Time for another post of me rambling inanely about writing. As usual, I’m hesitant to give any definitive opinions about what does and doesn’t make for a good story start, so I’ll just do as I normally do and ramble through different ways you can open, and my thoughts on them. And as usual, I’m just some random person who’s not yet managed to get published, so my opinions are of no more value than anyone else’s, and less value than some people’s.
So, a pretty vital part of writing a story – or anything – is the beginning. If you don’t grab people at the start then they don’t have any reason to read on, and a promise of ‘it gets better’ won’t help very much. People can’t be expected to read something they don’t like in the hopes that they may eventually start liking it. They sometimes do; I’ve ended up liking some things that I initially had to force my way through. But I’ve also put books down because they didn’t catch my interest fast enough. Whether or not I keep on going depends on my mood and what else I happen to have on hand that I could be doing. And I don’t think any writer wants to rely on readers being in a charitable mood and having nothing else to do.
Continue reading “Beginning a Story”
This post is about a walk from Linton Falls to Hebden, along the river Wharfe.
Linton Falls are a bit away from the main body of Linton. Well, there’s an entire chunk of the village just completely separate from the rest of it, which is where the falls are. There’s a car park here, which is a handy starting point for the walk.
Starting with your back to the car park you go left along the road, until you reach a path going down on your right. This leads first to a little packhorse bridge, which you ignore if you want to cross the falls, but it is a nice little bridge, and I always feel a need to photograph it when I pass by that way. Anyway, you turn right and continue along until you reach the falls, which have a much bigger bridge going across.
Continue reading “Linton to Hebden”
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”