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I once visited a wonderful friend who was a successful writer.
At the time, I was struggling to complete my first novel.
When she suggested we go for brunch at her local cafe to read the New York Times and the Washington Post, I was delighted. As I waited to go out, I glanced at her writing desk, filled with admiration for her hard work and achievement.
On the desk was a book about writing technique. Intrigued that she, a well-known author, should need such advice, I leafed through it. A sentence leapt out at me.
You can see the results of all this in my Berlin thriller Blood Summit
“Don’t keep writing and re-writing the same chapter or the opening to your book,” the guide said. “Doing that risks preventing you from completing the task. You must keep moving forward.”
At that point my friend was ready and we went out for a terrific brunch in Alexandria.
But I never forgot that sentence. I have found it invaluable in helping me to complete many novels.
“Wait!” I hear you cry. “Surely I shouldn’t write (more…)
An experienced commissioning editor told me recently that one of two main reasons she rejected manuscripts was “no story”. The other was “overwritten” – I’ll write about that another day.
How can you make sure your fiction has a strong story, that people will want to read?
To put it another way, how can you make sure your fiction has bite?
‘How the hell do I apply these techniques to my writing?’
Swain said that to have a cracking good story you should start with a scene in which someone is trying to achieve a goal. The sub-elements are:
(i) goal: the character is trying to achieve something;
(ii) conflict: something prevents the character achieving that goal;
(iii) disaster: the quest to achieve the goal ends in catastrophe. (more…)
I recently started a list of e-mails for people who might want to hear about my writing activities – eg my next reading from “Blood Summit” in Vienna on Monday 17 June.
The e-mail list is organised by a company called “Mailchimp”. You can sign up to receive comments here (in theory, a pop-up should appear at this point – do feel free to subscribe if it works!) Or you can e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be delighted to add you to the list myself.
I send an edition of “Robert Pimm’s Writing News” rather rarely – over the past 18 months I have sent five of them. They are a good way to stay in touch.
But if you want to stop, you can unsubscribe by clicking on the link in the mail.
If you do sign up, please reward yourself by downloading a free Hotel Story by clicking on the link.
Nice to have you on board!
P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, please follow me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – see the “click here” blue button). Check out the range of writing on this site via my 5 pleasure paths.