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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: The making of the anti-hero.

Between the hero and the villain lies the anti-hero. The anti-hero is a protagonist who is not a hero. Flashman was a successful anti-hero, if only because he was unapologetic about his villainy. Many villains would become anti-heroes if their

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Posted in Inspirations, Wednesday Pontification

Dialogue Like White Elephants

In Hills Like White Elephants, Hemingway shows the characters through dialogue. Very little of the dialogue refers directly to the conflict between them. The indirect approach is more powerful than a simple discussion would be. The dialogue is only as

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Posted in Writing

Introducing Characters with George and Lennie

Characters must be introduced with very few details. In Of Mice and Men, of George and Lennie’s introduction tells us what is important without a word of description. Putting contrasting characters together brings out the salient points of their personalities.

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Posted in Wednesday Pontification, Writing

Inspirations: Lies and how to spot them

Deception is an essential part of social interaction. People are detect lies better when they cannot see body language. Understanding what gives away a lie may help people to lie better. Fictional characters are more realistic when they are as

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Posted in Inspirations, Wednesday Pontification

Fractal tension over the red line

Today’s pontification, Fractal Tension, is posted as a guest blog at The Red Line. It’s well worth a look around The Red Line, home of short stories from around the world. Many thanks to the Red Line crew for the

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Posted in Notification, Wednesday Pontification, Writing

Inspirations: Does believing in a just world make the world less just?

People who believe the world is inherently just are likely to blame victims for their victimhood. The same people act to help victims when they can. Believing the world is just may help people to rationalise suffering they cannot alleviate.

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Posted in Inspirations, Wednesday Pontification

Inspirations: Your body language shapes who you are

The nature of an interaction can be gleaned from the body language alone. Describing a character’s pose can define their personality. Practicing a confident pose in private can increase confidence. What happens when someone is forced into a position that

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Posted in Inspirations, Wednesday Pontification

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

Greater Minds: The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler

Chandler critiques the ‘English formula’ of mystery fiction, based on puzzle solving, and credits Dashiell Hammett with a more realistic tradition. Hammett and Chandler started a distinctively American tradition in which the police were corrupt and the detective owed a

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Posted in Greater minds, Wednesday Pontification
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