Robert McKee Thriller Day – part 2

So, in the previous post I only got as far as the introduction in my summary of the McKee Thriller day. Here is part 2, in which the crime is committed and the protagonist victimised . . . Antagonist is key When writing crime stories, it turns out you always start by creating the perfect … Continue reading Robert McKee Thriller Day – part 2

Robert McKee Thriller day – part 1

It was almost a month ago now, but I've finally gotten around to posting about the Robert McKee Thriller day. There is quite a deal to summarise, so I've decided to divide it into a few sections for ease of digestion. This is part 1. First off, I should say that I decided to attend … Continue reading Robert McKee Thriller day – part 1

WriMoFoFo wrap-up

I learnt some things about my writing process over the past 30 days of the WriMoFoFo challenge. The first is that I can actually push myself to let the story come out and 'write badly' if I put my mind to it. I kept telling myself that it didn't matter if the dialogue was bad, … Continue reading WriMoFoFo wrap-up

Why research is important

Anyone who knows anything about astronomy knows that comets tend to arrive in our skies for several weeks, sometimes months. This is certainly the case with Halley's Comet, which I remember seeing on a wonderful clear morning (~4am) in March 1986, while on a school hiking expedition in the Victorian high country near Mt Bogong.  The viewing … Continue reading Why research is important

Where to start? The first chapter

Being in the early stages of a new novel, I've been thinking a lot about openings and first chapters. They are both essential to get right for different reasons: the opening (first couple of paragraphs) needs to immediately engage the reader, while the first chapter kicks off the story and generally provides the hook. Most writers spend a phenomenal amount … Continue reading Where to start? The first chapter

Bad decision vs stupid decision

One of the undisputed rules of storytelling is to hurt your characters: the protagonist must either fail to achieve a goal and in so doing make things worse, or achieve that goal at a cost that outweighs the benefit. If the writer is doing it right, in most cases things spiral out of control because … Continue reading Bad decision vs stupid decision

Non-linear narrative in fantasy

One of the aspects of fiction writing that I've had to work hard on over the years is how to structure a good story. For many writers this comes naturally, but I started with an interest in worldbuilding, high fantasy concepts and prose, which alone do not a good story make. I found out the hard way, … Continue reading Non-linear narrative in fantasy

Why I write fantasy

Literary agent Rachelle Gardner recently ran a readership poll on her extremely popular blog and has now published the results. Of particular interest to me (and her, as it turns out) is that 26% of writerly survey respondents write science-fiction/fantasy (SFF), making it the most popular represented genre. The next most popular was general/'non-genre' fiction (21%), followed … Continue reading Why I write fantasy

How many points of view?

A hot topic at today's pub writing session (in the gaps between writing) was point of view (POV) -- specifically, how many points of view are optimum in a novel? This is actually rather pertinent when it comes to 'epic' fantasy, in which genre it has become quite common to write from several character POVs, often up … Continue reading How many points of view?

‘What if?’ and the art of pessimism

One afternoon recently, I found myself contemplating 'what if?', and it struck me that my thoughts were tending towards the pessimistic. (What if I let the dog off the lead and he ran onto the road? What if I chopped my finger off with the secateurs through carelessness? ...) But then I realised that this is what … Continue reading ‘What if?’ and the art of pessimism