Get under the surface of your characters’ feelings with actions

Here's a quick editing tip in time for Valentine's Day – show actions to emphasise feelings.

‘Seemed to be’ and ‘felt like’ are two words that are often redundant or shortcuts in the place of describing what’d going on more deeply. Take this example: Continue reading


Give your scene outlines drive and depth with conjunctions

Here's one for people who like to outline their stories. Do you find that as you fill in the details of your scene outlines, it's hard to tell if they're pulling their weight and pushing the story along? Or do the scenes feel shallow? Here's a simple idea for how you can sketch out scenes in a way that emphasises both drive and depth.

Conjunctions - 'and', 'but' and 'so'If you relate a story to someone, conjunction are everywhere – ‘but’, ‘and’, ‘yet’ and so on. These small words are used to connect other words, sentences, phrases and clauses. They define relationships between the things you’re talking about. So why not use them to connect the events in your outline? Continue reading


Get your heads together?

Is creativity a group activity or are we better off left to our own devices?

Two recurring images define the classic story of creativity: the lone maverick and the magical partnership. For every Nikolai Tesla there’s a Lennon and McCartney. For every Watson and Crick there’s a Vincent Van Gogh. But does one approach really beat the other?

In a recent episode of Big Picture Science podcast, Seth Shostak and Molly Bentley investigated the idea that two heads are better than one. It’s a fascinating listen.

You can listen online at the Big Picture Science website.


The big picture

Don't know which darlings to kill? It's all a case of looking at your writing from a different perspective...

Can’t see the wood for the trees? It could be you’re getting so caught up in detail that you lose sight of the big picture. Your main objective is lost because you’ve put it aside in favour of smaller sub-objectives – some of which may lead you in the opposite direction. Continue reading


Ray Bradbury on writing