Balancing plot, theme and character

As a less experienced writer I used to obsess over plot. Plot was everything. This seems to be the case for a lot of people who aren’t writers, too — a common criticism of a film or book will be that “the plot isn’t very good”, or “the plot’s a bit basic”. When I used to write as a kid, my entire focus would be on trying to formulate a twisty-turny, intricate plot.


Future Learn: Start Writing Fiction: Week 1

Having completed week 1 of Future Learn’s Start Writing Fiction course, I thought I’d post up the snippets of work I’ve generated so far.

Fact & fiction

First up, there was a fun exercise in writing a couple of paragraphs. The first required 1 fact and 3 fictitious elements, while the second needed the opposite.

1 fact, 3 fictitious elements

The first manned moon landing was in 1969, crewed by an international team of American, Russian and Chinese astronauts. This scientific achievement was only possible due to the stable political situation in the late 60s, resulting in unprecedented cooperation between previously antagonistic nations. Given what followed, the collaborative missions of the 60s and 70s are remembered as a golden age for human exploration.

3 facts, 1 fictitious element

Norwich is unusual in that it includes two cathedrals (of different denominations) and is known for once having a pub for every day of the year and a church for every Sunday. Despite its abundance of churches it nevertheless is known as the least religious city in the UK, most likely as a result of the violent unrest and religious purges of the late 1980s. (more…)

107092 – Character death

Written an enormous amount tonight (for me, at least), romping through a particularly crucial scene. Very, very exciting stuff. Notably it also marks a major character death, which was extremely creepy to write – all the foreshadowing leading up to it, the long, drawn-out moment itself, and the too-late realisation. Read more…