Tag: writing

After a week of working through the plot for a new piece of short fiction, I’ve managed to crack it. I have now learnt not to give up on an idea. Chew on it, choke a little, but don’t let the bugger best you.

Ateam giphy.gif

Keep the writing simple. If the reader finds it difficult to read the prose, the story will not be conveyed well. When writing intense scenes – sex or a fight, for example – remember the expression that ‘less is more’. I’ve known authors sum up these scenes in one well-crafted sentence.

It Has To Be Scary


The submissions call for which I’m crafting a story has a stipulation: Pieces have to be scary. Easy then? No, considering I haven’t been scared by a work of fiction yet.

Though, four authors have come close, so far: Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Clive Barker and Adam Nevill.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that Bradbury with his short story, The Emissary, and King’s novel, Misery, had managed to give me gooseflesh. This was achieved, perhaps, by their ability to immerse the reader in the story and the characters, in addition to perfect timing.

Barker’s short fiction anthology, The Books of Blood, heralded a new age of Horror for me. These stories were like listening to Iommi’s (et al) War Pigs for the first time; the text glutinous with dread.

With Nevill, it was the building of, and unrelenting, tension in the first part of The Ritual that may have been achieved through the main protagonist’s increasing isolation, as well as setting and pace.

All I have to do with this technical knowledge is apply it … within a 2,000 word frame.

thumbs up.gif




Don’t rush the scene you are writing. Expand it. Play with ideas; you don’t have to keep them, and they may lead to others that improve the story.

flash cartoon rushing.gif

An Exercise in Editing.


I completed the final edit of a story the other week; proud of a killer story. Yesterday, I saw a call for submissions that was perfect for it in all ways, it ticked every box, stroked all the editor’s needs, even I fitted the requirement. Everything matched, except for the word count: the story was 1500 words, the editor required 1200 max. (no, really, 1200 firm, I know because I asked). Originally, the piece was 2000 words, so I had been quite ruthless already, and could not imagine losing a further twenty percent.

I continued to check other markets while some needle-monkey inside my head told me that that first one was decent, and it was the right story. Treat it as an exercise, I thought. So I did, after making a copy of the first version.

That story is now 1198 words and has been mailed to the editor. I’m chuffed, thinking: I didn’t ruin it, it’s a tighter story. I guess that truth will be proved with an acceptance.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe current version of Hashtag Rewilding has entered its resting period; in a few weeks time I shall reopen the folder and begin the final draft.

Another tale, that of Midwinter Hill, is already being tapped onto the screen. A ghost story set at Christmas time in contemporary England, Midwinter Hill draws upon theories in forest ecology for some of its inspiration; mainly on the social networks of trees as studied by Suzanne Simard and her team (listen to her TED Talk: ‘How Trees Talk To Each Other’), and the bestselling book, The Hidden Life of Trees by Pete Wohlleben, which I am currently reading.

And the story isn’t even set in woodland.