Acting the part

Take top hat and tails from the above list. They have a seemingly magical effect on their wearer so that men not exactly renowned for their sartorial elegance suddenly find themselves holding their shoulders back and their stomachs in. Perched at a jaunty angle on their heads, the top hat provides the perfect finishing touch, conveying both style and breeding. The same is true of the full-length ball gown. Ladies who usually dress for comfort in tee shirts and jeans can find themselves...

Believe what you write

A tongue-in-cheek approach to romantic fiction simply won't work. In order to write convincingly, you must believe in your characters and be prepared to fall helplessly in love with the hero. This doesn't mean you can't bring humour into the story. Providing you are laughing with and not at your characters, you can make them and their situation as amusing as you wish. At the end of the day, however, you have to care whether or not your characters proclaim their love for one another and achieve...

Case Study Bill Takes A Practical Approach

Bill is a businessman in his late forties who travels extensively as part of his job both in the UK and abroad. The father of teenage children, he has had quite a chequered career, serving in the armed forces for a time and then as a prison officer. His past and present occupations have meant that he has learned how to relate to a wide variety of people on vastly different levels from all sectors of society. Consequently, he has developed the ability to predict how people are likely to react in...

Case Study June Makes Everything All Right

June is a cheerful person in her mid-twenties. The mother of two small children, she has an optimistic outlook on life and this is reflected in her characterisation. Unfortunately, this tendency always to look on the bright side means that her characters often lack depth and realism. She also finds it difficult to bring conflict into her stories, as she likes to make their lives run as smoothly as possible. Until she can overcome her desire to have everyone living happily ever after, her...

Combining action and dialogue

As we saw in the previous chapter, characters are not static. They move from place to place, wave their hands around, shrug their shoulders and stamp their feet. Their facial expressions change, they have endearing or irritating mannerisms and their body language can tell you almost as much about them as the way they actually speak. A combination of action and dialogue, as demonstrated in Passage B above, will bring far more realism and life to the characters than a string of 'he she said's.

Conforming or contrasting

The fact that the clothes your hero is wearing have him looking every inch the gentleman and your heroine's attire implies style and breeding is a major factor in characterisation. Whilst the tall, handsome, immaculately turned-out chap may fulfil the role of every woman's answer to her dreams, he could also be any one of the following a confidence trickster without a penny to his name a fashion-conscious young dandy, interested only in his own appearance a charming rogue, who overspends on...

Confronting writers block

It is arguable whether writers' block actually exists or whether it is simply brought about by the provision of perfect conditions in which to write. Fig. 14 Suggested headings for expenditure record. Fig. 14 Suggested headings for expenditure record. Fig. 15. Suggested headings for income record. Like our fictional characters, we will strive to overcome any obstacle in order to fulfil our ambitions to see our work in print. Remove those obstacles and we immediately yearn for distraction. We...

Consulting a specialist

Novels featuring amateur detectives are usually set against specialist backgrounds reflecting areas of their authors' own expertise. Ellis Peters' medieval monk, Brother Cadfael, for example and Jonathan Gash's roguish antiques dealer Love-joy are just two such successful fictional sleuths. In this type of novel, the fascinating backgrounds give rise to sub-plots and back stories which are as gripping to the reader as the crime being solved. If a new specialist amateur sleuth is to break into...

Creating Conflict

In order to understand the importance of conflict in a fictional tale, imagine the following scenario A beautiful, titled young lady is about to celebrate her eighteenth birthday. Her wealthy, happily married parents throw a party for her at their stately home. Her adored older brother telephones to let her know that he is bringing his best friend and partner in his successful law firm to the party. The best friend is the handsome heir to a fortune and a vast estate in the country. Their eyes...

Devising a storyboard

Putting it on computer gives you the freedom to alter it at will although it does help if the plan is in constant view in storyboard or chart form while you are working. Some authors use wipe-clean boards or self-adhesive notelets which can be moved around and discarded when necessary, whilst others prefer a large sheet of white paper, drafting the plan out in pencil, colour coding, erasing or crossing out items where necessary. Whichever method you select, once you have a plan to which you can...

Digging up the past

Ghostly characters are no different from any other protagonists and should be treated accordingly. You need to dig deep into their past so that their background offers an excellent reason for their current existence. Their past will also explain their attitude to the mortals they encounter. For the mortal characters, whether the ghost is frightening or friendly, the initial meeting must have an element of suspense - a creaking floorboard, sudden icy draught, a slamming door or window.

