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#1 Concept Mistake So Many Writers Make (Plus What To Do About It)

No Research = Concept Problems So often a writer will pitch me their concept and I say, ‘Oh, so like XYZ?’ They’ll look at me, totally blank. These won’t be obscure titles either. They will be big-time movies, TV shows, novels … it doesn’t matter. The writer has not done his, her – or their! – research and road-tested their idea. It always shocks me how so many writers don’t read books, or watch TV or film … then think they can write something with zero problems?? Total madness! If we don’t know what the concept is at grassroots level… Read More »#1 Concept Mistake So Many Writers Make (Plus What To Do About It)

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Unlock the Power of Cause & Effect in Your Writing with The Story Chain

All About The Story Chain Cause and effect is super-important in your novel or screenplay, which means a solid ‘story chain’ is everything. Cause and effect creates an engaging and cohesive story. In simple terms, cause and effect is all about showing how one event leads to another. This creates that ‘chain reaction’ that ultimately shapes the story. An obvious example of this we’re all familiar with is The Hero’s Journey. This plotting archetype shows us how a protagonist goes from ‘zero to hero’ via a number of well-thought-out steps that escalate. During the journey, the protagonist must go up… Read More »Unlock the Power of Cause & Effect in Your Writing with The Story Chain

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6 Simple Tips To Crafting Emotionally Charged Settings

All About Settings In Your Story In fictional stories, in which characters and plot typically take centre stage, settings are often relegated to the background. But a story’s setting is not just a backdrop; it can be a dynamic force that shapes characters, emotions, and the narrative itself. The challenging task of a fiction writer is to immerse her readers into her story. Characters have to be somewhere while they are talking, thinking, and behaving. Settings that immerse readers in a sensory experience will spark emotion in your readers, so let’s look at 6 tips to help you craft emotionally… Read More »6 Simple Tips To Crafting Emotionally Charged Settings

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Sweets To The Sweet: Candyman, A Startlingly Relevant Halloween Horror

Candyman: The Short Story Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman … Clive Barker’s 1985 short story The Forbidden is a haunting exploration of poverty and disenfranchisement. It was first published in 1985 as part of his ground-breaking horror anthology, Books of Blood. Set in the desperate sinkhole estate of Spector Street, Liverpool, England, the story takes place in October with several references to Bonfire Night being the following week. This means we can be fairly sure the events of the story take place around Halloween. The Forbidden follows Helen, a graduate student. Originally researching graffiti as part of her thesis, she… Read More »Sweets To The Sweet: Candyman, A Startlingly Relevant Halloween Horror

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5 Reasons Why Screenwriters Should Consider Creating Comic Books

Comic Books = Amazing Medium for Visual Storytelling! If you want to get your story made and appreciated by fans, screenwriters should consider developing their stories as comic books or a graphic novel. Cue screenwriters: “But I can’t draw!” Relax, and read on… 1) Realise your idea You visualised this story as you wrote it. What if you could bring just your story to life as you intended it? No agents, no producers, no directors — just you and an artist. Creating comic books means partnering with an artist and getting your story made. This is incredibly powerful. It puts… Read More »5 Reasons Why Screenwriters Should Consider Creating Comic Books

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Brandon Sanderson’s 3 Laws For Creating Magic Systems In Your Fantasy Story

Actual Laws for Writing?! Not to worry, you won’t get fined for breaking Sanderson’s laws! He named them ‘laws’ as a bit of a joke (I’m guessing there’s a science joke in there, somewhere). However, Brandon Sanderson is probably one of the best people to learn from for developing magic systems that feel unique. So, it definitely can’t hurt your writing to follow his guidelines on the matter. All About Brandon Sanderson Brandon Sanderson is an American fantasy & sci-fi author who is most known for his Mistborn series and The Stormlight Archive. He’s done a great deal to teach… Read More »Brandon Sanderson’s 3 Laws For Creating Magic Systems In Your Fantasy Story

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Writing Characters UNlike Ourselves: 1 Simple Tip That Makes All The Difference

