Do you keep your characters safe or do you throw them into the storm?

The title above was adapted from an excerpt in Slightly Foxed; issue 65, from the wonderful Foxed Quarterly, which I have included here: … recommending that we put forward honestly the reasons we have for a belief, Thouless admits that such a method is likely to be unpopular with those ‘who want a feeling of…… Continue reading Do you keep your characters safe or do you throw them into the storm?

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…… Continue reading The eyes have it when it comes to conveying complex mental states

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…… Continue reading What Has It Got In Its Pocketses?

Who’s saying what and how?

Do you use he said and she said when writing dialogue? Do you think they’re old-fashioned or redundant? Or do you lean towards some of the alternatives given in the diagram? In my opinion there are some valid alternatives given here but they should be used very sparingly and very carefully, and only to enhance the…… Continue reading Who’s saying what and how?

Putting Mud on the Boots of your Characters

Your stories are about people – characters – whether human or otherwise, and you’d better make them believable. If your reader can’t see the characters in their mind’s eye, or can’t identify with them in some way, they won’t care about them and will soon lose interest. Characters with habits, mannerisms, relationship difficulties, dark histories,…… Continue reading Putting Mud on the Boots of your Characters

What does one person know that another doesn’t? Creating conflict and intrigue in your story

They say the camera never lies, but it never tells the whole truth either. You think you can see what’s real but there are all sorts of things you can’t see just beyond the frame of the photograph and beyond the moment when the photograph is taken. That happy smiling person you can see may…… Continue reading What does one person know that another doesn’t? Creating conflict and intrigue in your story

How memory can figure in your story

It’s well-known that our senses are strongly linked to memory recall. Whether it is particular tastes, pieces of music or certain sounds, the touch of something familiar, or a smell. For me, there are certain bands or albums that seem to define eras in my life and to bring back strong memories of who I…… Continue reading How memory can figure in your story

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,…… Continue reading Dialogue And Speech