Posted in Uncategorized, Writing

Thornton-in-Craven to Barnoldswick

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.

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Posted in Uncategorized, Writing

Character Flaws and Weaknesses

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.

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Posted in Uncategorized, Writing

Bad Implications

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.

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Posted in Uncategorized, Writing

Ending a Story

In which I ramble about the different types of endings a story can have, and my thoughts on them. I have expressed some of these thoughts previously, I realise that. But they fit here too.

I guess the most obvious thing to bring up is happy vs not-so-happy vs downright depressing endings. I am the sort to like happy, or at least happyish endings. My thinking is that books are a form of entertainment, and I like my entertainment to leave me in a good mood. But different people like different things, and I can appreciate a well written downbeat ending.

I think what’s really important is that the ending feels like something that has actually been worked towards. Much as I prefer happy endings, if I’m reading a book and it’s just dark and depressing right up until the last page and then suddenly it’s all happy, then that’s a bit rubbish. And on the flipside, things shouldn’t just go depressing at the end for the sake of being edgy. Yes, I know in real life stuff happens out of nowhere, fortunes can change very suddenly, but fiction isn’t real life. Narratives generally – I say generally because I rarely like to dismiss something entirely out of hand – require some sort of conclusion, and for it to be a satisfying one, it has to feel worked towards. Just because something can happen in reality, doesn’t mean it can work in a story. I feel this applies especially when it comes right at the end and you don’t have to deal so much with the fallout. That’s the difference; a story has a conclusion, reality just keeps on going.

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Posted in Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing

Poetry – The Door

I want to close the door to my heart
I want to barricade it.
No arrow, bullet nor poison dart
Will ever get inside.
I don’t want anyone else to love
Anymore people to lose,
I wish I could ignore people’s shoves
And never let them in.

But someone always slips inside
Somebody always breaks through
I want to stay cold, but I guess
I’ll always be a fool.

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing


To state the obvious, as I believe I am rather good at doing, the beginning of any piece of writing is the first draft. Sometimes, it’s also the end, either due to unwillingness to redraft, or just because the writer doesn’t consider it salvageable.

There are different ways of going about creating a first draft. Some people like to plan it all out, make an outline to follow, whereas others just go for it, maybe with a rough plan in their head, but nothing on paper, and write it all straight out.

I’ve traditionally been part of the latter group. Sometimes I’ve just made it all up as I go along, while sometimes I’ve had a start and an end point in mind, and maybe a couple of other things I want to happen at some point. I’ve held the view that it’s easier to write when there’s not a set of stepping stones to work by, and that the extra effort that will almost inevitably be required to revise a first draft written this way is worth it for getting it out.

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