Descriptive Writing – Layering your imagery

Dear Photograph - click to go to websiteI wanted to follow up from my post about a website called: Dear Photograph.

The photographs on the website conjure up some brilliant imagery of layering story.

The concept behind it is simple: take an old photograph of people you know and hold it up against the original backdrop where it was taken and photograph it so that past and present blend into one photograph.

The results are very poignant.  Continue reading

Hook your reader – why opening lines are important

How do you start your stories? Do you hook the reader from the opening lines or leave them wondering why they should read on?

If you’ve ever picked up a book in a shop or library (you do use libraries, right?) and started reading the first few lines and then bought – or borrowed – the book because you want to know what happens, you’ll have seen the secret already. The author has set a scene that leaves you wanting to know more.

You need to give the reader a mystery, or a question, or a situation that they want to know more about. They either want the answer to the question, to see how the mystery is solved, or to know why you put them in that particular situation in the first place.

Compare the following two phrases and see which one ‘pulls’ you into the story and makes you want to know more.  Continue reading

The Periodic Table of Storytelling

Periodic Table of Storytelling

Click the image to go to TVTropes website to find out more

Here’s something to play with to get your creative juices flowing. Hopefully, it will also help to unblock writer’s block if you feel you are suffering from it.

The Periodic Table of story elements is split into Structure, Settings, Plot, Heroes, Character Modifiers (Protagonist/Antagonist), Archetypes, Villains, and more.

Clicking on each ‘element’ in the table will jump you to a page that explains that element in more depth.

There are ways of combining the elements into the basic formula for a story by using the ‘Story Molecules‘ below the table.


TVTropes (the website this Periodic Table is from) is a catalog of the tricks of the trade for writing fiction.


Writing and Plotting a Short Story on the hoof

Sowing the seed of an idea

A regular exercise in my Creative Writing class is a story swap.

Between us we decide on a subject idea and write a short story of about 1500 words and then bring our story to class for feedback from our peers. The subject can be used as loosely as we choose and we often do a spider chart in class to get us started.

Spider charts are a great way of coming up with writing prompts. Start with a central noun and see what the word makes you think of. Be as creative as you can. Our most recent noun was Time. Our spider chart grew and threw up words like, growing, streams, clocks, rushing, bomb, and quantum physics.

Continue reading