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Rupture the mundane

I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but having the perfect thing to write about isn’t actually enough; that’s only half the battle. I think one of the main challenges is how we turn that concept into a concrete piece of writing.

There’s that famous idea that a piece of writing, particularly I think a poem, has to be more than one thing leant up against each other; so it can’t just be about a central thought or concept or discovery, there has to be at least one other thing.

What that ‘other thing’ is can be up for grabs; so it might be a very strict form that’s going to force the writing to go into places it might not otherwise have wanted to; it might be a second idea you’re trying to conflate with the first; or it might be that language from another semantic field, another realm, another sphere, is going to collide with your initial thought to create something dynamic and new on the page.

That other great cliché of a writing workshop is to ‘make it new’; it’s a handy phrase but one that’s a little light on instructions of how to actually achieve this.

My related exercise will hopefully be a good starting point. It seems to me the point of any art, beyond something merely aesthetic, is to offer a temporary rupture to the mundane difficulty of being alive, to make us look at something in a different way, to make us consider something afresh, and thus perhaps lead us towards a new way of conceptualising our own existence.

That might seem a high task to set yourself on a blustery afternoon at your kitchen table, but I think it’s good to aim high.

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What is a scene?

Novelists are always told to show, not tell. They are also told to ‘write in scenes’ which means…

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Narrative – Cause and Effect

Try to bear in mind that the story of your character/s – your plot or narrative – moves…

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Character-Driven Narrative

People tend to think about plot as though it’s something separate from character, with characters moving forward from…

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How changing one thing can change the world

Change one thing in the technology or science of the present day. It could be the way we…

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Developing and explaining new ideas

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Writing Science Fiction – The New Thing

1. Remember as you shape your story, that you are writing science fiction. Understand what science fiction is…

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Bringing Dramatic Action Into A Scene

The purpose of this exercise is to help us bring dramatic action to our scenes. Firstly we should…

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Write The Blurb For Your Novel

Write the blurb for your novel – the summary that appears on the back jacket of a book…

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Uncharted Seas

Writing a novel is like setting out to sail across a vast, uncharted sea, without any resources such…

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How to Play

Take a blank sheet of paper. At the top of it, fill in the blanks of this statement:…

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Beat it Out

So you have an idea for a play. You may have some characters. An event, or a theme….

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