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Writers' Toolbox

A SMATTERING OF STUPID WRITER TRICKS

These tips come from the blog site ‘Terrible minds’ written by Chuck Wendig. Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He talks a lot about writing. And food. And the madness of toddlers. He uses lots of naughty language – be warned. But he gives GREAT advice so it’s worth reading. A simple formula for writing: take the story from high intensity (action, argument, manifest tension, drama) to low intensity (dialogue, simmering tension, concerted character development). Nothing should be without tension, and conflict should carry throughout. A film like Die Hard does this well — period of calm, then period of action. Calm, action, calm, action. You can play with the timing and the length of these sections, too. Requiem for a Dream does slow, fast, slow, fast, too. But as it goes on, the slower periods begin to winnow. The sharp, fast, nasty patches get sharper, faster, nastier. The last ten […]

Ideas On Characterisation

An interesting article from The Writers Workshop UK. Characterisation – the task of building characters – isn’t easy. But if you’re struggling to build characters with real life and vigour, just apply the techniques and examples on this page. If you do follow them correctly, we can pretty much guarantee that your characterisation will be just fine! Know what kind of character you are writing There are roughly two types of protagonist in fiction. One is the everyman or everywoman character, plunged into an extraordinary situation. Harry Potter, for example, comes across as a fairly ordinary boy, albeit that he’s a wizard. Likewise, Bella Swan (in Twilight) always thought she was ordinary, until she started to fall for this slightly strange guy … The second type of character (rather less common, in fact) is the genuinely extraordinary character who would make things happen in an empty room. Bridget Jones is […]

21 Ways to Fuel Your Story With Suspense

by bestselling author and writing authority Elizabeth Sims. She’s the author of seven popular novels in two series, including The Rita Farmer Mysteries and The Lillian Byrd Crime series. She’s also the author of the excellent resource for writers, You’ve Got a Book in You: A Stress-Free Guide to Writing the Book of Your Dreams, published by Writer’s Digest Books. 1. Point a finger. Mary Renault’s historical novel The Persian Boy starts with a cataclysm: The death and destruction of the protagonist’s family and home. Before dying, his father screams the name of his betrayer. Well, guess who the Persian boy will meet up with later … much later? This powerful scenario can work to create and maintain suspense in any genre. Any kind of betrayal will do: financial ruin, a broken heart, a lost opportunity. 2. Pull a false alarm. “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” is not only an […]