Writing Tips and Westcountry Ramblings

September 7, 2017

Point of View (POV), the perspective a work of fiction is written from, is more complicated than first-person (I/we), second-person (you/your) or third-person (s/he). There’s also who’s point of view. Is it to be the protagonist or antagonist, a lesser character maybe,...

August 30, 2017

All good fiction writing is about life, about characters suffering some sort of crisis. It might be a failing marriage, a zombie attack, an unsolved murder or something more subtle or crazy, but it will be about a life or lives the reader can believe in, turned upside...

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...

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martin@martindinham.co.uk

Location: Exeter, Devon.

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