Discovering new worlds

We now know so much about our own solar system that, if you wish to write about inter-planetary travel, you need to go much further afield. Due to the vast distances involved, you have to find ways of preventing your characters from dying of old age before they reach their destination and there is a number of methods you can use 'warp' speed drives for your spaceship 'hyperspace' - a dimension where distance is reduced to zero a 'generation' starship, i.e. a moving, living colony in space.

Drawing maps

As with any other writing technique, in the hands of a skilled author, the use of this kind of detailed information can become integral to the tone and pace of the book and many writers can and do use it to great effect. The attention to detail award-winning novelist Ruth Rendell pays to the routes taken by her protagonists, emphasises rather than detracts from the atmosphere of her novels. She sometimes takes this one stage further by drawing a map or street plan of a location, as illustrated...

Drawing On Your Own Experiences

One of the first rules a would-be writer learns is to 'write about what you know'. If, however, this rule is taken too literally, few writers would ever gain the requisite knowledge to write an historical romance, murder mystery or science fiction novel. Far more practical is the advice from bestselling author Martina Cole to 'Write about what you know and if you don't know - find out'. You don't need to have lived in a previous century, be a murderer or travel in space to write genre fiction....

Driving Fast Cars And Wearing Fancy Clothes

Romance and glamour go hand in hand and if you intend to write romantic fiction, you need glamorous settings for your stories. Our story is set around the fast-moving background of a television news station. However, the worlds of high fashion, fast cars, thoroughbred horses and sporting champions also feature heavily in this kind of novel. No one wants to read about the love life of a garage mechanic and a secretary. Not, that is, unless the garage mechanic designs and builds revolutionary...

Eating and drinking sensuously

Eating is almost as important as sex in a romantic story. Meals are described in great detail and range from plain but wholesome simple fare to delicately presented gourmet dishes. For example, a romantic ploughman's lunch for two would consist of a fresh, French loaf, deliciously crusty on the outside, the soft, white middle thickly spread with creamy butter. The cheese will be firm and mature, served with a generous helping of tangy, home-made chutney. The whole thing will be washed down with...

Employing an amateur detective

For today's crimewriter, the gifted amateur detective in the style of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple is a thing of the past. Nowadays the amateur is usually someone who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Having stumbled across a crime, they become entangled in the events which follow and are forced to solve the mystery in order to extricate themselves from the situation. The attitude of the professional policeman in all of this is either one of outright hostility or downright...

Examining your motivation

Before you begin to write your life-story, however, it is worth examining exactly what your motives are, so ask yourself the following questions 1. Do I have a fascinating tale to tell 3. Do I need to confront my past in order to move on in my life 4. Do I wish to leave my family a record of my life 5. Do I want to give hope to others 6. Do I want to have my autobiography published

Explaining the inexplicable

Unlike fantasy, which features magical creatures such as goblins and gremlins within parallel worlds and time zones, science fiction explores the concepts and implications of space and time travel, scientific developments and theoretical possibilities. The premise you use need not be proven scientific fact but it must have a factual basis and it must be theoretically possible. Within these constraints, the science fiction writer can approach the genre from a variety of angles exploring the...

Falling for the flaw

The flaw may be physical, perhaps the heroine is a little too short, the hero just an inch or so too tall. Whatever you feel it takes to make them a bit more human than if they were perfectly proportioned. However, a physical flaw, whilst useful, only offers part of the picture. A rounded character will also have an emotional hang-up. Perhaps they are stubborn, proud, impetuous or absent-minded. These are the sort of characteristics that will at first exasperate and subsequently attract one to...

Finding a gap in the market

The majority of successful self-published books are non-fiction and invariably fill a gap in the market. For example, your business may involve travelling around the country but as you work for yourself, your budget may be very tight. Perhaps you have built up a personal directory of B & B establishments offering exceptionally good value for money. So many of your colleagues ask to borrow your directory that you realise it has potential as a saleable commodity. You obtain quotes from local...

Finding True Love

A romance is the story of a man and a woman who meet and fall in love against all the odds. The ingredients for a standard romance are attractive central characters a beginning, middle and happy ending obstacles designed to keep the hero and heroine apart a satisfactory conclusion, culminating in the promise of marriage. Romantic fiction is true escapism and great fun to write as you steep yourself in a vision of what life could be like if only all your dreams could come true. Most but not all...

