Writing advice

If you thought “show, don’t tell” was the worst phrase in existence, think again. Let’s talk about voice and style!

People write blogs for lots of different reasons; to inform, to entertain, to educate, to advise, etc. But whatever its purpose, the writer wants, above anything else, to reach as many people as possible, to have a wide readership, and a regular fan base. You’d think that means writing engaging content people want to read, and you’d be right. So, with all that said, why on Earth am I writing about voice?! To all the budding writers out there, bear with me; I’ll try to make it as painless as possible.

Continue reading “If you thought “show, don’t tell” was the worst phrase in existence, think again. Let’s talk about voice and style!”

Writing advice

New writers beware – “show, don’t tell” is a phrase that WILL drive you insane (and with good reason!)

“Show, don’t tell” is up there in my list of least favourite things of all time, alongside wet socks, people not holding the door open for others, and writers that don’t use the Oxford comma. Saying it three times into a mirror makes your tutor climb out, and give you perhaps the worst feedback you can ever receive on an assignment/piece of work; “It’s alright.” Anyone that’s been on a writing course should agree with me here, and if you’re starting one, expect to hear it often. By often, I mean daily. It’s a phrase you’ll learn to hate, but don’t worry. Your tutors aren’t trying to make you hate them; they’re actually trying to teach you something!

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Writing advice

Why the most important page you’ll ever write is the first, and how to make it good

Picture the scene; you’re waiting for your date to arrive. This is your first time meeting them, and you’re sitting in a café wearing, and looking, your best. You’re probably keeping your eyes on the entrance. Finally, someone enters the shop, and you think to yourself – that’s them. They walk over to the table, sit down opposite you, and the first thing that comes out of your mouth is “Huh, you’re taller than I was expecting.” Congratulations. You had one chance to make a good first impression, and you completely blew it!

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Writing advice

The basic story structure – why it’s kinda like a sneeze, and why it’s (really) kinda important

We all know what a sneeze feels like. You start with the itch, you take a deep breath, say (or shout at the top of your lungs, if you’re like my dad) “achoo!”, then sigh with relief and say “phew, that felt good.” The most basic story structure is pretty similar, and no matter what stage of the writing process you’re at, it’s always worth remembering the fundamentals. Because, like advanced story techniques, you can’t sneeze while driving unless you know first how to sneeze (please be careful when driving and sneezing!!!)

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Writing advice

Characters, in a nutshell – where do they come from?

Despite what the post’s title may suggest, I’m not asking you to put your character in a literal nutshell and see what happens (although writing exercises, especially quirky ones, are wonderful tools that you should definitely do). Instead, rather like my post about settings, I’m going to take a more general look at the characters that inhabit your story; to begin by trying to find them.

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Writing advice

Setting or character – which comes first?

There isn’t any single aspect of writing that stands out as being the “most important”. Everything that goes into making the novel come to life has its value; take any one of them away, and the novel cannot exist. However, when it comes to starting out, I personally prioritise setting over character; after all, you can’t have smoke without a fire. You may do things differently, and that’s fine; let me explain my reasoning.

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Writing advice

Planning early, part two – the problems

A smart man once said, “you won’t get anything done by–oh wait, I did that already. Having a plan is a great way to ensure things like this don’t happen, but planning isn’t always the best thing to do early on. While I have already suggested why having a plan is a good thing, it can stop you from the actual act of writing. And, if you want to write a story, that’s a bad thing!

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