Blog Archives

The Magnet’s Pupils

I swear, we only wanted a coffee until Phil set eyes on the barista. He walked into the place, took one look at her, then grabbed Andy and I and bundled us outside. “What d’you think?” “Huh?” Andy wasn’t the

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Posted in Story development

Describing Characters

Decide whether to take a descriptive or minimalist approach to describing the viewpoint. Pick a detail of physical description that sums up each character. Get any physical description in soon after a character is introduced so the reader incorporates it

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Posted in Story development, Wednesday Pontification, Writing

Setting 2: Invented places

You need to know more about the setting than you will use in the story. It’s harder to invent a setting than to research a historical setting. A map of the setting keeps it consistent. Using places I’ve been is

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Posted in Story development, Wednesday Pontification, Writing

Setting 1: Real places

Plausible settings help readers suspend their disbelief. Choose a setting that is distinctive and illustrates the theme of the story. Describe the setting through a few details. Collect places where a story can be set and consider which details to

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Posted in Story development, Wednesday Pontification, Writing

Character v Plot: A False Dichotomy

Spend any time around writers’ groups and there are certain conversations you can’t avoid having. Topping the list are debates over genre definitions, discussion of the comparative merits of traditional and self-publishing, and mystification about how certain authors have become

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Posted in Story development, Wednesday Pontification, Writing

The Rules and Creatively Breaking them

The rules of writing are a contentious concept. On the one hand, there is no definitive set of rules. On the other, there’s an enormous volume of advice and guidance that is often presented as canonical. There is a great

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Posted in Story development, Wednesday Pontification, Writing

Acceptance and publication

It may take a while, but if the story is good and you keep pushing it out there, someone is going to accept it. The second happiest moment in the life cycle of a manuscript is when the acceptance arrives.

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Posted in Story development, Writing

Submissions: The mechanics

Submission has got a lot easier since most markets moved from hardcopy to electronic submissions. Their guidelines can be relied on to explain the process, but there are still a few points of mechanics worth being aware of. Formatting the

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Posted in Story development, Writing

Submissions: The Strategy

Planning, writing and improving a story is a labour of love. Getting it published is anything but. It takes time, and a story can expect to get a lot of rejections before someone takes it on. It’s an exercise in

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Posted in Story development, Writing

Using Critiques

Being critiqued hurts. There’s no way around it. You’ve lavished time and love on your story, and you’re about to be told everything that’s wrong with it. Someone’s probably told you you’ll need a thick skin. As if that’s helpful.

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Posted in Story development, Writing
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