Further Reading

Aslib Directory of Information Sources in the UK. 501 Writers' Questions Answered, Nancy Smith, Piatkus. Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus. Directory of Writers' Circles, available from Oldacre, Hor-derns Park Road, Chapel-en-le-Frith, High Peak, Derbyshire SK23 9SY. Tel (01298) 812305. Email oldacre btinternet.com Encyclopaedia Britannica 2007 Ultimate Reference Suite (PC Mac) CD-Rom. From Pitch to Publication, Everything You Need To Know To Get Your Novel Published, published by...

Going over old ground

The ongoing challenge for programme makers is finding exciting and original storylines and where a long-running soap is concerned, almost everything and anything has already been done. For a script to be considered, you need to be sure that it not only develops existing storylines but also has something fresh to offer a loyal audience. One useful method is to keep abreast of topical issues that can be woven into your scripts. These could be anything from the imminent marriage of a member of the...

Guiding and informing

For would-be travel writers, keen to master what is a highly specialised skill, travel guides such as the Lonely Planet series can be an excellent place to begin. Aimed at the independent, adventurous traveller, these practical guides offer their readers clear, down-to-earth information to support them with their journeys around the globe. At the time of writing, Lonely Planet are looking for authors who can meet the following criteria set out in the guidelines on their website Professional...

Having a conversation

One useful method of bringing your dialogue to life is to choose the pair you most strongly identify with from the list below and write a confrontational conversation between them dissatisfied customer unhelpful shop assistant unreasonable traffic warden irate motorist disinterested hospital receptionist frantic patient officious train guard exasperated commuter harassed shopper pushy elderly lady angry homeowner selfish neighbour. If, by now, you are in a flaming temper, calm yourself down by...

Having fun with your hobby

Michael Green is one author who has made a successful career out of the humorous aspect of his hobbies. His Coarse series is required reading for every weekend sailor, rugby player, golfer and amateur actor. With an innate ability to home in on the way the average person will go through hell and high water in the name of their favourite leisure activity, Michael's books keep you laughing from the very first line, as the opening to The Art of Coarse Sailing demonstrates. Every year I swear I...

Hotting up

In the following passage from Jonathan Gash's novel, The Judas Pair (Arrow Books), antiques dealer and amateur sleuth Lovejoy finds himself in mortal danger, when the villain sets fire to the thatched roof of his cottage. The shushing sound was the pooled noise of a million crackles. My thatched roof had been fired, probably by means of a lighted arrow. At this point, Lovejoy panics but his sense of self-preservation swings into action and he makes a rapid analysis of his situation I had to...

Imagining What It Would Be Like To Be There

Assuming that you've done your research and have sufficient information to write a detailed description of your character's surroundings, try the following test Picture yourself sitting in an armchair in your living room. It is around 7.30 pm in the middle of winter and you are reading a book. You have a drink beside you. Now imagine exactly the same scene in a previous century and then at a point of your choosing in the future. For all three scenes, answer the questions listed below 1. What...

Informing the public

Many successful autobiographies do more than tell the author's life-story. They also provide a documentary record ofhistorical incidents and procedures which may have been hidden from the public eye. An autobiography which performs any one of the following functions might well be of interest to an appropriate publisher. Describes a practice which has been concealed from the public, e.g. sending orphanage children to Australia. Details the author's recovery from a potentially life-threatening...

Interacting with one another

In the following extract from the psychological thriller Ladykiller by Martina Cole, a description of serial killer George Markham is given through the eyes of Josephine Denham, a colleague at work 'Mr Markham, have you five minutes to spare ' The voice of Josephine Denham broke into his thoughts. He turned in his seat to see her standing in the doorway, smiling at him. 'Of course, Mrs Denham.' His voice was soft and polite. Josephine Denham turned and walked back to her office. George Markham...

Joining a writerscircle

Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of writers' circles and websites, conferences, seminars and courses. Your local library should have details of writers' activities in your area and writing organisations will be only too pleased to add your name to their mailing lists. Societies, associations and websites for writers are listed at the end of this book but for some excellent on-the-spot advice, here are some words of wisdom from established writing professionals ' I look for a strong...

