Archives for plotting

#FlashPIC 24 Cable #writingprompt #amwriting #writetip

Plotting is often the nuts and bolts part of writing a novel which a writer may be tempted to ‘allow to sort itself out’. But without plot, the reader will not want to turn the page. There are two key questions which keep the reader reading: Suspense [where the answer lies in the future], and Mystery [looking backwards into the past for the answer]. As part of the Writers’ BLOCKbusters series, here is a FlashPIC prompt to kickstart your plotting for a novel, short story or flash fiction story. This is the fixing of an industrial cable, a common type used in construction of a biggest buildings. It carries a heavy load. It is designed by engineers, specified by architects and installed by construction workers. As a plot device, the cable can supply the reason for a crucial turning point in the storyline. Imagine a setting which features a construction project or a famous building. Add characters [maximum three]. Assume that the cable in the photograph is faulty. Work out a plot in which the faulty cable causes something to happen. Now write your plot in no more than five bullet points. For example, here’s a rather simple idea: Architect designs
Read More

Categories: On Writing, Writers' BLOCKbusters and Writing exercises.

Plotting a series

Do you write standalone books, or series? Are series limited to particular genre? How do you go about plotting a series? JK Rowling [above] said in 2006 that the fact she’d sketched out the entire Harry Potter series had been criticised by some. “I think they thought it was very arrogant of me to write the end of my seven-book series when I didn’t have a publisher and no-one had heard of me.” Now she is series planning again, this time for up to seven crime novels featuring PI Cormoran Strike, who first appeared in The Cuckoo’s Calling. Second novel The Silkworm was published in 2014, and the third is said to be on the way. I don’t have a problem with that, do you? Is it arrogance, or just confidence in a good character and lots of story ideas? When indie/trad published author Hugh Howey [below], of Wool series fame, was asked at the 2104 London Book the secret to selling lots of books, he said: ‘write the next one’ and ‘write a series’. Howey and Rowling are prolific, they are obviously driven to tell stories. Rowling famously invented Harry Potter during a train journey, without pen and paper to
Read More

Categories: On Writing.

Author-to-author interview: MM Jaye & Sandra Danby

“How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?” interviewer MM Jaye asks author Sandra Danby. “No celebration planned, the end of the first draft is the beginning of the next stage of the writing process for me. I find it useful to take a break from the work in progress though, so at the end of the first draft I will write shorter fiction, perhaps some flash fiction, and get out more. Go to art galleries and the theatre! It’s also a great time to research the next book. I am always thinking ahead.” MM Jaye is curious about Sandra’s desk [above], her celebration plans, and how she plots her novels. Read the full WIP [work in progress] interview with Maria Jaye at MM Jaye Writes here.   ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press] Buy now And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: How do your celebrate writing ‘the end’? #authorinterview by @MMJaye http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1qD via @SandraDanby
Read More

Categories: Book Love, My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity' and On Writing.

How Kate Atkinson did it: created Ruby in ‘Behind the Scenes at the Museum’

How did Kate Atkinson create the character of Ruby in ‘Behind the Scenes at the Museum’ and thereby the central dilemma of the story? She tells all to Melvyn Bragg in an interview on ‘The South Bank Show’ [Sky Arts] MB: What did you set out to do with the character of Ruby? KA: I knew that she’d lost something, that for me was the spine of that book. MB: Did you know that at the very beginning, when there’s something at her back in the womb? KA: I went back and put it all in, it was never there. MB: Ruby is an identical twin, her sister Pearl died at three and Ruby blotted it out of her memory. KA: I had that sense that something had gone missing, I got to two chapters from the end and thought ‘I don’t know what she’s lost.’ What would be the worst thing I could lose, and I thought that would be me, so what’s the closest thing to me? And the closest thing to me would be an identical twin. So I went back and put the identical twin in throughout the book and that was very satisfying because it
Read More

Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

I agree with… Sarah Waters

Sarah Waters “I tend to write about houses quite a lot… I’m very interested in the dynamics of relationships [that occur] within houses and it seemed like a bit of a pressure cooker – bringing these two households together with their very different agendas in life and the class tensions between them, and adding this element of desire between the two women and seeing what happened.” [interview in ‘The Bookseller’ magazine, June 13, 2014] Waters is talking here about plotting her new book, The Paying Guests. It is set in London in 1922 and the house she refers to above is the villa in Champion Hill, Camberwell. Spinster Frances and her widowed mother Mrs Wray take in lodgers in order to make ends meet. From this, Waters spins her magic: a tale of class and sex. The quote reminded me immediately of a new creative writing book by my former creative writing tutor, Shelley Weiner. In Writing Your First Novel: A 60-Minute Masterclass, Shelley describes the ‘desert island’ plot used by writers such as Thomas Mann [The Magic Mountain], Agatha Christie in numerous whodunits, William Golding [Lord of the Flies] and Daniel Defoe [Robinson Crusoe]. According to Shelley, Ann Patchett,
Read More

Categories: Book Love and On Writing.