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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Values and motivation - what's yours?

Every so often, a writer would do very well to ask themselves why they put themselves through the highs and lows of the writing life? Self-exploration on this point saves time and restores confidence. So - ask yourself:
  1. Do I want to write to set the record straight?
  2. Do I want to take my revenge?
  3. Do I want to make some money?
  4. Do I want to write to show others I can?
  5. Do I want to write my way to fame?
  6. Do I want to make a difference - and I think I can through writing?
  7. Do i want to keep my brain stimulated?
  8. Do I just want a writer's lifestyle?
Apart from a Yes/No answer, you could also grade your answers on a scale of 1 - 10. And this will indicate your writer's values.
But another way of discovering your motivation is to 'Cos it' back to your fundamental purpose in taking up the pen. Here's mine taken from my journal just after Christmas 2012.
"I want to be a writer because I am a writer because I think about it all the time because I've been obsessed with words and stories since I learned to read because words help me describe to myself what makes people tick. I want to do this because I'm curious about life."
You can see where 'Cos it' as a name for the game comes from. And if it's of interest, it's a trick actors use to identify the motivation for their characters.
So what's yours? Have a go!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Structuring your story

Structure is one aspect of fiction writing that seems to stump beginners. One of the principal anxieties is what to leave out. Well, less is more. Pare things down to a racing chassis - including nothing unnecessary or gratuitous - and build up from there. Here's a helpful tip - try using the Story Spine, famously devised by Ken Adams for Improvisation in the Theatre. Condense your observations of an event into:
  1. Scene setting - eg 'Once upon a time'
  2. Trigger point - eg 'Then one day'
  3. Development - eg 'And then . . . 
  4. Crisis - eg 'And then . . .'
  5. Resolution - eg 'And ever since then . . .'
  6. The Moral of the Story is . . .
And now, write on.