Author: Guy Mankowski

How do writers use the idea of memory to help tell stories?

Are there any novels or films that don’t rely on the premise of ‘I remember’? The idea of memory is more embedded in art than I think we credit. The fact that a story needs to be told is central as to why the reader – or viewer is being offered in the first place. We have all heard stories that began with the winsome phrase ‘Once upon a time’ when we were children.

Making the most of your narrative, part 2.

In the first part of this blog I looked at the smoothness of the narrative and how peaks and lulls in the emotional intensity of the story seem to engage the reader. But there are clearly many aspects of the narrative that can allow the author to make the most of it. Here I want to turn attention onto a couple of these aspects. Namely the plot and the characters.

Making the most of your narrative

The program correctly predicted the top two bestselling titles of all time, suggesting they had features that it would benefit writers to know about. If the analysis of the program is at times difficult to – ahem – decode it doesn’t mean there aren’t a few tips that us writers can learn from the bestsellers. In this blog I’ll focus upon how we can make the most of our narrative, and The Bestseller Code has some interesting tips on the subject.

Where should the author place themselves in the text?

One of the key choices writers make when beginning a piece of creative writing is to decide where to position themselves in the text. It’s a subject worth exploring as getting it right helps writers achieve their aims. In this blog, the first of two on authorial voice, I’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of the first and third person.

How writing can connect with people, part 2

In my last blog entry I turned looked at how we can ensure our writing connects with people, to hopefully effect their lives. But there is a middle stage here which I want to look at in the second part of this blog. A commenter asked how they can get more reviews for work they had self-published. It was a good question.

How can writing connect with people and affect their lives?

When a Prime Minister is confronted with a piece of art in the hope that it forces them to change policy, or political approach, then that work of art has gone beyond the creative endeavours of artists. It has become a cog in the machinery of the real world and it can affect peoples lives. I, Daniel Blake, shows how writing can truly connect with people. But how did it do it?

Releasing a new novel into the wild

I wonder how truly seasoned writers feel about releasing a new novel. Do the Will Self’s, Jeffrey Archer’s and Jilly Cooper’s of the world feel a mix of trepidation, excitement and naked terror when releasing a new book? Over the last day or two it has become apparent that the publication of a new book can be scary.

How to crack the reflective essay: Part 1

The reflective essay is one part of the assignments that generates a lot of discussion! Getting in touch with the creative part of ourselves and expressing that through engaging prose is a challenge of itself. But for the creative writer who is undertaking serious study though there is no getting away from cracking the reflective essay.

How can experts enrich your writing? Part 2

In part one of this blog I described how, when researching a novel about cover-ups, I attended New Writing North’s Crime Story classes and got to play the role of a juror! In this blog I am going to look in more detail at how experts can inform a novel. The most obvious way they can be useful is as interviewees, and to make the most of them specific questions regarding details of the novel need to be prepared in advance.

How can experts enrich your writing? Part 1

Writing novels can take you into strange territory. I see the beginning of a novel not only as the start of a journey into my own imagination, but as the start of an adventure into the outside world as well. I’ve learnt that in order to give a novel enough credibility to see it published you can’t guess at the contributions a policeman, coroner, school teacher, or governor would make as characters in a story. You have to go out there and find out exactly what their input to a story would be.