Author: Nina

Questing your plot

All good quests need a map, and so do you. Not just any map, either – a treasure map, which will hide the plot secrets, lay the clues, and guide your reader through the dangers and dramas of their journey to a wealth of satisfaction at the end.

Sandals with socks?

Writing practise is the only way to become assured about your voice, I think. The more you write – and, as important – the more you think about writing – the clearer your voice will shine through, from your thoughts, from your heart, from your soul.

Using your rhythm section

One of the first things you may have taken on board, as a new creative writing student, is that it’s not only poets who needs to pay attention to a beat or metre: all prose must have a rhythm – the rhythm of the words, sentences and paragraphs. During Part Three of Writing Skills, we look at speech– the spoken monologue, the interior monologue, dialogue within prose and dialogue as script.

A day at the Hay

A day in the sun at Hay…it’s one of the selling points of the Hay Festival – photos on the website are focused on people under sun umbrellas reading their latest purchase and drinking cool lager. This is a risky ploy for a Welsh summer event, but it paid off for the OCA posse that arrived at the festival grounds on bank holiday Saturday. We’d come for the culture, of course we had. We’d come for the literature, naturally, for the heightened conversation we’d enjoy with each other after sharing events. But the fact the sun was out certainly helped.

Keeping things simple

Ironically, as a writing student (or as a student of creative arts who needs to write), you may not find simplicity easy to attain. First drafts often result in spontaneous explosions of writing which feel very good to get down on paper, but perhaps disappoint when you read them through.

Rectangular memories

The concept of mind mapping may have evolved from the mathematical spider diagram, but, not being a mathematician, I wouldn’t know about that. What I do know is that by placing a single concept, in the shape of a word, phrase, or image, in the centre of a piece of paper, and using word representations, associations and memories to expand outwards, answers fall into place. This technique prevents you from losing those tiny peripheral thoughts that may be the nub of creativity, and encourages new ideas to drop from the muses.

That Beach Ball Feeling

I can clearly remember my first rejection. It was as if someone had released a little valve on me. The sort of little valve that beach balls have so you can blow them up. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to write again.

The Secret Life of Characters

You want your readers to be driven by emotion as they read, and in fiction it’s the characters who engage that emotion. For this to happen, the reader has to be trapped in a sort of magic…temporarily, he must believe the character is real. So how do you acquaint yourself well enough with your characters to fool your reader into believing they are authentic people?

Pull Those Underpants on Over your Trousers and Fly!

In this monthly series of blogposts on Writing Skills (both the course and the subject) we’ve been concentrating on various aspects of Part One, making the most of early strategies such as employing speedwriting, using notebooks, compiling a commonplace book and learning how to ‘zone in’ when describing. It’s time to move onto Part Two of Writing Skills, which is all about character.