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.

Continue reading The Balancing Act

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.

Continue reading Quantity Still Matters

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.

Continue reading Lost in Ways

Some Kind of Workshop

Ideas time. Kinda.

During the year, one of the things expressed by a few of the people in my wonderful writing group is that they think I should do workshops. How things are at the moment, I tend to spend time with each person that comes along and if they’re running into issues with the writing process, particular when it comes to where things go, ironing out plot-creases or filling plot-holes, I jump in.

Continue reading Some Kind of Workshop

Maybe You Should Wait A Day Before Sending Out Your Manuscript

I love writing. I also love that people love writing. The whole reason I started this blog was because I had lots of ideas about writing and from my experiences in talking to others about writing, realised that I also loved helping people with theirs. Sure, it’s not quite as effective as it would be in person, but if Fictioner’s Net hits upon even a single percent of what I do in person, I figure that’s a good thing.

Continue reading Maybe You Should Wait A Day Before Sending Out Your Manuscript

Guest Post: Tension Tells The Tale

If you want to write a good story (or read a good story), there always has to be tension. Specifically, there needs to be tension between the main characters, not just tension in the plot. This frisson can morph, grow or shrink, but it remains until the end of the story. Without tension, of course, there is no story.

Continue reading Guest Post: Tension Tells The Tale

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).

Continue reading Writing Talk: A Slow Build

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.

Continue reading The Importance of Self-Confidence in your Writing

The First Shuffle

Following on from my recent post, I enacted the new approach, at least in terms of writing (though yes, I’m also addressing the game-related stuff in my own way, as described in the post). I started dabbling in a piece of fanfiction where I could switch my brain off and just write, which is perfect for something I’m passionate about but where I’m okay with things being off.

Continue reading The First Shuffle

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.

Continue reading Writing Musts: Start the Clock, then the Story

Writing Musts: Realise That All Readers Are The Same

The most important thing about your writing, is that it starts with a bang. The more explosions, the better. You need to grab your readers by the throat and shake them until they lose consciousness. Rouse them, and then SHAKE THEM SOME MORE. There is literally NO other way to grab and hold the attention of a reader short of being there beside them when they do and MAKING THEM READ IT.

Continue reading Writing Musts: Realise That All Readers Are The Same

Writing Talk: What Makes A Great Prologue?

Here’s my approach to giving advice on writing.

If I feel like I’ve done it, if I’ve read it, or otherwise confident I know enough about it, I’ll come to some conclusions on the matter and write about it here. Sometimes I know I want to write about a particular topic, but haven’t yet worked out my angle. Often it’s me swirling ideas around in my head, and seeing what tangible points come out.

Continue reading Writing Talk: What Makes A Great Prologue?

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.

Continue reading Writing Musts: Be Human

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!

Continue reading The Flashback Episode

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.

Continue reading Writing Musts: The Premise is a Promise

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.

Continue reading It Makes Sense To Me

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.

Continue reading A More Precise Place

The Final Stretch

It’s the final week of NaNoWriMo.

If November has been kind to you, you’re due to hit the fifty-thousand sometime between now and saturday, with an added nod to those of you that have already made your target. The obvious round of congratulations is in order for those that have or will hit their targets by month’s end, but you know what?

Continue reading The Final Stretch