Providing a family record

For many creative writers, the sole motivation for writing their autobiography is to provide a family record for future generations. A written record will be enhanced by the inclusion of cap-tioned family photographs and thanks to the growth of desktop publishing, on payment of a relatively small amount, you can have your family history professionally printed and bound. This will ensure that all the information is kept together and is presented in an attractive, user-friendly way. Shop around...

Contributing to national archives

One increasingly popular method of recording your life experiences has evolved through the rapid growth of interactive media such as the Internet, digital television and digital radio programmes. There are regular appeals, locally, nationally and on the web for contributions to historical initiatives not only for television and radio programmes but also for exhibitions and archives to be held in museums, universities and community centres. One recent project of this type was the BBC's 'People's...

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...

Assuming a parental role

Anthropomorphised animals do, it is true, have instant appeal but they also perform a variety of other functions. They can be adults who behave like children children with capabilities far exceeding their actual age naughty to make a moral point a metaphor for their human counterpart. Having your animal playing the part of a silly adult offers the young reader the opportunity to feel superior and adopt the parent role. The naughty animal can get into all sorts of scrapes from which it has to be...

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...

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.

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...

Confronting your worst nightmare

Horror fiction is based on the principle of confrontation with your worst nightmare and common phobias are used to great effect in both ghost and horror stories. The prospect of spending the night in a haunted house, for example, mercilessly exploits our natural fears of the dark and isolation. Among the spooky sensations and incidents guaranteed to scare us silly are being cut-off from the outside world having supporting characters mysteriously disappearing one by one.

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 an element of doubt

Picture a scene of contented domesticity. A housewife is tackling the routine chores when the phone rings. Just as she is about to pick up the receiver, it stops. Nothing particularly unusual here, just a wrong number. Unless, of course, the same thing happens continually throughout the day. By the time her husband returns home from work, our housewife is a bundle of nerves. He manages to calm her, putting it down to phone engineers working on the line. That evening they are watching TV when...

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...

Creating Fictional Characters

When interviewing authors plugging their latest book, one of the most frequent questions asked by the presenter is 'Are your characters based on real people ' The answer invariably given is 'Not exactly'. In order to be convincing, fictional characters must ring true. The reader should be able to relate to them and identify with them, but the description needs only to be sufficient to project a recognisable image. After all, as the average reader is unlikely to have met her, there is little...

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...

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...

Educating young readers

Both non-fiction and storybooks for children offer enormous scope to teach young readers about the world around them. The following is just a taste of what can be covered conservation and ecological issues Bearing in mind the expertise required, the educational book market can be quite difficult to break into. Harcourt Educational Publishers, the UK's leading publisher of educational materials, admits that very few of the hundreds of unsolicited manuscripts they receive each year are accepted....

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

Feeding in the information

One method of avoiding this kind of over-emphasis is to feed the information to the reader in snippets. If it is raining heavily, then have your character run for shelter, or struggle for a few seconds with an uncooperative umbrella. An impression conveyed with a few well-chosen verbs, adverbs and adjectives will be far more effective than wordy description, hammering home a point made early in the first sentence. Economy with words not only improves the quality of your writing, it also makes...

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 an illustrator

It is not a good idea to draw the pictures yourself unless you are a trained illustrator. If the idea for your picture book is strong enough, a publisher will find a suitable illustrator for you. Because the illustrations are so important, this may take some time, possibly years rather than months. Due to the skill and time involved in illustration, the artist often receives a higher payment than the author. On the plus side, picture books are so expensive to produce that if your manuscript is...

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...

Giving yourself permission to write

Due to a common misconception that unless you are a published novelist, you cannot be considered a 'real' writer, novice authors often find it difficult to convince either their nearest and dearest or, indeed, themselves that their desire to write should be taken seriously. However, even the most famous authors had to start somewhere, so don't be put off by outside pressures. Be assured that your writing is more important than cleaning, dusting, gardening or any other similar activity that will...

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...

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...

He said she said

Take a look at the following passages and decide which you think works best 'You know I hate fish,' he said, 'Yet every week without fail, you insist on trying to make me eat it,' he complained, throwing down his knife and fork in disgust. 'You know I hate fish.' He threw his knife and fork down in disgust. 'Yet every week without fail, you insist on trying to make me eat it.' In fact, both passages work perfectly well but in Passage A, the words 'he said' and 'he complained' are completely...

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...

Interruptingummingand aahing

In real life, most people sprinkle their conversations with 'ums' and 'aahs'. They also tend to interrupt the person speaking to them, so that sentences are cut short in mid-flow. If fiction writers were to include this sort of dialogue in their stories, no one would read past the first piece of conversation. In fiction, each character must have their say in their own instantly recognisable voice. In order to produce realistic dialogue, therefore, you have to develop a good ear for listening to...

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 your characters set the scene

The most effective way to describe a scene is to let your characters do it for you through interaction with their surroundings. This will improve the pace of your writing and convey a feeling of setting, atmosphere and insight into the character in one fell swoop. For example, study the following two passages and decide which you feel is most atmospheric It was the middle of winter. The room was icy cold and hiding in one corner was a child, a little girl. The man stood in the room for a moment...

List of illustrations

Suggested format for potted history 34 4. First background for young, smart anchor-woman for regional news programme 39 5. Second background for young, smart anchor-woman for regional news programme 42 6. Map of fictional location 59 7. Plan of obstacles to romance 104 8. Outline for crime novel 122 10. Sample outline for non-fiction book 154 11. Sample chase-up letter 155 12. Sample covering letter 160 13. Sample front sheet 160 14. Suggested headings for...

