Writing and Shit – part 18 – Breaking your statues into two pieces

ALL BY YOURSELF One of the biggest faults in stories by less experienced writers is that they are about extremely isolated people – people who start off by being isolated and don’t end up making much contact with others. This is not, in itself, a bad idea. There have been many wonderful stories about people […]

Writing and Shit – part 16 – Making your characters more sympathetic even if they are baddies

SYMPATHETIC CHARACTERS The following bit is really only for you if you want to write popular fiction – although, if you are aiming for something that sells less well you might be interested in discovering something about the dark arts. I will have to flip over to discussing characters, because the phrase everyone uses is […]

Ciaran Carson and Davy Graham

Ciaran Carson, the Belfast poet, died earlier this week. I knew him a little bit, and admired him immensely. The one time I went to dinner at his house, he was editing The Yellow Nib, a literary magazine. As we ate, we talked about music. He was a professional – could pick up a penny whistle […]

Writing and Shit – part 13 – Exactly how not to begin your short story

Most of the examples I have given so far have been quite straightforward, unsubtle. The idea of the runaway bride, although something you might be happy to gossip about, may be the kind of on-the-surface, twisty story that you would never allow yourself to write. But I think that the idea of Story-Time, and of […]

Writing and Shit – part 12 – The Epic Flipchart of Will It? Won’t it?

I’d like to move on from my two definitions of a story, but do keep your marked up story-start because we’ll be going back to it. I have tried very hard to find another way to talk about this next bit that avoids the phrase ‘Story-Time’. It has associations – not bad associations – of […]