The secrets behind the practice of good writing: Don’t forget the triggers
Say you’ve set up a mystery in your novel. All through her life, a young woman has tried to get her father to talk about her long-lost mother. He has resisted and she has lived with the mystery.
Then one day, she pops round to see the old guy in his dotage and he says: “Okay, I’m ready to tell you now. Here’s the reason I’ve never spoken about your mother.”
It doesn’t wash, does it?
It’s anti-climactic. We’ve been waiting and waiting for this revelation and then, suddenly, by complete co-incidence, he chooses this particular Monday – with nothing special about it – to tell her.
Something has to trigger that revelation. He must be forced to it by circumstances. We must see that something has changed.
The same goes for people suddenly behaving differently or out of character. If he never swims, but then decides to swim on that particular day, we want to know why.
Something must happen which makes him wish (or forces him) to change the habit of a lifetime. Or, we simply won’t believe it.
My 2016 blogs will continue to try to uncover the secrets behind the practice of good writing.
Please join the discussion and if you have discovered something that has made a great difference to some aspect of your writing, please send it to me. I’ll share it on the blog and we can discuss it.
Each blog will deal with a secret that may have occurred to me through reading or mentoring other people’s work. Or they may be lessons hard learnt through five of my own books. Many will be applicable to fiction and non-fiction, while some might refer to one or the other. When you tackle a piece of writing, you always have a vision of the perfect work it will be. As you write, you become increasingly aware of how it falls short of the perfection you wish for it. Writing (and rewriting) is the process of trying to bring it as close as you possibly can to that vision. Here, I will try to share those little gems which should bring all our writing one step closer to the perfect piece of writing – one blog at a time. Some might tackle the process of writing or how to keep writing, while some will look at language, characterisation or story. Some might be more general, while others will be very specific. But each will be a piece of advice that I believe in and that I hope will help make us all into better writers.