How to Tell a Story to Save the World

Over the past few months, I’ve been serialising a new, short book about creative writing on the Writers Rebel website. It’s called How to Tell a Story to Save the World. It’s covered five screenwriting manuals by five storytelling gurus, World War Z in novel and movie form, and today the final chapters went up. […]

Something’s not right with storytelling

I’ve had some really thoughtful and passionate responses to the first part of How to Tell a Story to Save the World – recently published on the Writers Rebel website. It seems to have helped some writers clarify what they were already thinking and feeling. (Something’s not right with storytelling.) I’ve already heard that it’s […]

Let’s have a little dance (in the kitchen)

Long-time followers of the blog will know that I’ve done some lyric writing (for Emily Hall and True Bypass, among others). Most recently, I’ve been writing with the extremely talented and funny Will Grove-White of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. His credits include Fleabag and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. We wrote this during […]

How to Tell a Story to Save the World

A little advance warning – tomorrow the Writers Rebel website will start serialising a short book I wrote during lockdowns 1, 2 and 3. It’s called How to Tell a Story to Save the World. You may have seen a version of it here already, as a lecture I gave to Birkbeck MA and MFA […]

The Seven Deadly Sins of Writing

Let’s be clear – I’m not casting the first stone. The first draft of this was called ‘Nine Ways I Have Written Badly’. I am certainly not without sin. And as they say in therapy groups, ‘If you spot it, you’ve got it.’ Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa, etcetera.   Pride Pride (as any good […]

Starting to Write 7 – Adding depth to your characters (Lockdown Version)

Welcome back. Well done for coming so far. That proves you’re developing as a writers. Writers stick with their writing. You now have three characters you’ve written about – the child, the grown-up and the person in disguise. Perhaps you based them on people you know. Or maybe you completely imagined them (everyone works in […]

Writing and Shit – part 47 – What has happened in between then and now?

This is important. This is one thing that you can often forget. (I do.) You will have a clear idea of then (the time of the action) and a clearish idea of now (the time of the storytelling), but you won’t think enough about what the events that have taken place in between then and […]

Writing and Shit – part 46 – When is then?

The simplest form of then is a date. If you put down 13th November 1866 at the top of the first page, your job afterwards (unless you’re writing steampunk or time-travel fiction) is only to include in the story what really existed on or by that date. Supposedly. The same goes for 13th November 2019. […]

Writing and Shit – part 45 – When is now?

The simplest approach to writing a story is to say that the now of the narrator is the now the writer is in – the today they inhabit. And, of course, being to do with time, this immediately becomes extremely complicated. Novelists feel most powerfully, and sometimes damagingly, the effects of making now the day […]