Listening to the rhythm

Rather than try to reproduce an accent phonetically by spelling the words differently or dropping the odd letter here and there and replacing it with an apostrophe, listen to the rhythm of speech. You can achieve far more realism by turning the order of words around in a sentence and sparingly throwing in the odd colloquialism. In contrast to her Scottish namesake, contemporary novelist Patricia Burns effectively conveys Scott Warrender's American accent through the subtle use of phraseology...

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...

Making war not love

Action novels such as war stories use similar techniques to conjure up the feel of battle. Shattered bodies and flattened buildings, deafening shellfire, screams ofterror, the stench of death all around. Once-bustling towns are reduced to piles of rubble and twisted metal, the surrounding landscape becomes a mass of craters littered with burned-out vehicles. This time, the pace is very fast, pulling the reader through the horrific sights, sounds and smells as quickly as possible to the...

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 prizes

Poets find it especially difficult to find a publishing outlet for their work, so it is not surprising that they can fall victim to unscrupulous advertisers. The prize is publication in an anthology which the so-called 'winners' are invited to purchase for anything from around 12 upwards. Knowing that few writers can resist the opportunity to see their work in print, the competition organisers can be sure of receiving at least one if not more orders from each entrant. The book, if it ever...

Portraying a multicultural society

Chapter 1 highlighted the importance of writing about what you know, with the proviso that you should not limit yourself purely to your own personal experience. Research plays a vital role in providing background information but research alone is unlikely to adequately equip you with the insight required to create characters from social, sexual, religious or ethnic groups of whom you have only a fleeting knowledge. When you consider that, for some authors, simply attempting to write from the...

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 comics and magazines

Glancing through the wealth of comics and magazines on the newsagents' shelves, you will find something for all age groups and interests. Newspapers and magazines occasionally feature pages for children and may take nature, craft or activity articles. Whilst many comics, especially those designed for pre-school children, are produced by the makers of television programmes, toys and computer games, there is still scope in this market for authors who can write to the required format. Moreover,...

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...

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...

Setting over characters

The importance an author gives to a story's setting depends not only on the style of writing but also on the genre. In a romance, for example, the background has a major influence on the behaviour of the characters. Listed below are just a few examples of settings taken from romantic novels a lake in the Canadian Rockies an antiques shop and cottage in the country. In each case, the setting is described in sensuous detail, the scents of fruits and flowers, crystal clear lakes, whispering...

Showing Not Telling

REACTING AND INTERACTING WITH PEOPLE AND SURROUNDINGS As we saw in the previous chapter, one of the most effective ways to convey personality, age, setting and atmosphere is through the reactions of your characters. This involves showing what is happening through a combination of action, reaction and dialogue rather than narrating or telling the story to the reader. Writers tend to be avid readers, often with a background steeped in classic works of literature, many of which are written in the...

Speeding And Slowing The Pace With Vocabulary

Throughout any story, an author has to increase and slow the pace in order to gain the maximum effect. This is achieved by a combination of emotive vocabulary and the length of the words and sentences used. Shortening and lengthening the sentence As a general rule, short words and sentences denote You can also use longer, slower sentences to help build tension as in the following extract from Martina Cole's suspense novel The Ladykiller It was Saturday and George was alone in the house. After...

Standing alone

For short passages, good dialogue will stand alone without any action at all as you can see from the following conversation between a customer and a shop assistant 'I bought this toaster yesterday and it doesn't work properly.' 'I see. What's the problem ' 'It burns the toast.' 'I see. What would you like us to do about it ' 'Give me a replacement of course.' 'I'll have to get clearance from the manager but she's at lunch right now.' 'OK. I'll wait.' There is no problem understanding the...

Stopping and starting

You simply stop at the end of one piece of action and start up again at the next. For example She picked up her handbag and walked briskly to the door, 'See you tomorrow then,' she nodded curtly in my direction, 'I'll see myself out.' She arrived promptly at nine the next morning. Once again, there are key phrases that are helpful in moving It wasn't until much later that It was to be years, not days, before they would meet again. Less than an hour had passed...

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...

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...

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...

Thinking rationally

Children are refreshingly direct in their thoughts and actions. In contrast, adult behaviour can appear extremely irrational. For example, the person who praises you for drawing a picture on a blank sheet of paper will, for no reason immediately obvious to the average toddler, punish you severely for drawing a similar picture on a blank wall. By the time the child is walking and talking, it knows that everything it does has a certain risk factor attached to it. When attempting something new, it...

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...

Where Do You Get Your Ideas

Having made the decision to write, the next step is finding something to write about. Watch how people behave in everyday situations, jotting down ideas in your notebook as they occur to you. The next time you go to the supermarket, for example, observe the behaviour of the other customers. Take a few seconds to chat to the checkout girl or the assistant who packs your shopping. Listen not only to the words they say but to how they say them. If you commute to work, use your journey time to...

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 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 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...

What Is Creative Writing

When I first wrote this book, the term 'creative writer' conjured up an image of the artistic amateur. Few of the students who joined my classes had any idea what creative writing was or understood the workings of the publishing industry. Things have changed dramatically in the intervening years and now, when each new course begins, I find that most of my students are extremely knowledgeable about the business of writing. They will have seen writing competitions featured on television, heard...

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...

Kremlin

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.