Bad Habits for Writers – Highlighting the Problems

I was privileged last Saturday to attend the second of Sara Grant’s Revision Workshops hosted by North East SCBWI in York. Much was learnt during Sara’s workshops, too much to detail in one post, but I thought I’d share one insight, which I have found very helpful.

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How to Write a Book in Four Drafts

I’ve learnt a huge amount from writing this blog. One of the most important being, ‘you’ve always got something else you can learn.’ But now I’m back to writing a first draft, I find all this information on writing techniques buzzing around my head is getting in the way.

It’s like buying a new house and trying to re-decorate everything at once. Nobody chooses the colour scheme, paints the woodwork, puts up the wallpaper, and changes the light fittings all at the same time.

Learning so many wonderful and useful things about writing craft is all well and good, but I’m beginning to feel like I’ve gone to B&Q and bought the whole shop, so now I have no idea where to start.

What I need to remember is a first draft is just that; the first draft of many. So I’ve come up with a plan and it compares surprisingly well to my decorating techniques. Continue reading

‘Show Not Tell’ – A How To Guide

It takes courage to write. Facing that blank page can be difficult enough in itself. Finding the words to express your scene goal, mix more conflict into a line of dialogue, or add a perfect detail of description is no easy task. But fiction is more than plot, character and setting. Great fiction has emotion and that emotion comes from the heart and soul of the writer.

But it isn’t a simple matter of ‘telling’ the reader about the emotions a character is experiencing, instead we are told to ‘show’ them. It is a phrase often used, but not always easy to put into practice. So I thought I’d share a few techniques I’ve developed to help me ‘show’ the emotions in my stories, rather than ‘tell’ them. Continue reading

Giving your Setting a Little Character

I read somewhere that you should treat the setting of your story like a character. Give it a strong identity, allow it to have mood swings, ask it to interact with other characters, watch it drive the plot. Think of Wuthering Heights. How different that story could have been if Cathy hadn’t ventured out on to the moors in a storm.

Characterisation

Good characterisation is expressed in the detail and a little detail goes a long way towards creating a convincing story world.

Here’s a short excerpt from my first novel, Wolf Soul, in its first draft form: Continue reading