Gabriela Blandy asked me about money, Substack, free writing and the future.
You mean you can analyse this stuff?
“What I am going to tell you makes explicit the mechanism of something that popular writers cannot afford (publicly at least) to admit can be made explicit or even that it has a mechanism.”
You’re writing something – anything. Who is doing the reading or listening? I’m asking you. Your answer to this may be offhand – Well, whoever happens to pick up or download my story. But even this seemingly simple answer has consequences. In addressing an extremely generalised audience, you will still make guesses about what they […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 – […]
WHAT IS A SCENE? Or, more usefully – WHEN IS A SCENE? Going back to our Winning dialogue, in which two people are both trying to win the argument, and so win the scene – there are only a very few ways this can play out. Underdog defeats Top Dog and becomes Top Dog (Change) […]
Writers are usually much better at spotting, and mocking, exposition in the work of other writers. In their own work, sections of disguised address to the reader (a.k.a. info-dump) are simply jobs that have to be done, one way or the other. It is a truth of writing that sometimes the ugly way is the […]