Category Archives: Creative Writing Tips

Setting – New Video Upload

Hello Everyone

I have recently uploaded a video discussing the use of setting when writing fiction.

Have a watch to see what my thoughts are, and let me know if you have differing opinions, as I would really like to hear them!

 

Hope that was helpful.

All the best

Happy Writing

John

 

Don’t forget you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter, and you can crowdfund my youtube channel on Patreon

Creating Characters – New Video Upload

Hi folks

Today’s video upload is a brief overview about creating characters for your stories.  I hope you find it helpful.

 

I referred to a couple of useful books in this video.  They are available from various stockists, however here are the links to where I got them from.

Creative Writing by Linda Anderson HERE

Mythic Structure by Christopher Vogler HERE

Since I only cover the basics, if you are interested in learning more, they are a good place to start.

All the best

Happy Writing

John

 

Don’t forget you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter, and you can crowdfund my youtube channel on Patreon

Giving Effective Feedback – New Video Upload

Hi Everyone

I have haven’t been posting any sporadic blogs over the last week or so as things have been incredibly hectic, so, please accept my apologies on that.  However, I have managed to find the time to pull together my video on giving effective feedback, which is the companion video to my editing tutorial, which I link in the video and you can access HERE

So, without further adieu, Giving (effective) Feedback

 

As ever, I hope you found it useful

 

Happy Writing!

 

John

 

Don’t forget you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter, and you can crowdfund the youtube content on Patreon

Editing: New Video Upload

As much as I want to upload videos on creative writing techniques and so forth, I feel that since I am going to be encouraging viewers to do exercises in group sessions and then give feedback, it is appropriate to cover feedback.  However, I also believe that before I go through giving good feedback, I should cover editing properly albeit briefly.

This video is about the editing process.  Enjoy.

 

 

I will shortly be posting a longer video on giving feedback.  I have opted to keep them separate so as not to have too long a video which may be taxing on devices etc.

You will be able to see the feedback video here shortly.

All the best, and happy writing to you!

 

John

Don’t forget you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter, and you can crowdfund this channel on Patreon

The Empty Page: New Video Uploaded

Hi Everyone

For your information, I have just uploaded a new video to Youtube, entitled the “Empty Page”, which is a video dealing with one of the issues writer’s sometimes face.

 

Enjoy

 

If you are interested in the software used to create this video, I used

Corel Video Studio Ultimate 9x  for video editing – Available here

Inspiration for mind mapping – Available here

 

I hope that was of use to you.

You can follow me on Facebook or Twitter, and you can crowdfund this channel on Patreon

All the best, and happy writing to you!

 

John

 

Games: A metaphor for the Silent Partner of Writers

I took the weekend off, and perhaps I shouldn’t have but it had been a busy week so I felt guilt free.  On Sunday a couple of my mates came round and I ran a game of Vampire the Masquerade for them.  If you are unfamiliar with this game all you need to know is it is a role-play game where a storyteller (me) presents a narrative to the players who take on the roles of characters; it is their job to respond to the scenarios that arise from this narrative.

vtm

The game is fun, and creative;  I don’t feel like I am squandering time when I am preparing for it.  And the actual running of it, whilst exhausting, is also quite exhilarating.  Arguably it also helps my spontaneity when it comes to the creative process, as the players usually manage to find ways to do things in the most unexpected or unusual way possible.  This is also fun for me, as if they simply followed the clues I left lying around for them, there are very few surprises.

As it happens, I run two games with two groups of players.  They are both participating in the same basic story, so I don’t need to double up on too much work.  What I found interesting is a recent encounter both groups had.

Long story short, they were tasked to find someone who had been abducted.  The entire second act of the plot actually hinged on that.  (Technically the second act would still happen, but the players would be a tad busy dealing with fallout).  Here is where I get to the point.  Both groups found the missing person and abductors with ease.  However one group talked the guy down, whilst the other group brutally slaughtered the abductors, capturing only one alive.

It got me thinking.  Two groups of people are presented with the same basic scenario.  One group sees one path through.  The second group sees another, and the result is two different stories.

Remove the game from the situation.  And change it to a book, or a short story or whatever.  Your words leave the page and are caught by the reader’s awareness somewhere in between page and brain.  The reader’s own awareness imposes some kind of meaning on your words and co-creates your story with you.  Your silent partner in the creative process.  And, if the reader is a silent partner, then every different reader will naturally have a different story experience.

So what?  Big deal you might say.  People have different viewpoints and therefore obviously have different experiences.  It isn’t rocket science.  A useless piece of information.

No.  It isn’t.  It is all about the audience.  It is about knowing who is reading your work.  And it is knowing how they respond to it.  So, for example, a fan of fantasy may well enjoy quest narratives.  That doesn’t mean that you immediately run off and write a story about a group of six adventurers, each with different skills, off to find some artifact of power or evil with the intent to claim it/destroy it.  But you could realise that many story types are quest narratives, and write your entirely original piece with this in mind.

Truthfully, I am aware this is a tad abstract and difficult to explain exactly what you would do in any one particular situation.  All I can say is, if you know who you are writing for, you can estimate what will appeal to them and you can win your silent partner.

All that from a role-play game.

All the best

John

 

Have you looked at my new Youtube Channel?

More videos will be added shortly!

The Best Laid Plans…

Today I had a target to achieve.  3000 Words and I could call it a good day.  It is 14:11 and I am currently failing at that target.  But that is absolutely ok!  Because sometimes success is not quantified in the number of words you write in a day, but the quality of the words or the lesson you learned.

 

Let me explain.  I got to my desk this morning with an idea for what I wanted to write.  It was an opening chapter on an as yet unnamed piece of fantasy I am writing.  It is meant to introduce you, the reader, to the landscape and the world and excite you.

 

I got to 1100 words pretty quickly.  And whilst I made myself a coffee, I thought to myself.  Good Start.  I then thought.  No it wasn’t.  It was twaddle.  It was dull.  It did nothing.  I had wasted my time.  This was a tiny bit disheartening.  But only a tiny bit.  As I enjoyed my coffee (Nescafe Black Gold if you are interested – Milk & 2 sugars, or 2 and coo if you are a local, and the milk goes in after the granules but before the water) I thought, “Hang on a minute! It isn’t a complete waste at all!”  As I re-examined my work, I realised that it had put the characters at an unexpected location, and that actually made the plot work better.  And if I needed anything from the first thousand words, I could always reveal it in dialogue.

 

The point I am getting at is twofold.  Sometimes what you write isn’t good enough for what you intended.  That is fine.  That is normal.  As a writer we need to be able to let go or we betray our readers with mediocrity.  The second lesson.  Even in trash, there is always something worthwhile.  Whether it is just the time spent exercising that creative muscle of yours, one good line, one good idea or one unexpected twist that took you to an unexpected place, there is always value.  Succinctly, don’t be afraid to cut large portions from your work.  But don’t forget, nothing is ever truly wasted.

 

Til next time

John