well, some innate writing force within myself.

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On Expression: The Roads Run Down

There’s a moment of realisation in writing, when you look at the expressions that you use by instinct, and realise that the first-shot may not be the best. I’m a firm believer in the important of voice when it comes to writing, but there’s a difference between what comes first, and what comes naturally.

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When Ending A Scene Becomes Creating Another

I’ve been working on Trail, though had hit a miniature roadblock. These things inevitably happen, and it was about expression. I was happy with the last line that I’d written, and thought it said everything I wanted to at that moment – however it didn’t feel like the end of a scene. It still wanted more.

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Seven Signs Your Characters Will Try To Kill You

Yes, Seven!

I’m not being alarmist. I swear I’m not. At the back of your mind, you, Writer, have always known that there was something off about your characters. You’ve read them over and over, tried to understand what they were doing in your story, but always felt unsettled by their presence. Were you just paranoid? Were you just doubting your characters instead of doubting yourself? Was it all just IN YOUR MIND?

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I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

Writers bear a wonderful burden. They’re the only ones that can put the exact story they’ve imagined into words so that others can experience it too. Even the most horrible procrastinator that gets no further than an outline, or concept, or title… they experience a piece of creativity that few others will ever see.

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That whole grisly ‘Death’ thing

Death. It’s one of the constants of life. We’re all born with a best-before date; a point in time in which we’ve done with our breathing, breeding and breaking. It isn’t something most of us have to deal with on a daily basis, but the reaper is coming.

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One hundred ways to say it

I can’t remember exactly why I stopped being so secretive about my writing. I recall a point in time where I’d be ridiculously vague (even in comparison to how terribly vague I still am now), and then the now, where I’ll share early snippets of my writing, or allude to characters, and all that goodness that shows I’ve been writing and not just procrastinating.

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The Mood of your Story

Sometimes when I start these, I’m sure that I’m retreading old ground. Okay, yes, it’s ALL old ground considering somebody else has covered every single thing about writing you can imagine at some point (even Ring Method, despite my self-indulgent glee at ‘discovering’ it).

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The Importance of Voice

I never understood the attraction to what I was writing. Maybe in the many attempts to analyse the creative process (the one I went through, anyway), I somehow demystified an inherently magical activity. Sure, I love the ideas that I have, but when I put in down, I never considered it to be anything special.

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Witing wuv and womance

Whiwe you’re cowwectivewy bweathing sighs of welief that we’re as far from another Vawentine’s Day as we could possibwy be, it’s time to gwab those last vestiges of twue wuv and womance that are twying to wwiggle out of your veins, and thwow it into your witing. Specificawwy with your chawacters, and the four-letter-L-word.

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Rhythm of the Words

“It rose up before me like an angry giant threatening to bring down a bloody fist upon my head. The ribbing of its legs ready to stomp at-” . “Wait, you’re talking about the tree? Still?” . “Yes Tara, I’m telling you about the tree. A stompy giant tree. Alright yes, the tree.”

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Writing is like being in love

Analogies. They’re always fun. When we do it in writing, we tend to use constructs such as similes, metaphors, and other ones that might exist but that I can’t think of. I once had someone stop reading a story I’d written because I’d used a metaphor to describe a creature as being similar to another animal, where they felt it should have been a simile. The illusion was shattered. He could read no more. No, it wasn’t a pretend raven.

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