April 20th, 2015
Looking through some old issues of E-Zee Writer last week, I came across an article by Heather Cooke called Points Of View. It’s about the different voices we use telling stories – a fine little piece. In it, Heather very succinctly describes universal, multiple and single viewpoints, as well as exploring the differing qualities of single and third person narration. Now, that stuff may all seem fairly obvious to you, but reading her article took me back to the early days of my (still unfinished) fantasy trilogy, and a particular problem … Read the rest of this entry »
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February 16th, 2015
Imagine you’re working on story which opens with the view of a white farmhouse beside the sea. In the foreground there’s a beach, and mountains in the distance. How would you present that scene? Before getting in to any kind of narrative, how do you go about painting the picture? Clearly, there’s lots of decisions to make, and lots you need to know. What season are we in? What time of day is it? What’s the weather like? etc. Read the rest of this entry »
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January 23rd, 2015
Why is a carefully worked out plot both necessary and popular in any short story or novel? My contention is that the answer to this question is quite simply that the progression of a plot in a story follows or reflects a similar pattern to the development of the main events in almost everyone’s life. Subconsciously we are attuned to be interested in plots – and perhaps need them.
Let us take what is probably the most common and familiar plot in fiction from crime stories, romances, adventure stories and even literary stories. In these stories there is invariably a main character (a protagonist) who has some aim to fulfil, some crime to solve, a partner to find, success to achieve, a battle to win – and so on. To make the story interesting, obstacles must be put in the way of the protagonist. He or she must struggle to be successful in whatever the enterprise is. Suspense must be created as the reader wonders how the obstacles will be overcome. The protagonist is likely to be in conflict with others who may wish to prevent his or her success. There will be setbacks and the final one (the climax) will be especially dramatic. Assuming that the protagonist is successful in whatever the enterprise was, the ending of the story will be happy. If failure occurs, then we have a tragedy. Some stories end more neutrally. Read the rest of this entry »
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January 9th, 2015
The success of Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Fault In Our Stars, to name just a few has made YA a hugely popular genre, and not just with teens. Many adults enjoy reading YA books too, wanting a more imaginative and emotional read than adult fiction often offers them. You’ve only got to look at the bulging shelves in the YA section of your local bookstore to see how varied this genre is. A lot of the books are the familiar black and red covers of the vampire stories that Twilight made popular, others are dystopian battles in far flung worlds or set in a future time or issue led stories about teenagers coping with cancer or death. Alongside these are romances, contemporary light-hearted satires and humorous dairy accounts of teenage life. Many writers are now wanting to tap into this potentially lucrative market and wondering how to go about it. Read the rest of this entry »
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December 5th, 2014
Research is all well and good, and a vital part of preparing a novel, but nothing beats writing about what you know. That knowledge you have about a particular topic is the best tool a writer has. When I first thought about this I almost resigned myself to writing some kind of story regarding the law as I’m trained as a criminal lawyer. But one of the points of writing, for me, is to escape: I wanted a relief from my day job – not to absorb myself in the law even further.
So then I thought about my upbringing – I grew up in a Vicarage as the daughter of a very eccentric vicar and I realised that my whole upbringing in that unusual setting was the perfect fodder for writing, particularly as there were lots of aspects about Vicarage life that were the polar opposite to general expectations. I’ve now published my first novel – ‘Christmas at the Vicarage’ – and I’m already writing a second book on the same theme.
That’s not to say I write exclusively about life in a Vicarage but I’ve tried previously to start novels about subjects I’m not so familiar with and found I could only go so far with them. With a topic I know inside out, there is always material there for me.
The same goes for writing in a style that’s ‘you’. It can be tempting, sometimes, to emulate other authors you love and, though my true style has similarities with Rosamunde Pilcher (my favourite writer), I feel I’ve found – over time – a voice and style that’s truly mine. Again, this makes it easier to keep the book’s momentum going and I think readers can really appreciate a voice that’s genuine, too.
So my advice: write about what you know, in a way that’s ‘you,’ and you can’t go too far wrong.
Rebecca Boxall was born in East Sussex in 1977 and currently lives in Jersey with her husband and two children. She read English at the University of Warwick before training as a lawyer and she also studied Creative Writing with The Writer’s Bureau. Her first novel – ‘Christmas at the Vicarage’ – is available in kindle and paperback form on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rebecca-Boxall/e/B00OGLLRAG/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1415039239&sr=8-2-ent. She also has a Facebook page – Rebecca Boxall – Writer
Author: Diana Nadin
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