Thisness.

(What the Hell is it?) James Wood in his section on Detail in How Fiction Works coins the term ‘Thisness’ to refer to a key quality of great fiction.  He defines it as ‘any detail that draws abstraction to itself and seems to kill that abstraction with a puff of...

How to break your reader’s heart.

(And why you should.)   Formula: Make them care. Make them squirm. (But don’t worry, they seem to like it.)   In order to improve as a storyteller, it helps to have some sort of understanding about what storytelling is. And yet it is surprising how much...
Killer Writing Tips from 47 Dead Men

Killer Writing Tips from 47 Dead Men

An analysis of Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch’s On The Art of Writing. Perhaps the best  book on writing you’ve never heard of. Long ago when I was lost in the Disenchanted Forest seeking ways to write my first novel, I read some books that claimed to teach me...
Secrets of a camel testicle swallower.

Secrets of a camel testicle swallower.

(Or: How to write a great opening chapter.) In the previous post I claimed that a career in advertising, though much disparaged, was a great starting point for novel writing. But there is an even better preparation, if you are willing to make the investment of time,...
A Cat Called Bartok

A Cat Called Bartok

(Or how to avoid writing that sounds like writing) I’m a great admirer of Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing, (Although I happily break most of them.) But of his ten rules the one I like best is Rule No. 11: When you find writing that sounds like writing, cut it....
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!