Just when you thought it was all over

Depending on the style of the story you are writing, it is sometimes possible to add even more impact to the tale by reviving the monster just long enough for one last attack. The central character has fought and vanquished his foe and is feeling justifiably euphoric. Nothing can harm him now, the town city world is saved and life is rapidly returning to normal. Just when you thought it was all over, however, whatever grisly being is left after our hero has finished with it hauls itself...

Keeping an eye on the media

Perhaps the richest sources of ideas are newspapers, television and radio. Keep your eyes and ears open for the unusual stories and quirky programmes tucked away between the major items. All kinds of things can capture your imagination. For example, a BBC Radio 4 programme about the potentially dull topic of making a will inspired me to write a short story for Bella magazine's 'Mini Mystery' page. The programme highlighted the legal pitfalls facing people who wish to make unusual wills and the...

Killing by accident

Occasionally a victim is killed by accident. They may fall down rickety steps and break their necks, have something heavy fall on them or be locked in the cellar of an empty house. Under these circumstances, they tend to be victims of their own evil plans, having hatched the plot and fallen into their own trap. Occasionally, however, they are innocent, their death leading to untold problems for the character who was instrumental in causing it in the first place. When planning a murder, be...

Laying a false trail

Twisting the tale involves laying a false trail in such a way that any surprise ending is a feasible one. The clues must be double-edged, so that whilst carefully steering the reader in the wrong direction, on closer examination they actually lead to the right one. For example, in our story about Sally Blake, the minute Nick meets Sophie, he appears to be following Route (a) in the chart in Figure 9, ditching Sally in favour of her sister when, in fact, he is actually following Route (b). As...

Letting Off Steam

For the avid newspaper and magazine reader, the temptation to write a learned piece complaining about the state of the nation or the rising price of a pack of frozen peas can be overwhelming. It is tempting to try to emulate controversial comment columns in the hope that a discerning editor will be keen to give pride of place to our words of wisdom. Sadly, this is rarely the case. Comment columns are usually written by staff writers, well-known journalists or political analysts. These are the...

Looking Back Into Your Past

There is little doubt that anyone with a chequered past will have plenty to write about but many of us feel we have done very little in our lives worth committing to paper. On closer inspection, however, this is very rarely the case. Take yourself right back to your earliest memories. How did you feel when you were told off for being naughty you were picked on by other children you got detention at school you had to have treatment in hospital a family trauma made you realise that nothing at...

Magazines for writers

The New Writer, POB 60, Cranbrook, KentTN17 2ZR. Tel (01580) 212626. Fax (01580) 212041. Email editor thenewwriter.com Website www.thenewwriter.com Writers Forum, Writers International Ltd., PO Box 3229, Bournemouth BH1 1ZS. Tel (01202) 589828. Fax (01202) 587758. Email editorial writers-forum.com Website www.writers-forum.com Writers' News & Writing Magazine, Fifth Floor, 31-32 Park Row, Leeds LS1 5JD. Tel (0113) 200 2929. Fax (0113) 200 2928. Email derek.hudson writersnews.co.uk Website...

Making up your own location

Making up your own location allows you to design the landscape to suit your own purposes, particularly if it is based on an area with which you are very familiar. It also allows you to deal with any unforeseen hazards constructed in your absence by the town planning department. The odd new road layout, housing or industrial estate can be happily discarded if it obstructs your protagonist's progress or detracts from the planned storyline and if you need to get from A to B in a hurry, you can...

Offsetting your costs against tax

You can offset the cost of materials such as paper, ink cartridges, postage etc. against tax and, of course, capital expenditure such as PCs, desks and filing cabinets. Keep receipts of everything you purchase and record all your income and expenditure. Suggested formats for recordkeeping are illustrated in Figures 14 and 15. There is a number of useful leaflets available from the Inland Revenue and your tax inspector will be prepared to advise you or you may prefer to engage an accountant....

Paying for publication

The price for this dubious privilege may start at four figures and can escalate beyond your wildest imagination. Horror stories include tales of people selling their homes and everything they own in order to pay for something that is, as far as the commercial book world is concerned, completely worthless. If you are driven by countless rejections from legitimate publishing houses to investigate the world of the vanity publisher, be aware that 1. their income is derived from being paid to...

