Blog Archives

Greater Minds: Stephen King’s opening sentences

The first sentence turns a potential reader into a concentrating reader. Stephen King’s first sentences hook the reader with tension and introduce his voice. If the first sentence doesn’t do its job, later sentences won’t be read. King says, ‘to

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Posted in Greater minds, 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

Fitting writing around life

Unless we’re professional writers, we can’t always prioritise writing as much as we’d like to. Always have a current work in progress, even if you haven’t found time to work on it for a while. Critiquing and brainstorming ideas are

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Posted in Wednesday Pontification

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

The Cockburn Rules

Having pontificated about breaking rules last week, it’s only fair that I follow up by offering some rules to break. Searching for the positive When I started thinking about getting my stories published, I spent a lot of time poring

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Posted in Wednesday Pontification, 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

Seeking Critique

The story is now as good as I can get it on my own. It’s not as good as it can be. I’ve been through it so many times that I can’t tell the difference between what I was trying

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Posted in Story development, Writing

The first sentence

Let’s consider one of the most famous first sentences in English literature: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch

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Posted in Story development, Writing
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