Saturday, 18 July 2015

How to write - Part 1

Lots of people ask me how to start writing so I'm going to put together a little guide. It's not theory. This is how I do it, and I got published this way. Whenever I do a school event I talk about this because I think it is important. My approach is simple - I tend to think of my story as if I am viewing a film and I use tried and trusted film techniques to help me get started. Interested? Read on!

First I get out my A3 pad and draw a line representing how my character will change from start to finish.

Near the start of my story I plan an opening scene - an inciting incident. Film writers do this a lot. A good example is Will Smith in the Pursuit of Happyness. His character is poor. He sees someone park a Ferrari and asks what the guy does for a living. The driver tells Will he is a stockbroker - Will spends the rest of the movie trying to figure out how to become one himself.

Towards the end of my story I make sure that I plan a 'Turnaround'. This is where you make things impossible for your character or change tack so that your reader can't predict where the story will go next.

And that is it - literally. I fill out the details of my story along the line and sometimes I'll use this approach to plan important chapters. As you can see it gets a lot more detailed...

Monday, 13 July 2015

Planning Your Writing

I have just been given the honour of becoming Patron Of Reading for The Wordsley School near my home town of Stourbridge.  My first visit was all about playing God - creating characters and introducing dilemmas to see how they react. I also talked a lot about how to plan a story, beginning with an Inciting Incident and using turnarounds...

My own planning has changed a lot over the years - from my own ad-hoc scribbling to using Book Maps. Both of which work well, by the way.

Recently however, I've been trialling Scrivener and it's perfect for generating and arranging your story ideas - like I have done here for one of my own ideas, a story called INCARNATE. For me, the cork-board is really useful for sketching out your ideas because you can move them around freely just like cue cards and you can really get to grips with your characters and storyline.

Normally, I'm not a great fan of planning using software and I still like to map things out on a huge piece of A3 but this one really seems to work well. You can keep all your research and sketches in one place and really get to grips with creating your masterpiece.

I recommend giving it a try.