Planning your novel

No matter what the genre, you should always draft out a plan or outline which takes the work through from its beginning to its logical end. This helps you to plot both the main theme and any sub-plots or 'back stories' within a flexible framework. As we saw with the plan of obstacles to Sally's romance in Chapter 7, far more is going on than just her love affair with Nick. Each stage of the plot must be set out within the frame of a chapter-by-chapter outline, so that you can see at a glance...

Plotting And Planning

A plot is simply what happens in a story and plot development depends a great deal on your characterisation. Your characters' reactions to a given situation will have a strong influence on your plot. In a family saga, for example, the story will be centred around one character's relationship with their family and the people they encounter as their tale unfolds. In contrast, crime novels are centred around the solution of the crime so that, whilst it is essential to have a strong protagonist,...

Preventing the characters from succeeding

Having created your almost perfect characters and set them against a suitably romantic background, it would be very pleasant to simply sit back and let nature take its course. Sadly, that's the last thing a romantic writer can do. The author's task is to come up with devious ways to prevent the hero and heroine from getting together until the last possible moment. As we have already formed a picture of television newsreader Sally Blake, we can use her as a heroine for our romance. Taking the...

Reading with a writers eye

This book is designed to help you understand how to read with a writer's eye, taking the time to analyse how an author manages to grab your attention and hold it so that you keep on reading through to the end. Your notebook will become a valuable source of reference. Failure to write ideas down can result in you losing them altogether. Committing them to paper helps commit them to memory and stimulate new writing projects. Use the questionnaire in Figure 1 to analyse published examples of your...

Recognising an alien

Aliens, like ghosts, can be hostile or friendly, depending on the tone of the story. Many are humanoid but if they are, they always have one strange characteristic by which they can be identified. Of those that aren't humanoid, hostile aliens tend to be slimy or scaly, whilst friendly ones are usually cuddly and or furry. However, watch out for aliens disguised as earth creatures. These may take the form of insects or small mammals, only revealing their true identity under certain traumatic...

Relating to the right age g roup

Before you attempt to write stories for children, decide which age group you relate to best. Children are as varied in their tastes and interests as adults but whilst there is no limit on the themes you can explore, vocabulary and style is a very different matter. As Margaret Nash, author of many children's books, including the popular 'Class 1' series, explains Plots have to move much faster for children than adults and each chapter should include some particular interest as well as some form...

Researching the period

For an historical story to work effectively, the right monarch must be on the throne and costumes, furnishings, vehicles, dialogue, attitudes and behaviour must all reflect the right period. Romantic etiquette through the ages is a complex area. In order to write believable historical fiction, it is essential that the author understands and is thoroughly conversant with the conventions and rules of the period. Employing the language of fans, for example, is one method by which a heroine could...

Seeking reader identification

By now, you may be wondering how such very ordinary, everyday experiences can possibly be relevant to creative writing. Surely writing is all about escapism, original ideas, unusual situations, not about opening a 'Young Saver' bank account Of course, you're right. Originality is a vital ingredient in any piece of writing, fact or fiction, but then so is realism. Without realism, you cannot have reader identification and it is this element that brings your work vividly to life.

Setting and Atmosphere

Whenever and wherever your story is set, a thorough knowledge of the period and location about which you are writing is vital. You need to use all the five senses, sight, sound, smell, touch and taste, if you are to convey a feeling of time and place. In the following extract from Susan Moody's novel Husha-Bye, her central character, Harriet, is staying with her grandparents. Opening with the sense of smell and continuing this as an overriding theme throughout the passage, the author skilfully...

Standing up for yourself

You may, for example, have been bullied in the past by someone in a position of power, a teacher, employer, parent or spouse. As a result of this experience, bullying behaviour in anyone you encounter will evoke some very strong feelings. These can and should be harnessed and used to great effect by your characters. If you feel strongly about something, so will your characters but unless you believe implicitly that they will react in a certain way, then your portrayal will be unrealistic.

Submitting an application to be an author

Tell exactly what you can offer Lonely Planet. Tell about your travel experience. Are you interested in a certain part of the world, or a particular Lonely Planet series Do you have an idea for a brand new book or series Do you want to write a new guidebook or update an existing one New authors are generally given a small project for their first contract and then take on bigger assignments from there.' You will need to send a CV and details of your published...

