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Tough Old Game

Meeting a writers’ group was always like sticking her hand in a lucky dip. The commissioning editor never knew what to expect. She cast her eye around the table of earnest faces of which only a couple looked over thirty

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Posted in Saturday Hooptedoodle

Greater minds: John Joseph Adams on the art of short fiction titling

Prolific editor John Joseph Adams wrote his thoughts on what makes a good title. Short stories need longer titles than novels, as they stand without cover art. The best titles hook attention with tension. Other approaches are to use slang

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Posted in Greater minds, Wednesday Pontification

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: 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

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

Greater Minds: George RR Martin interviews Stephen King

George RR Martin interviewed Stephen King in Albuquerque. Their early influences, particularly HP Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. Stephen King submitted his first story at 12 and got his first acceptance at 19. They both believe that true evil is

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Posted in Inspirations, Wednesday Pontification

12 Things I Noticed While Reading Every Short Story Published in 2014-15 by Kelly Luce

‘It’s hard to write a compelling, original piece of fiction based on a real experience of doing drugs with your friends’, says Kelly Luce. As an editorial assistant for the O. Henry Prize, she read every piece of fiction in

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Posted in Reblog

Article on Dynamic Description

Mary Jaksch has some interesting things to say on the art of dynamic description, which is well worth a look for any aspiring fiction writer. WordPress won’t let me reblog it, but it’s on her Write to Done blog.

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Posted in Reblog
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