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Incite and Excite

March 30th, 2018

Plot, suspense and conflict are probably the terms which are most familiar to those who write fiction, and to some readers. Less familiar but in many ways just as important as these elements of story is what is termed the inciting incident.

It’s the inciting incident which gets the story going and is crucial to what happens in the whole tale. It is something which will be of interest and will hook the reader so that he or she wants to read on, find out what happens, and how things will end.

The idea of the inciting incident is most easily illustrated by reference to two of the most popular genres of fiction: crime and romance. In nine out of ten crime novels the inciting incident will be the committing of a crime or finding that a crime has been committed and then the engaging of someone (often a detective) to solve the crime. Read the rest of this entry »




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Hooked-up In Your Writing

March 23rd, 2018

First, thanks to Sherry for last month’s blog. The thing that I found most interesting was her suggestion of experimenting with different word-lengths to find what suits your idea best. Many people sit down and if they’ve decided to write a 2000-word short story, that’s what they go for. If they’ve decided to write 500 words, that’s what they write. But there can be so much to gain from a little experimentation – making sure that your story is written in the right number of words to do it justice. There’s no point dragging out a pithy, epigrammatic idea to thousands of words or condensing a character-reliant, romance down to a summary. I get so frustrated when I start watching a series on TV, think the set-up is good and then gradually realise that what’s being told in six episodes would have been better kept to four. I don’t want to waste two hours of my life on padding! Read the rest of this entry »




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Gone In A Flash

March 16th, 2018

I don’t consider myself to be a ‘flasher.’ In fact, when I first heard the words ‘flash fiction’, I didn’t know what was meant. I’d seen something (on Twitter probably) called ‘Bath Flash’ and thought it was a cleaning product rather than a writing competition. But I was intrigued. I wanted to know what it was.

I discovered flash fiction is stories under 1000 words. It goes smaller. Some flash says 500 words or less, other flash hovers around the 300-word mark. Then there are Drabbles: 100 words or less. Some micro-fiction goes further. Whatever the miniscule word count, I was struck by the challenge of writing a complete story in so few words and thought I’d give it a go. Read the rest of this entry »




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Student Only Letter Writing Competition Winner

March 13th, 2018

A couple of times a year we run a student only competition with a £25 prize. Our latest one was to write a reader’s letter featuring an animal and send it to us with a photograph.  We had a wonderful response with lots of lovely pictures of beloved pets and other animals. There were also some serious ones about how human behaviour can have devastating results on the animal kingdom. It was hard to choose a winner but this one from Belinda Daly made us laugh. We hope you enjoy it.

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Underneath The Arches…

March 8th, 2018

First, thanks to Amanda for last week’s blog. More and more people that I know are now blogging for local companies  – garden centres, delis, private dentists, even solicitors. Sometimes they do it for free for the exposure it gives them and to increase the hit rate on their own personal blogs. Sometimes they do it for a fee (though I don’t know anyone who earns a great deal per blog – certainly not enough to give up the day job). But it does bring in some extra money in these cash-strapped times and, more importantly, it can lead on to other things.

Moving on… there don’t seem to be many openings for people who write plays but Matchstick Theatre are looking for new work that they can perform. They are a small, independent theatre in South East London set up in late 2015. They are aiming to put on over 15 new plays in the next 12 months. They have been performing in tunnel arches and at festivals around London and are about to open a new arts and theatre space in Deptford. This sounds quite an interesting opportunity – for more details of what they are looking for, why not visit their website? Read the rest of this entry »




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