The Write Title

I always find it a problem to come up with appropriate and relevant titles for my work. My imagination stalls when called upon to produce something pithy, apposite and meaningful. Some writers I know can’t put pen to paper or finger to keyboard without having first decided on the title. Personally, if it were possible to have a profusion of computer files and folders all labelled ‘Working Title’, I’d be there. Sensibly, this is no way to operate, so I’ve been thinking about where we can find inspiration when we’re stuck.

We can link the title to a scene in the story, the historical period it’s set in or that mysterious discovery the whole plot hinges on. The message of the story, the mood or the scenery can all be reflected in the title.

Continue reading

Advertisement

The Devil’s in the Detail

Over the past few weekends I’ve been mildly entertained by a neighbour’s attempts to cut down a tree in his garden. The tree was probably deserving of the treatment; it was a straggly old conifer that had overstayed its welcome but the whole felling procedure – and believe me, the production was worthy of Cecil B de Mille – got me thinking about familiar landmarks and how I can use them in my writing to add some individuality as well as colour, texture and even humour. They don’t need to be large or dramatic, in fact, for our purposes, small is definitely beautiful. It’s all in the detail. Here’s a selection of sights that are familiar to me and probably surround us all in some shape or other:

Continue reading

A Bit of Light Relief

There’s humour all around us, if we pay attention, and comedic value in many everyday situations. It’s just a case of looking for it.

A few years ago my doctor advised a surgical investigation. Nothing drastic, but it fell into the ‘one of those things I’d rather not do, thanks very much’ category. I was persuaded that it would be a good idea and I agreed.

Continue reading

Normal Service

You may have guessed that progress with my second novel is rather slow at the moment  – hence all these displacement activities. I could write a book about writer’s block – 100 ways to beat the block.  But would it be just another diversionary tactic? Watch this space.

Other things that are intruding on my time include trying to build up a supply of 400 word stories for the parish magazine and longer ones to read on the radio. If I can do that I’ll be free to concentrate on the novel for a while.

Continue reading

Last Lines

If my previous post didn’t help free up the creative juices, here’s a list of last lines – writing a story from the end, backwards, requires a different sort of imaginative leap, but it can be very entertaining. As before, you can delete the last line after you’ve finished. One of these last lines is the conclusion to one of the novels from the first lines list.

Continue reading

First Lines

Here’s an old trick. Lost your writing mojo? Can’t think where to start? Where better than the first line of a famous literary work? You don’t need to be familiar with the original story; in fact it works better if you aren’t. When you’ve finished your piece, you can go back to the beginning and delete the first line – I guarantee you won’t need it by then.

In no particular order, here are some of my favourite first lines. I’ve read, enjoyed and can highly recommend all of these books, though I can’t profess to have remembered all these beginnings without some help. Some of the novels are a delight, to be kept and revisited, some of the others are more of a challenge. I’ll let you decide.

Continue reading

What if?

Continuing the theme of writer’s block, here are some prompts to use when faced with that daunting blank page. I’ve used most of them at one time or another; they’re great for getting your imagination going. Sometimes just changing the sex or occupation of a main character can trigger lots of ideas. They work well when you’re free writing – just putting down the first thing that comes into your head frees up your writing muscles. You can arrange them into some sort of cohesion later, or if it’s no good, throw it away and start again. They’re particularly good if you’ve written yourself into a corner and trying to find an ingenious way out.

Continue reading