Submitting userfriendly manuscripts

One of the first questions students on my creative writing courses ask is 'Do I have to type my manuscript ' Handwritten manuscripts are almost always returned unread so, if you want to be published, your manuscript must be typewritten in double-line spacing on one side only of A4-sized white paper. The equipment you use is a matter of personal preference but if you intend writing for mainstream magazines or newspapers on a regular, professional basis, then being user-friendly takes on a whole...

Swearing And Slang

Whether or not a writer decides to use expletives depends not only on the style and content of the story but also on the author's own sensibilities. You may feel swearing is an integral part of your character's personality and without it, their dialogue would lack realism. Used sparingly, swear words can add impact and pace to dialogue but gratuitous use of obscenities is offensive and unnecessary. Where a scene is violent or a character is depicted as being extremely angry, upset or...

Syndicating your work

Many writers try their luck abroad and a reputable syndication agent can lighten the load considerably. They will sell your manuscript to as many markets as possible all over the world, keep a record of sales and save you both legwork and heavy postage costs. In return, of course, they will take a percentage, so before you hand over your manuscripts, make sure the terms are agreed in advance and in writing. Reputable syndication agencies are listed in The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook.

Testing for realism

Whilst stereotyping can be a useful method of characterisation, be aware that different people have different perceptions. If you belong to a writers' circle or class, the following group exercise is a useful one 1. Write a selection of job titles such as teacher, plumber, TV presenter, sculptor, nurse etc, on pieces of paper then distribute them among the group, allocating the same job title to two members at a time, e.g. if there are 8 group members, 2 will have teacher, 2 plumber and so on....

Thinking positively

There is no reason why emotions should be negative. Positive attitudes work every bit as well as negative ones and enthusiasm always comes over in an author's work. It may be a lifestyle, an ideal, a sport or a certain type of person but whatever your passion, you can convey it very effectively through the character you write about and add realistic backgrounds to your stories at the same time. Writing as I do for the women's magazine market, my characters' attitudes and opinions reflect my own...

Travelling to exotic places

As we have seen, romantic novels are by no means the only books which use foreign and exotic settings. Political thrillers, adventure novels, crime stories can all be set against exotic backgrounds and where science fiction and fantasy are concerned, the universe is your oyster. However, reliance on a combination of travel guides, tourist brochures and memories of a seven-day package holiday to Benidorm is, on its own, unlikely to provide you with sufficient detail to create a realistically...

Understanding how it feels

If you intend to write for children, you must be able to relate to their anti-authoritarian emotions. There will be many significant incidents in your childhood that you have carried with you into your adult life. Try to remember exactly how you felt when they happened, what emotions you experienced and how long it took you to get over them. It is surprising just how much stays with us into adulthood, especially if we have been at the receiving end of particularly spiteful or thoughtless...

What are little boysgirls made of

Until relatively recently, most traditional children's fiction depicted boys as the leaders, solving mysteries, forminggangs and generally running the show. Girls were grudgingly allowed to tag along in order to provide refreshments and be rescued whenever necessary. Any strong-willed girls who understood anything mechanical or were in any way sporty were labelled 'tomboys' and never quite fitted in with the rest of the group. School stories have always been and still are immensely popular but...

Whispering sweet nothings

Whilst tender pillow-talk has its place, all the concerns, heartache, soul-searching and nerves that are part and parcel of forming a new relationship must be reflected in the dialogue. If every conversation is dripping with sugary sweet declarations of love, it will not only sound unrealistic but also be utterly boring. In order to convey heightened sexual attraction between two characters, there must be an element of tension in the dialogue. In novelist Patricia Burns' First World War saga,...

Wishing you werent here

One of the biggest problems facing the would-be travel writer is understanding the requirements of the travel industry and the tourist policy of the country they will, by their article, be promoting. A good travel article should not be a blow by blow account of your particular holiday, nor your reactions to the people you met and the places you visited. Nor is it an opportunity for you to relate your tale of woe about the appalling journey you suffered in order to reach a half-built hotel,...

Writing About What You Know

As we saw in the previous chapter, one of the first pieces of advice any would-be writer learns is to write about what you know. This can be interpreted as anything from factual articles about a hobby, profession or skill to writing your lifestory. You can be sure that everyone has experience in one area or another that will be of interest to someone else. CASE STUDY VAL EXPRESSES HER OPINIONS Val is a forceful lady in her mid-fifties. She writes clearly and expresses herself well on paper. She...

