Monday 28 October 2013

Writing The Spooky Scene


We’ve all read stories where we get a weird creepy feeling even though not much is happening on the page. No monsters jumping out, maybe just someone hears a noise, sees something out of the corner of their eye and it’s enough to give you the willies.

But when you try to write a scene full of psychological horror it’s not as simple as putting the character in a spooky environment and letting the reader’s imagination do the rest.

Monday 21 October 2013

Modern Storytelling


Predictability stems from familiarity. You know what’s coming next before because you’ve seen it before and you know where it’s going.

But familiarity is also a basic part of storytelling.

Good versus evil, boy meets girl, monsters in the dark — these sorts of stories have been told in one form or another since we developed the ability to communicate.

So, how do we write stories that satisfy our need for certain types of narratives, and at the same time make them seem fresh and original?

Monday 14 October 2013

Strong Character Is Strong?


In fiction, characters who show themselves to be strong are considered to be appealing to readers. But what exactly counts as strength and what doesn’t?

When it comes to female character this is an especially contentious subject, the main criticism being that “strong women” in books and movies are often just aping what a man would do.

Violent, aggressive, uncompromising, these are all seen as male traits.

But the thing that make a strong character strong, and makes for a weak character when absent, is the same for males and females. And it has little to do with how badass someone is.

Monday 7 October 2013

A Nice, Ripe Story Idea


Sometimes a story idea comes fully formed, or at least with enough detail of where it needs to go that you can’t wait to get writing.

Other times a character or a setting makes a strong enough impression on your imagination that you feel like you have the starting point of a story, but beyond that you have no clear indication of where to take it.

If you start writing with not much more than the germ of an idea it might work out, inspiration might strike when you need it—some writers indeed are only able to work in this fashion—but most people will struggle to fill three hundred pages off the back of a vague notion, even when that notion is full of potential. And there’s nothing worse than getting a hundred pages in and realising you’ve run out of steam.

So, how can you fatten up your idea, getting it into the kind of condition that means the ideas will lead you one to the next, rather than you having to force yourself to strain your brain to come up with stuff?
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