The Opening Scene Blues

I have a story idea and it’s not co-operating. It’s refusing to give me the opening scene. That sounds like a good excuse to interrogate what we want from opening scenes though. Blog content for the win! What am I looking for in an opening scene? It’s a long list. I’m looking for a hook, […]

Rule Thirty-Six: All of the Above

Hello all. This post will go up empty to maintain my streak, then get edited. Editing now. One of the most useful resources for any writer is and one of the best resources there is the column Death To Readers. I advise just reading it yourself but if you can’t be arsed, it’s a […]

Secondary Belief vs Suspension of Disbelief

We are all familiar with the term suspension of disbelief. At a guess, less of us know secondary belief. It’s a Tolkienism that he used in a way quite similar to how we use suspension of disbelief – that we look at all the impossibilities and instead of laughing, think “well that’s just how it […]

On Redemption Arcs

This will be quite an exploratory post so bear with me. Let’s start with what feels like a safe statement. People love redemption arcs but don’t always mean the same thing by them. I think to an extent that’s because the two words in their purest form are somewhat mutually incompatible. Redemption is an action. […]

Things I Learnt And Didn’t Learn About Writing In 2021

1. Pick Which Mistake You’re Willing To Make I first took this idea from Stephen Bush’s political columns, in which he talked about it being useful for political parties to pick which mistake they’re willing to make (as otherwise they’ll spend their lives trying to be all things to all people). It’s a concept you […]

A writing thought after NaNoWriMo

I don’t know how many of you people who were chugging merrily away during NaNoWriMo have seen their writing just dry up. But I imagine it’s some of you. And it includes me. If there’s one thing I 100% believe as an objective truth about being a good writer, it is that it must include […]

On Conflict: A Hypocrite Ruminates

I recently read some work from a friend and as feedback, advised them to introduce more conflict to their scenes. And boy did I feel like a hypocrite. The advice to make it all about conflict is pretty common to western literature. Let’s pluck one example of that at semi-random – a post by Jim […]