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 […]

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 […]

Patience, and some useful quotations about it and other subjects (for writers and readers)

For a long while, Patience was going to have an epigraph – on the first page of the novel; before ‘1979’ and ‘Please be patient with me’. But I cut it. It was this Franz Kafka aphorism: There are two cardinal human sins from which all others derive: impatience and indolence. Because of impatience they […]

Writing and Shit – part 11 – Make it wronger

I am now going to give you a second definition of a story that, I hope, will from now on, forever after, make it easier for you to write stories that don’t just start but that go on through exciting, intensifying middles and reach satisfying, unpredictable ends. The second definition doesn’t undermine or contradict the […]

Writing and Shit – Part 9 – Never do only one thing at a time

Welcome back. You have now – from inside you somewhere – dug out the three elements of a story. It should be one that you wouldn’t have considered writing, before starting this guide. Why? Because with each exercise, in each case, I have nudged you toward doing more than one thing at once. NEVER DO […]

Writing and Shit – Part 1 – What Type of Writer Are You?

Either/Or/Or I am guessing you are one of three sorts of writer. Does this sound like you? You have hundreds of ideas. You have dozens of opening sentences. You have lots and lots of half-stories. You have a few stories that have even reached what you once hoped was the end, but which turned out merely […]

Impatience – A short story

Today, some good news – a short story of mine, ‘Impatience,’ has been longlisted for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award. It’s the impatient version of my novel, Patience, which will come out in August 2019. The story is very similar, in both, but also – I hope – radically different. Readers who are curious about […]