Writing as an insider

Conversely, inside knowledge is one of the greatest writing strengths you possess. The more you can draw on a background and culture you know inside out for your settings and characters, the more vividly realistic your stories will become. We will be looking at political correctness in the chapter on children's writing but always bear in mind that without depth of personality, your characters will be cliched and cardboard. It is essential, therefore, when building characters, that you can...

Writing Aurally And Visually

Having developed your watching and listening skills, it can nevertheless be quite difficult to set them down on paper. More often than not, a phrase that sounded wonderful in your head looks dull and lifeless when it hits the page. Later in the book, we will be looking at ways of bringing your writing to life and obtaining that vital ingredient, reader identification. You will learn how to stimulate the reader's senses so that they identify with the people being portrayed, see and hear the...

Writing for Children

For many novice writers, the desire to write for children springs from their enjoyment in making up stories for their own offspring. Despite the influence of television and computers, bedtime in a comfortingly large number of families is still synonymous with storytime. Parents still enjoy reading to their children, as they were read to when they were small and will jump at the chance to dig out their old favourites and introduce them to a brand new audience. Sometimes, however, the stories...

Writing For Established Tv Characters

If it is your intention to write scripts for television, opportunities are opening up for people to write episodes ofprime-time soaps and drama series. More often than not, these programmes are team-written and production companies are always on the lookout for fresh talent to come up with new and innovative ideas. In order to stand a chance of being successful, your dialogue must be right for the characters that appear week in and week out on these shows. Therefore, it is vital to choose a...

Jumping to the wrong conclusion

By drafting a plan of obstacles to the couple's romance, as shown in Figure 7, we can see at a glance how they will fit into the storyline. One of the most effective obstacles is the romantic hero and heroine's unerring talent for jumping to the wrong conclusion, as shown in Frame 5. Sally's relationship with married Mark is rocky. Sally tells Mark they are finished. She meets Nick, a new cameraman. Nick asks her out. She refuses. Mark offers her promotion on condition that she continues their...

Publishing made easy

It is worth noting that the combination of desk-top publishing and the Internet has brought about a major change to the image of self-publishing. Rather than cope with organising the production and marketing of your book yourself, you may be tempted by the many advertisements for self-publishing companies in the writing press and on the Internet. In addition to publishing, the services on offer range from critiquing, editing, design and publicity to marketing and Internet sales through their...

Beauty in the eye of the beholder

It is tempting to depict your heroine as exquisitely beautiful -shining hair, immaculate complexion and a figure any woman would die for. Equally, you might initially portray your hero as a picture of masculinity. Tall and handsome, with a head of thick, luxuriant hair and of muscular, athletic build. They both look and sound wonderful, have warm, caring dispositions and to all intents and purposes, are perfect. Too perfect. We ordinary mortals know we haven't a chance with people like this....

Useful Addresses

Blake Friedmann, Literary, TV amp Film Agency, 122 Arlington Road, London NW1 7HP. Tel 020 7284 0408. Fax 020 7284 0442. Email info blakefriedmann.co.uk Website www.blakefriedmann.co.uk The British Science Fiction Association Ltd BSFA . Contact Peter Wilkinson, 39 Glyn Avenue, New Barnet, Herts EN4 9PJ. Email bsfa enterprise.net Website www.bsfa.co.uk British Society of Comedy Writers BSCW , 61 Parry Road, Ashmore Park, Wolverhampton WV11 2PS. President Ken Rock. Tel Fax 01902 722 729. Email...

Motivation for young anchorwoman for regional news programme

A talent scout from a national news network has been following Sally's progress and offers her ajob in their studio. She intends to take it when the offer is withdrawn. Mark, her influential lover, doesn't want to lose her on either a personal or professional level and has pulled strings to block the job offer. Blonde, neatly-styled, shoulder-length Sensitive, quite wide with fairly full lips showing white, even teeth Beth and James. Divorced when Sally was four. Father died recently, was a...

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Ruth Rendell Some Lie And Some Die

Map of fictional location from Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford novel Some Lie and Some Die Arrow Books , depicting the location for a pop festival in an area just outside the fictional town of Kingsmarkham. Fig. 6. Map of fictional location from Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford novel Some Lie and Some Die Arrow Books , depicting the location for a pop festival in an area just outside the fictional town of Kingsmarkham.