Story-a-Week #11: An Attempt at Plotting in Advance

If you’re a writer you’ll be familiar with the question, ‘are you a plotter or a pantser?’ A pantser being someone who writes before looking at such structural things as pace, arc, motifs, etc. A plotter being someone who creates a structure then writes a story/novel/whatever to fit. I’m a pantser, I create a nominal […]

Story-A-Week #10: Narrative Arc

Last Tuesday was the last in my Café Stories series of workshops* so we looked back on everything we’d covered, pulled it all together with a look at the narrative arc, did a bit of editing, and wrote one last story. I gave students a list of all the things we’d worked through: Session 1: […]

Story-a-Week #9: Memoir and Monsters

For last Tuesday’s Café Stories I put together a lesson that combined memoir writing and plot types. There are umpteen theories on the range of narrative structures, but to keep it simple I stuck to the one that holds there are only 7 Basic Plots, and that all creative texts – films; novels; short stories; […]

Story-A-Week #7: On a Dig

I’m a day late with this post for a stew of reasons, the culmination of which being I couldn’t get any purchase on this week’s story until I woke on Monday morning and realised what it was about. Then had to rewrite it. Stephen King is right, I think, writing is akin to excavation. The […]

Story-A-Week #6: Twenty-Eight Years Gone

In last Tuesday’s Café Stories workshop instead of starting with character I got participants to start with an object. I asked them to choose an object in the cafe and describe it. But first, I told them, or reminded them really, about the value of simile. I gave them a few, and asked them to […]

Story-A-Week #5: Myrtle Davis is Lost

I said in Friday’s post that I had written a complete story in the course of my first Café Stories workshop. I realise now that I only felt it to be complete. I knew it needed work, nothing comes out perfect first time, but not quite as much as it actually does. Distracted by other […]

Story-A-Week #3 What She Doesn’t Like

A couple of weeks ago I overheard a woman telling another woman everything she didn’t like about the menu they were looking at in the window of a café. Some days later I read a few stories in Lydia Davis’s Varieties of Disturbance. Last Monday I had to outline my story for the Story-A-Week Challenge. […]

Story-a-Week #2: El Capitan

Christmas et al rather got in the way of the Short Story a Week challenge and it’s taken me some effort to return to it. I actually began this one the week after the last one, as per the rules, but then everything went to festive hell and I abandoned it, thinking at least I’ll […]

Literature Ambassador: 2019 Writer Opps #1

Originally posted on ShortStops:
Word Factory Apprentice Award Application The National Mentoring Scheme For Short Story Writers We are seeking four emerging short story writers to be individually mentored by leading authors for FREE as part of our renowned Word Factory Apprentice Award running from July 2019-March 2020. The chosen writers will be talented, supportive…

Story-a-Week: #1 Maggie’s Chairs

Having decided to try the Story-a-Week challenge, and write each week’s offering about a different character from the novel I’m currently working on, I sat down last Monday to decide which one. That was the easy bit. I chose Ellie, a particular favourite. The hard bit was trying to visualise her in a different context. […]