Starting to Write 2 – What does a story need? (Lockdown Version)

Exceptions I’m going to be making some strong statements about how stories work and what they they need. There are exceptions. There are always exceptions. I know this. And you can spend your time trying to think of exceptions. ‘But what about…?’ Or, you can take my statements on trust. You can try them in your […]

9 Things You Need to Write a Novel (COVID-19 Version)

But right now a lot of people, and I’m guessing that includes you, are going to have a lot of spare time – or potentially spare time. You can use this positively. You can learn to do something you’ve always wanted to do. But I suspect that a lot of you are going to go back to the novel you’ve already dreamed about or half-started or abandoned midway.

Writing and Shit – part 35 – If you want to be published, you mustn’t write for the dead

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 […]

Writing and Shit – part 30 – The horror! The horror!

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 […]

Writing and Shit – part 27 – Come on, that’s just not realistic

BUT THAT JUST WOULDN’T HAPPEN – IT’S NOT AT ALL REALISTIC Oh dear. It’s like Mr But has taken over the section titles. He’s making a bid for total power. Mr But has more to say. I’m going to let him speak for as long as he wants: You’re taking examples from Hollywood movies – […]