A world class sentence

Could you write a world-class sentence – one that wouldn’t look out of place in a classic or a bestseller? Here are a three for free: “She turned.” “He scratched his head.” “The sun went down.” World class sentences. Very simple. Easy to write. Write some more.

If they knew what you know (2)

“I’m an imposter. If they knew what I knew I’d never work again.” This may be true. If it is, you’ve got some work to do. (Even if it isn’t you’ve got work to do anyway). At the same time it’s worth bearing in mind that you don’t know what they know or see what they see. It’s possible that…

If they knew what you know (1)

Sometimes it feels awkward to ‘sell’ an idea or product, but persuading people to agree / sign up / buy what you’re selling is fine under the following conditions: You’re respectful: your briefest of pitches is an invitation-to-give-you-an-invitation to share. You avoid interrupting, and ask for permission. You’re honest: you tell the truth about what you’re selling. You believe: you…

Steven Pressfield on playing hurt

The concept in all these [“healing”] environments seems to be that one needs to complete his healing before he is ready to do his work. This way of thinking… is a form of Resistance. What are we trying to heal, anyway? The athlete knows the day will never come when he wakes up pain-free. He has to play hurt. ……

Story, not premise: 2000AD writing guidelines

These are great writing tips, applicable – with a bit of adaptation- to any medium. Future Shocks are self-contained, four page science-fiction short stories with a twist ending. That means you only have four pages to establish your situation and protagonist, develop the situation through dramatic conflict, and then resolve it with an unexpected twist ending. “Dramatic conflict” doesn’t just mean…

tl;dr

We live in an era where people will spend days of their lives – hours at a time – to watch a box set or series of movies. We spend hours listening to podcasts. We still read novels. Long isn’t a problem; “too” is. So if “too” means “It would have been better for the people it was made for…

Neil Gaiman on character, motivation and plot

The next [building block of story] is the characters. Who are they? What do they want? I’m going to harp on a lot about what characters want. I’m going to harp on about what characters want because over and over again you’ll find that when you’re plotting, when you’re putting something together, it’s the only question that opens the door…

The process

This is the process: Do some work. Just start. Work on it until the excitement of fresh ideas crumbles on contact with reality into the funk of “Why am I even bothering?” Recognise that this is part of the process – and that learning to get through it is quite possibly the key to success. Make something that’s so-so. Edit,…

The practice school

This is the PRACTICE school of writing. Like running, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Some days you don’t want to run and you resist every step of three miles, but you do it anyway. You practice whether you want to or not. You don’t wait around for inspiration and a deep desire to run.…