Writing Tips and Westcountry Ramblings

August 20, 2017

The old debate about Shakespeare’s sexuality was in the news again recently (it’s August). It all stems from his sonnets. In the 16th and 17th century, sonnets were a popular poetic form; romantic and usually cheesy.

Shakespeare turned that on its head with a serie...

August 13, 2017

I’ve posted before about poetic forms. They’re a great exercise for writers and a breeding ground for ideas. They’re fun too. One form is the villanelle. With its repeated use of two lines, it employs the power of repetition in five three-line stanzas and a final four-...

August 9, 2017

There’s a flow to writing fiction. When it’s going well, your imagination transfers smoothly from the right side of your brain through your fingers to the page. You’d be daft to interfere with that creative momentum by overthinking. But they’ll be mistakes and omission...

July 28, 2017

‘Just finished reading The Girl on the Train,’ he tells you. There’s a pause and you can’t help yourself, ‘What’s it about?’ you ask. That’s when you cross your fingers and hope you get the short version. What you’re really hoping for is the story not the plot, and the...

July 22, 2017

Stories end at ‘happy ever after’. Why?  Because readers want rocky roads of drama not sweetness and light. You can overdo the drama (think Eastenders) but, essentially, when reading a script, novel or poem, readers want their emotions stirred. Conflict and action are...

July 15, 2017

Genre categorises. It labels style and form. Literature has three genres: poetry, prose and drama (scripts). Within each of those over-arching genres, there are sub-genres and sometimes sub sub-genres, e.g. prose fiction/crime/who-done-it. Blame Aristotle (him again) h...

July 6, 2017

Getting your novel published is easy (you can do it yourself) but that’s not what authors want: they want readers, and in a market full of great and established writers, that’s the hard part—not impossible, though. Successful new writers emerge all the time but that’s...

June 28, 2017

Rhetoric is the art of persuasion through manipulated language and is as old as language itself. Aristotle, writing about rhetors (orators) and less cynical than I am, thought that the best orators detected ‘the persuasive aspect of each matter.’ Maybe he didn’t mean s...

June 20, 2017

There are enough poetic forms to keep a rhyme junkie happy for a lifetime but, as the point of this post is how to use poetic form to improve our prose through figurative language, I’ll keep it simple.

Firstly, 'line'. Poetry is made up of short lines but how short is f...

June 14, 2017

Imagery, figurative illustration, is the protein of prose. Metaphor, a comparison rather than literal description of something (anything), is a tool writers use to evoke it. If made overtly by adding such as ‘like’ or ‘as’, it becomes a simile. For instance, ‘a broodin...

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martin@martindinham.co.uk

Location: Exeter, Devon.

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