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Greater Minds: When writers wrote their writing tips

Elmore Leonard’s ten rules of writing are widely quoted. In 2010, 28 other authors offered their own rules for the Guardian. The value of technical rules depends on whether you’re trying to do what the rulemaker does. There are some

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Posted in Greater minds, Wednesday Pontification, Writing

Inspirations: Can we bomb our readers into euphoria?

We use horror and suspense in fiction because people love to be afraid. JT MacCurdy described psychological responses to being bombed during World War Two. ‘Near misses’ were emotionally devastating, but ‘remote misses’ made people feel invincible. Does reading or

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Posted in Inspirations, Wednesday Pontification, Writing

Greater minds: Lauren Beukes on writing the other

Lauren Beukes wrote an article on writing diverse characters. She described the reading and conversation she used to research Zoo City. To write a character from a different culture or subculture, we need to vicariously experience it. It would be

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Posted in Greater minds, Wednesday Pontification, Writing

Inspirations: A world of villainy

Actor Toby Jones narrated an hour-long podcast investigating the fictional villain. Villainous archetypes may be diluted over time in a ‘cycle of adjustment’. The performance of a particular actor may redefine a villain. A villain may be acting out a

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Posted in Inspirations, Wednesday Pontification, Writing

The but balance of critiquing

Most critiques take the format of positive-but-negative. Most critiquers make sure they include positive points even if they can’t find any. Different writers will give different amounts of attention to the positive and the negative. The writers that pays most

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Posted in Wednesday Pontification, Writing

Recommended blog: Nerine Dorman on dealbreakers in the slush

Nerine Dorman is a professional editor who has spent a fair amount of time wading through slushpiles, so when she says filtering is a dealbreaker for her, I pay attention. I can’t reblog directly, so click the link above for

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Posted in Reblog, Writing

Plot cannot be just one damned thing after another

John Mullan incorporated novels and TV series into a recent essay on plot. A good plot engages the reader by posing questions. The ideal plot hides its own structure in plain sight. Plot is often regarded as the domain of

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Posted in Wednesday Pontification, Writing

Greater Minds: George Orwell’s thoughts on Politics and the English Language

George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language is as relevant now as it was in 1946. Redefining a dangerous word can steal its meaning. Ill-considered ideas may be hidden behind bad prose, even from the writer themselves. Attention to the

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Posted in Greater minds, Wednesday Pontification, Writing

That One Story by Vanessa Fogg

‘Every writer has That One Story,’ says Vanessa Fogg. Me too, I thought. The difference is that she’s brave enough to be honest about what happened next. I’d recommend her post to anyone who has ever felt a rejection as

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Posted in Reblog, Writing

Lessons in storytelling from Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood is one of many versions of a similar tale found around the world. Many of the details vary, but someone always gets eaten by a predator disguised as their grandmother. Anthropologist Jamshid Tehrani suggests that the

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Posted in Inspirations, Writing
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