Writing advice blog: Writing great dialogue

Susie Helme Dialogue is crucial to make your plot and characters come alive, but how do you get it right? See some of my top tips for effective dialogue below, then next week, Elaine and I will be analysing some of our favourite bits of dialogue to see how they work. Tips for writing greatContinue reading “Writing advice blog: Writing great dialogue”

Writing advice blog: Padding

Susie Helme I have edited or reviewed so many novels that feature a lot of ‘padding’. As a trained journalist, I’ve been schooled to cut out as much of that as possible (though I still err). You want: Who, What, When, and Where, and maybe How and Why. Then you need to stop. If you’reContinue reading “Writing advice blog: Padding”

Writing advice blog: the basic concept

Susie Helme The most important aspect of a novel is the Basic Concept, your novel’s Unique Selling Point. It’s a marketing tool; this is where you sell your novel. You gotta have a good idea. If the idea isn’t good enough, you could either waste years of your life writing something that never sees theContinue reading “Writing advice blog: the basic concept”

Writing advice blog: writing about women

Ann McTaggart All the advice says ‘write what you know’ so as a women writer, writing about women, you do already have a certain heads up; a certain potential authenticity and empathy. I’m sure everyone would agree, writing is a totally immersive experience which requires curiosity, the skill to convey and a stomach for tonsContinue reading “Writing advice blog: writing about women”

Writing advice blog: developing your characters with a character questionnaire

Susie Helme Here are some questions to get you thinking about your Protagonist’s character. This is not to say that you should work all this info into your text—God, forbid! This is merely an exercise for you, the author, to really get deep into the mindset of your character so you can make them interestingContinue reading “Writing advice blog: developing your characters with a character questionnaire”

Writing advice blog: developing a character

Susie Helme Here are two great exercises toward developing your character: Character motivations establish the reader-character connection, and motivations reveal something about character. Examine your character’s motivations in terms of their needs by referring to Maslow’s hierarchy. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: 1. Physiological 2. Safety and security 3. Love and belonging 4. Accomplishment and self-esteemContinue reading “Writing advice blog: developing a character”

Writing advice blog: characterisation

Susie Helme One can never say enough about characterisation. What readers are most attracted to when making their book buy choices is characters.[1] This is why people love those Detective So-and-So series and even Teen Vampire Saga Books 1,2,3. They fall in love with the protagonist and want to read more about their (fictional) lives.Continue reading “Writing advice blog: characterisation”

Writing advice blog: family sagas

Susie Helme I’ve recently reviewed two novels, both of which are family sagas, i.e. the tale of Protagonist’s parents, and their parents and their parents. The first used the structure you’d expect: Part I dealt with Protagonist’s father and his parents and grandparents; Part II dealt with Protagonist’s mother and her parents and grandparents; PartContinue reading “Writing advice blog: family sagas”

Writing advice blog: repetition and variation

Susie Helme I’d like to say something about repetition and variation. Repetition is one of the principles of design, and it adds balance to your work. Beginning with a certain phrase, idea or piece of dialogue and ending with a repetition of that same element is one good way to structure a short story. IfContinue reading “Writing advice blog: repetition and variation”

Writing advice blog: character voice

Elaine Graham-Leigh At our BGBW meetings, we have a regular slot where one of us does a presentation on an aspect of writing. It can be something we know we’re struggling with, something where one of us has done some thinking recently, or just a topic we’re interested in. We’ve decided we’ll start sharing these,Continue reading “Writing advice blog: character voice”