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November 2014

Ten Ways to Move Point-of-View (and don't let the self-appointed experts tell you otherwise)

If you've been hanging around the Itch for any length of time, you'll know that I think the creeping Creative Writing orthodoxy that you can't change point of view except between chapters is nonsense. (Click here for my full series of posts on PoV if you're not so sure what we're on about when we talk about point of view.) It's a "rule" which has only been invented in the last twenty years or so, peddled by would-be writers who don't know good writing when they see it, and, I suspect, writing teachers who don't know how to teach it:... Read more →

First book heading for the bin? Congratulations!

A lot of writerly talk circulates round whether you're a planner or a pantser, or some combination of the two. I've explored the idea that planning needn't be the business of drawing up a map and intinerary which you will then follow: maybe it's more a voyage into the unknown, to a place which by definition you can't have a map for, for which you need other kinds of preparation. And I've thought about what I call "retrospective planning": using what are usually discussed as pre-first-draft tools later, to sort out that first or tenth draft after you've written it.... Read more →

How To Train Your Person (First or Third) to do everything the story needs

I've blogged before about how much more energy your storytelling will have if you coax out as much variety as possible in the way you tell the story - and how flat it will be if you don't. Time, pace (not at all the same thing), characterisation, sentences, voice, settings, events ... all need thinking about. And, yes, you're right: this is This Itch of Writing, so of course I'm going to say Psychic Distance is one of the most crucial kinds of variety of all. But many aspiring writers who grasp the idea of Psychic Distance still struggle to... Read more →