The Happy Benefits of Writing

It’s not just readers who benefit from a good story. We writers can too apparently. There is a fascinating article on the New York Times Blog about research carried out on people through expressive writing (or life-story writing). It may sound like self-help nonsense, but research suggests the effects are real. The scientific research on…… Continue reading The Happy Benefits of Writing

Write what you know – debunking the myth

If you keep up with any writing advice on social media, or even in books about writing, you’re bound to have seen the advice, ‘Write what you know.’ It implies you should only write about stuff that you know about or have experienced. Let’s get one thing straight – you already know a great deal.…… Continue reading Write what you know – debunking the myth

Write small for a big effect

If I told you that six-thousand people died in an earthquake, how would you feel? Pretty shocked I’m sure. Have you ever felt numbed to tragedies in the world because you can’t comprehend what is happening on the global scale? That’s the point where you turn the TV off because you feel overloaded with information. When it’s six-thousand people you…… Continue reading Write small for a big effect

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 -…… Continue reading Hook your reader – why opening lines are important

Entering Writing Competitions

There are hundreds of writing competitions out there, both in printed magazines and in online magazines. There are also the literary competitions, such as The Bridport Prize, Exeter Writers Short Story Competition, and the Fish Flash Fiction Competition. All have varying levels of prizes and some are free to enter.  You may not have the confidence to…… Continue reading Entering Writing Competitions

Finger sandwiches and baby oil – the strangeness of the English language

The English language is a strange affair at times. Meaning is usually gathered from the words we use in the literal sense; the words and the order they are placed in a sentence tell you what the sentence as a whole means. But we don’t talk and write literally, neither do we hear or read,…… Continue reading Finger sandwiches and baby oil – the strangeness of the English language

The Periodic Table of Storytelling

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…… Continue reading The Periodic Table of Storytelling

The art of painting speech

When I write something my aim is to put forward an idea, thought, or concept, or to tell a story. How do I do it? I make funny little abstract marks on a page. It’s a bit like painting. What are those abstract marks? You’re looking at them right now. They’re called letters and with…… Continue reading The art of painting speech