Sometimes stories hinge on coincidences, and personally I think that’s fine. Sometimes. It depends on the size of the coincidences, the amount of them, and how they are used. I think you can get away with stretching plausibility a bit, but stretch it too far and readers just won’t buy it.
Now, some readers will likely be turned off by any coincidence being used to drive the plot along. But you can say that about a lot of things. You can’t please everyone; the aim is to try to keep a significant amount of readers happy. You want the majority of your readers not to get annoyed at you.
So, the size of the coincidences. I’ll give some examples of what I think is acceptable, and what might be pushing it a bit.
For one, let’s say you have two important characters just happening to bump into eachother at an opportune time. Why are these characters important? Do they have pre-existing links to one another, the villain, or any other important character, or does one or both of them only end up being important because of this meeting? If it’s the latter then it’s not even a coincidence, it’s just something that happens, if it’s the former, then it is. And I think that in many cases it could be an acceptable one. Could be. I’m going to be supremely unhelpful and point out that every story is different, and every writer has to make their own judgement call, taking the opinions of others they’ve let read the story into account.
Continue reading “Coincidences”
Should I tell you why I love you?
Well, I haven’t got a clue.
You’re selfish, cruel and vicious
There’s no love for me in you.
In fact, no love for anyone
Your heart must be made of ice
You do what you want, and let
Other people pay the price.
And it’s not like you can’t help it
This is how you choose to be
You’re blatantly a monster
And who knows that best but me?
Continue reading “Poetry – Should I Tell You?”
This post is about plot twists. A good plot twist can really elevate a story and make it truly memorable.
The emphasis is a good plot twist. What would I define as a good plot twist? Something that’s unexpected but not out of nowhere; on the first read you don’t see it coming, but on the reread you can spot the clues. Of course, even with a really good plot twist a discerning reader might see it coming, but if it was impossible to guess then you’d get the ‘out of nowhere’ problem. But if a reader is going to work it out, then it shouldn’t be easy for them.
I think one of the biggest things that causes badly done plot twists is that I think sometimes writers throw them in there because they feel they have to. You don’t want a story to be too predictable, but you don’t necessarily need a full on plot twist to achieve that. I think it depends on the kind of story it is, how long it goes on for. I couldn’t give any kind of specific thoughts of when a twist is and is not a good idea. I think most stories could work well with or without one, it’s just which way it would work better.
What this post is really going to be is me rambling about my thoughts on some popular plot twists until I run out of steam.
Continue reading “Plot Twists”
This post is about knowing who the audience for your writing is, and keeping that in mind. If you know who’s most likely to read your writing then you’re going to have a better chance at appealing to a wider audience.
Now, a lot of people say they write for themselves, which is fair enough. When you’re writing – or creating any kind of art – then it helps if it’s something you want to do. Writers get started writing because it’s something they enjoy. And even when you’re writing something that you aim to share with others, I think you should still write what you want to write, what you feel inspired to write.
However, if you want people to read, enjoy, and read more of your writing, you do have to consider your audience. Sometimes there may be a story that you’re really, really attached to, but that’s doesn’t necessarily mean anyone else wants to read it. If you want to pursue your writing as a potential career, it helps to learn to tell when that’s the case.
As always, I am not an authority here. I don’t actually know if the stories I have deemed as having potential to be liked by other people actually are any good. But I have been trying, and I have had to accept some of my stories as being hopeless in that regard. I’ll still work on them sometimes, for fun, but they really are just written just for me.
Continue reading “Writing to an Audience”
This is a walk from Thornton-in-Craven, in North Yorkshire, to Barnoldswick in Lancashire. Saying the counties makes it sound like further than it is, but they’re both right on the border. It’s just down the hill from Thornton-in-Craven into Lancashire, and Barnoldswick was in Yorkshire until they moved the borders a few decades ago.
Anyway, the walk. There’s more than one way you can walk between them; this post is about the one which takes you along the canal. It’s not the most direct route, but it’s a very pleasant one.
Thornton isn’t actually on the canal. You have to cross some fields first. From the main road, you walk up a bit called Cam Lane. You keep on going, past where the houses stop, then on down. You pass a farmhouse after a little bit; keep on going past that bit till you reach some more buildings. There’s a house on your left and some farm buildings on your right, and behind the farm buildings is your first field. You cross it on a diagonal, going forwards and right.
Continue reading “Thornton-in-Craven to Barnoldswick”
One important part of creating characters is giving them flaws and weaknesses. I doubt anybody who’s interested in this subject needed me to say that, but I did. Perfect, invincible characters are boring and unrealistic characters, and I think that’s something most people who write know. Even when a writer does fail to give a character any real flaws or weaknesses, I’d assume that they generally didn’t mean to. So I’m not going to ramble about that specific point. But I am absolutely going to ramble on this subject.
This post is about both flaws and weaknesses, because although they’re two different things, they both have the same purpose in making it harder for protagonists to reach their goals, and they’re often tied together. Originally this post was just going to be about flaws, but I quickly realised I would find it hard to talk about that without mentioning weaknesses. I think they go together anyway, and characters need both.
I’m sure I don’t really need to define what I mean by flaws and weaknesses, but I’m going to do it anyway, just for the sake of a coherent post. So when I talk about flaws, I mean aspects of a character’s personality that are less than desirable, and by weaknesses I mean things that they don’t have much ability for. And they often can be one and the same. For instance, a character’s flaw may be that they have a quick temper, and that could become a weakness because it could cloud their judgement, and an antagonist might take advantage of that. And if a character refuses to acknowledge their weakness, like if they insist on going into a fight despite having no ability in that area and actually being more of a hindrance than a help, that would be a flaw.
Continue reading “Character Flaws and Weaknesses”
This was going to be a post about morals in stories, then it became a post specifically about unintended morals, and that’s still sort of the gist, but I think I got a bit rambly about it, and wandered off a bit. I think ‘implications’ is the better word – hence, the title. I just thought I’d give a fair warning. Also, this is just me musing about this subject, these aren’t rules. I’m certainly no authority, it’s just my thoughts on things.
So yes, unintended morals. Some writers choose to use their stories to give a lesson, and others just come across like they were doing so, without meaning to. Sometimes this isn’t a problem, but others it is. How does this happen? Well, sometimes it’s just the writer’s opinions reflecting in their writing, which is something that I think will naturally happen, but when it comes to matters that are heavily debated, I don’t think you want to be wandering into that by accident. If you’re going to walk into marshes, you want to know you’re doing it and be properly prepared, not to just stumbled in.
Other times, you get books where I would assume the author does not actually believe in the ideas that are coming across, but they do come across. Books that garner a lot of negative attention often do thanks to some unintended implications. And ‘I didn’t mean it that way’ doesn’t really go very far as an excuse. It might stop people thinking you have certain opinions – and that is a might – but it won’t alter what you’ve written. Sometimes it’s not so bad, a slightly awkward implication isn’t so terrible a thing. But I have noticed some truly messed up morals in stories I’ve written, which fortunately weren’t shared with the world at large. But I know it can happen; when you’re focused on the story, you don’t always notice the implications of it.
Continue reading “Bad Implications”