The eyes have it when it comes to conveying complex mental states

Our facial expressions give away more of what we’re thinking than we thought. New research shows that people’s eyes, in particular, are a dead giveaway.

The function behind a facial expression usually mirrors the person’s emotional state. So if someone is narrowing their eyes as if they are scrutinising something they are likely to be feeling thoughtful; wondering about something. If you feel as though you are being scrutinised then you probably are. Be careful that the other person isn’t just screwing up their eyes against the sun.

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What Has It Got In Its Pocketses?

Gollum famously spoke these words in Lord of the Rings while looking for the One Ring, which Bilbo – and then Frodo – carried with him.

The ring gave powers to the wearer and spoke volumes about the person who carried it. It was one of the defining things about the characters and told of their quest as well as their character and motives.

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Writing On The Right Side Of The Brain


There is a book entitled, ‘The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’, which teaches you to see in a different way.

Where drawing is concerned we often draw what we think we see (left brain) rather than what we can actually see (right brain).

For example, one of the exercises asks you to draw the spaces around and between the object you want to draw (negative space) rather than trying to draw the thing itself.

By not drawing the object itself you end up with a drawing of the object by an indirect means, often a more accurate portrayal than by concentrating on the object.

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Writing prompt – Fantasy

An old cloak

You find an old cloak in your grandma’s wardrobe (or closet) that appears to be made out of shadows.

It is moving in a gentle unseen breeze.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: A Novel by Anthony Marra

Constellation of vital phenomena. A novelA lesson here in writing only what is necessary for the story and only what is necessary for the sentence.

Not a word is wasted and not a sentence is wasted and it shows throughout the entire book.

This is a delicately and masterfully crafted book. Unbelievable that this is Anthony Marra’s first novel. His writing hooked me in from the beginning and immersed me in his character’s lives effortlessly. 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.


The stuff of nightmares – How brave are you?


Contains disturbing imagery.

I’m not used to nightmares and I can’t remember the last time I had one that disturbed me so much I could not get back to sleep on waking.

But I had one last night!

The imagery and the feeling were so disturbing I found it impossible to close my eyes without the images coming vividly alive once more.

I thought about writing it down but was still so disturbed when I came downstairs that I felt very uncomfortable even thinking about the dream.

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Dialogue And Speech

Dialogue is a wonderful tool for showing the nature of someone’s character in your story.

In real life we are constantly measuring and gauging the character and nature of people around us. From an evolutionary point of view this would be to assess safety and threat; how comfortable we are with a person, or people, or how threatened we feel.

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