Should writers write characters UNlike themselves? In the 2020s, writers frequently want to write characters UNlike themselves. I do, too! Looking at my books, I have written characters who are not like me. My characters may be (in no particular order): male; older or younger than me; gay; American; black; Romany; British Chinese; transgender; Australian; upper class; homeless and many more besides. The debate on social media often focuses on the notion certain writers are being told NOT to write characters UNlike themselves. It’s no accident the average writer lamenting this ‘fact’ is usually part of a dominant group, either.… Read More »Writing Characters UNlike Ourselves: 1 Simple Tip That Makes All The Difference

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Why Writing A ‘Scapegoat’ Character Can Bring Your Writing Bang Up-To-Date

Family Drama If you feel you’re seeing the word ‘scapegoat’ all over social media right now, you’re not wrong. In the past couple of years, psychological terms such as ‘gaslight’, ‘narcissist’, ‘toxic families’, ‘family estrangement’, ‘no contact’ – and now, ‘scapegoat’ – are real talking points. You may have seen these terms ion Facebook memes, talked about them yourself on Twitter, or watched therapists’ TikTok videos.  Intergenerational differences on psychology, family and parenting are VERY much part of society’s conversation in the 2020s. For those who have missed it, sociologists believe Gen Z and Millennials are the first generations to… Read More »Why Writing A ‘Scapegoat’ Character Can Bring Your Writing Bang Up-To-Date

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How Does Character Motivation Work? (Your Secret To Writing Great Characters)

All About Character Motivation NEWSFLASH: great characterisation should lie at the heart of every narrative, whether that’s a novel or screenplay. These characters should drive the plot forward and engage audiences emotionally. What’s more, modern audiences and readers demand nuanced, layered characterisation as standard in the 2020s. One essential element that brings characters to life is their motivation – the driving force behind their actions and behaviours. I like to call this the ‘WHY’ of characterisation. Put simply, character motivation can be summed up as “A character wants or needs something for some reason, but will have to strive to… Read More »How Does Character Motivation Work? (Your Secret To Writing Great Characters)

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No, Your Spec Screenplay Is NOT A ‘Drama/Thriller’. Here’s Why

NEWSFLASH: Drama/Thriller Is NOT A Thing! So, I keep seeing screenwriters on social media saying they’re writing a drama/thriller. OI WRITERS NO … YOU ARE NOT!! Dramas and thrillers are VERY different beasts. It’s why I wrote a whole-ass book on each of them!!! Before I start this epic rant, a reminder: B2W stands with the WGA and the current US writers’ strike. This post is NOT designed to encourage anyone to break the picket line and scab. It’s an article primarily designed to help you with your writing CRAFT. Secondly, it’s to help you realise how the industry works.… Read More »No, Your Spec Screenplay Is NOT A ‘Drama/Thriller’. Here’s Why

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Top 10 Tips On Writing Sizzling Sexual Tension In Your Novel Or Screenplay

What is Sexual Tension? Sexual tension is a key ingredient in many successful published novels and produced screenplays. Whilst sexual tension turns up most in romance stories, it can be part of ANY story in any genre. For example, I wrote sexual tension in my crime novel, The Other Twin. Sexual tension is that feeling of excitement and anticipation you get when something hot and heavy is happening between the characters, but they haven’t yet acted on their desires. Done well, sexual tension can be incredibly addictive for readers and viewers. It keeps them turning pages late into the night,… Read More »Top 10 Tips On Writing Sizzling Sexual Tension In Your Novel Or Screenplay

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How To Write A Fantastic Opening Sentence In Your Novel

Your Novel’s Opening Sentence Is SO Important The opening sentence in your novel has to do some heavy-lifting, so HOW you write yours is very important. Readers frequently read the first sentence to decide whether they will buy the book. They may do this in real life by literally picking it up from a shelf and going to page 1. Alternatively, they may utilise the ‘Look Inside’ feature on Amazon, or download the sample to their Kindles. WHY A Great Opening Sentence is Important A great opening sentence in a novel is important for several reasons … i) It sets… Read More »How To Write A Fantastic Opening Sentence In Your Novel

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