Sunday, December 22, 2013

Part 5 of 5 part story challenge

Final part of fantastic story prompt from Chuck Wendig - Flash Fiction Challenge - 200 words at a time - part five

Part 1 by   murgatroid-98    Part 2 -  LC Hu    Part 3Jeremy Podolski    
Part 4 (and story title) - Meagan Wilson
Part 5 by Yours Truly   

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Part 3 of 5 part story challenge

Part 3 of fantastic story prompt from Chuck Wendig
Flash Fiction Challenge - 200 words at a time - part three

A Gifted Wizard 

Part 1 by  Andrew Linder - Part 2 by  Caitlin McColl

Part 3 by yours truly - 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Part 2 of 5 part story challenge

Part 2 of fantastic story prompt from Chuck Wendig
Flash Fiction Challenge - 200 words at a time - part two read more

Millions of Cats

First 200 words by Rebecca Douglas

Things never worked out according to plan when there were cats involved.  I knew that, and I should have known better than to take the job.  Either don’t try to plan or stay far from cats, and I knew which would have been better for me.  But Keelan made it all sound so easy: we just had to pick up the consignment from Alpha-Centauri 4 and take them to Exilion 17. Four days, max, and two of them in hyperspace.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Part 1 of 5 part story challenge

Great writing prompt from Terribleminds - Read More

As the portal lights flash green, Betty says, "We could knock the Moseby kid out you know. Tranquilize him. Grab the whole stash."

It's 5.30 pm and we're about to make our last jump for the day. Everyone is exhausted. But still desperate to fill the weekly quota. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Weekly prompts and music

Just subscribed to Spotify.  And discovered great weekly prompts on Terribleminds. 

Headphones on listening to 'Sounds of Nature' - hoping my emotions, my writing, will flow out with music.

Taking baby steps. 

Just one Flash every week. Minimum. Doesn't matter how stupid and dull and boring it is. Just need to get down one Flash every week. 

And keep finding the joy in experimenting, in discovering what moves me.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Begin with the Antagonist

Advice from writer Kristen Lamb -

In the early stages of building a story, develop the antagonist first. Don't start off with the hero. Must experiment with this.  Also, the thing about antagonists ? Evil is more interesting than goodness. So maybe starting off with the more 'interesting' character gives you more writing inspiration ? 

With no clear antagonist, it is impossible to know the core story problem in need of resolution by Act Three. It’s impossible to plot (even good pantsers still have to know the story problem). It’s impossible to generate dramatic tension and what we are left with is melodrama….and a great way of getting STUCK at 30,000 words and wanting to kill ourselves and give up being novelists.

The antagonist is the beating heart of the story. He/She/It creates the crisis and the crucible that forces our protagonist to become a hero. If we don’t know the endgame, we have no idea how to insert roadblocks, create misdirection, setbacks, or drama. So if you keep getting stuck? It might not be you are lazy or fearful (I wasn’t either). It might be your foundation (the antagonist/core story problem) either isn’t there or it’s weak and unable to support the bulk of 65-100,000 words.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Short Fiction and The Twist

Finally. My brain understands why the twist is so powerful in short fiction. Why 'the twist' crops up again and again in articles and posts about short fiction.

Of course I would have figured this out earlier simply by reading stories with a twist and thinking about how/if those stories would work without the twist. Would've realised that . . . well, the story wouldn't work.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The pleasure of Poetry

Australian poet Katy Keys revealed at a writer's festival that she focused on poetry after realising she would never finish a novel.

Do some people have brains that will NEVER produce story outlines? 

I'd forgotten about the pleasure and power of poetry - 

Check out -

Saturday, April 6, 2013

George Saunders - I was Ayn Rand's Lover

For inspiration - fiction based on the famous author and philosopher Ayn Rand. 

There are 2 forces at work here. There's the language, the narrator's voice. A mature man looking back at himself as an infatuated 17 year old lusting after a woman because she's famous and powerful. Saunders uses the language of a teenager but with an older man's insight. The humour comes out of the gap between the infatuated boy and the older man.

Then there's the humour in seeing a powerful figure of authority being exposed as selfish, neurotic, ridiculous.

George Saunders: I Was Ayn Rand's Lover : The New Yorker:

'via Blog this'

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hook - THEN info dump

I'm reading chapter one of a Jeffery Deaver novel.

A security guard at a music school hears a scream. Instead of investigating the noise by himself, he looks for assistance. On the sidewalk he finds 2 young female police officers on their morning watch. The police women normally deal with shoplifters or traffic offences and aren't experienced with murder victims.

Deaver wants the reader to know how the 2 police officers came to be there. And I see how the tension is raised if the reader worries about their lack of experience, but he avoids opening the section with an info dump. He starts with the anxious guard talking to the police. Then he shows how they got to be standing together discussing a suspicious noise.

'You're sure it was screaming?'
   'Yeah . . . . No,' the security guard said. 'Maybe not 
screaming, you know. Shouting. Upset. For just a second or two.
Then it stopped.'
   Officer Diane Franciscovich, a portable working out of the
Twentieth Precinct, continued, 'Anybody else hear anything?'
   The heavy guard, breathing hard, glanced at the tall brunette
policewoman, shook his head and flexed and opened his huge 
hands. He wiped his dark palms on his blue slacks.
   'Call for backup?' asked Nancy Ausonio, another young patrol
officer, shorter than her partner, blonde.
   Franciscovich didn't think so, though she wasn't sure. Portables
walking the beat in this part of the Upper West Side dealt mostly
with traffic accidents, shoplifting and car theft (as well as holding
the hands of distraught muggees). This was a first for them - the
two women officers, on their Saturday morning watch, had been
spotted on the sidewalk and motioned urgently inside by the guard
to help check out the screaming. Well, upset shouting.
I can see how the info about the officers' background and the fact the guard has asked them for assistance would be dull writing without the tense exchange planted before it.

I hadn't fully realised until now that the device of 'first the hook, then the info dump' can used continually. Good writers always make sure the reader will be ready to absorb the info dump - even a small info dump.