PLACES Welcome back. I hope you’ve been keeping well. We have already looked at written-about places in several ways. We know that a story happens because a person or thing is in the wrong place. (A story takes place.) And we’ve built an entire haunted house up, out of a flat white space, as […]
Cast your mind back to the recent and the twenty year-old books I asked you to pick out and read – it’s very likely that within the first five or ten pages of the recent one more takes place, and what does happens is faster. Scenes in movies have become shorter, scenes in stories have […]
Two important things that can happen in any scene are 1. that a person has a realisation or makes a decision, and 2. that someone acts on a decision – or just acts spontaneously without thinking (if you believe that’s possible).
Are you a writer who is in the shit with a particular story or novel? Send me your question, and I’ll try to give some helpful, practical advice. Be specific but try to keep it under 100 words.
If a reader doesn’t know a word, if they are forced to look it up in an online dictionary, it will stop them dead. It will break them out of the reading trance (I’ll write about this soon). And – almost certainly – it will them feel lacking in intelligence, stupid. It’s not a good […]
As last week’s blog went down so well (over 800 reads), I’ve decided to divert into a little more about punctuation – hoping for a similar reaction. This is something I wrote a while ago about how I see the difference between colons and semi-colons. In other news, Patience, my novel, has been shortlisted for […]
SYNTAX How long the unbroken paragraphs look, or how margin-hugging the dialogue is, are things the reader flashes on every time they turn a page. They are things they clock and judge in an instant. Assuming they’re not put off by either too great a density or too much white space, they will proceed into […]
Density isn’t something that often gets talked about, but it is one of the first things a reader notices about a book and one of the last things – sometimes years later – they remember about it. Writers dream of readers. They picture someone reading what they have written – if the writer is lucky, […]
We’ve dealt with our spaces and places, as they relate to story-time, now we need to deal with our time. This should be a lot simpler. Imagine a big invisible clock, hovering in the sky of our flat empty space. It’s not an ordinary clock, showing the hours of the day. It’s a countdown, and […]
Let’s spend a moment examining what story-time means for one particular genre: horror. (Some generalisations follow. Not all horror novels may conform, I realise.) The story-time of a horror novel depends upon a specific form of suspense, namely dread. Horror novels are dread-ful. But we can subdivide them in terms of microgenres, in terms of […]